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2012 Chevrolet Avalanche LT

General Motors

I bought a new 2013 Chevy Avalanche in January. I'm experiencing brake noise on the front wheels at low speeds and after it has been parked for a bit. I took it to the dealer once already, but they said they couldn't replicate the problem and, as there wasn't anything visibly wrong with the brakes, it wasn't fixed. However, I continue to hear it. Should I be concerned? – Niklas

If the noise was gone by the time you got to the dealer, I would guess it to be caused by a light layer of rust on the rotors.

This can occur in as little as 18 to 24 hours.

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Look at the front rotors through the wheels before starting out. Look again after applying the brakes a few times and compare. Chances are you will notice a slight hazy layer on the rotor, perhaps even visible as rust, that disappears after use.

HID kit

I could retrofit an HID kit to my car. I hesitate to do so because of the nature of the HID bulb, compared to a normal bulb. – Sol in Ile Perrot, Que.

The bulb has little to do with the headlight pattern, which is determined by the reflector. Halogen headlamps and HID headlamps require different optics to produce a safe and effective – not to mention legal – beam pattern.

I have no problem with HID headlights themselves, those designed around the bulb that use proper focusing optics to control the beam pattern, but the cheap reflector kits on the market result in little more than a scattered and poorly aimed light source that commonly blinds oncoming drivers.

Aftermarket kits to convert halogen headlamps to HID Xenon must include the entire unit. The lens and reflector designed around the halogen bulb will not work with the HID bulb. The result will include an incorrect beam pattern.

HID lights produce light by means of gas discharge – an electric arc between two electrodes housed inside a transparent quartz envelope. That light appears to have a blue tinge, but is actually whiter than that of a standard halogen lamp. Due to that brighter light, these systems require specific lens and reflectors and self-levelling systems to reduce danger to other drivers. Referred to as HID, Xenon or Bi-Xenon lights, they should not be confused with conventional bulbs that use xenon gas in their glass envelope.

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Common aftermarket halogen to HID conversion kits contravene regulations as they use ballasts, wiring and HID bulbs that plug straight into the existing lens or reflector.

If your car's manufacturer offered HID lighting as an option, it might be possible to order the related parts – but that list would be extensive and expensive as it would have to include the electrical and lens components, and the shutters and self-levelling systems that make them work and meet regulations.

Send your automotive maintenance and repair questions to globedrive@globeandmail.com

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