How To

How best to handle a manufacturer’s warning over a recall

John Paul, AAA Northeast's Car Doctor, answers a question from a reader who has been advised not to drive a recalled vehicle.

Unsold 2023 Aviator sports-utility vehicles are displayed at a Lincoln dealership Sunday, June 18, 2023, in Englewood, Colo.
The Car Doctor answers a question about a recalled vehicle. AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Q. My Lincoln has been recalled. I have been advised to unhook the battery and not drive the car. I have been given a loaner vehicle until the parts come in. If I drive my recalled car after receiving the loaner, and the car catches fire, will I be covered?

A. I’m not a lawyer, but it is unusual that the manufacturer is loaning you a car — something they are not required to do. It seems based on that alone your car may be more prone to fire than others. Will the recall still cover damage to the car if you continue to drive it, even though you were advised to not drive it? I would say yes. Should you drive it after you have been advised to disconnect the battery and not drive it? Common sense says no. Why put yourself in a dangerous and potentially deadly situation when you don’t need to?


Q. I am currently leasing a 2022 Honda HR-V. I received an email from the service department stating that I was due for a 12,000-mile service. I went down to Honda and asked what was in the service. I was given a written estimate for the following: oil change $69.99, tire rotation $39.99, wiper inserts $54.99, air/cabin filter $169.99, alignment $179.99, rear differential flush $229.99. Over $700 for a car that is a little over a year old. What are your thoughts, especially on the differential flush? When I previously leased the same car, Honda made it sound like if I didn’t get the flush, it would cause a major problem at some point. When I had that done it was not at the low mileage that I’m at now.

A. Honda doesn’t have a service recommendation based on mileage, but rather uses an electronic maintenance reminder built into the vehicle that lets you know what services need to be performed. The dealer can make their own recommendations, but those items are not necessary to maintain the warranty. Typically, at one year old, an oil change, maybe wiper blades if they streak or chatter, and a tire rotation are needed. Depending on where you drive, the engine and cabin filters can last three years, less in high dust or pollen situations. As for the differential flush – really, a fluid change will come up, but closer to 60,000 miles (but sometimes as low as 30,000). Look for the maintenance reminder and let it guide you. There was a time when ALLDATA (one of the technical databases I use) had a mileage equivalent for the service reminder, but even now, just reference the onboard maintenance reminder. 


Q. This concerns the key fobs and a 2022 Kia EV6 Wind AWD. Both of my key fobs stopped working on Monday this week. I am able to unlock/lock the car with the Kia iPhone app and can start the car by pressing the car’s Start key with a fob. I replaced the button cells in both fobs and am still having the same problem, though now it is intermittent with both fobs throughout the day (at any time either both work, or both don’t work). I tried getting a service appointment, but it wouldn’t be for quite a while. I’ve called Kia Care and they could not help. Any thoughts? 

A. From your description it sounds like the key fobs are faulty, but it is very odd they both failed on the same day. The key fobs use a short-range radio signal, and a strong battery is required. Since you replaced the batteries, and that helped a bit, I would test the new button cell batteries – they could have been old stock. The phone app uses the vehicle’s IP address rather than a radio signal, which is why it still works. If everything else looks okay, I suspect for whatever reason the front antenna has failed. It is located behind the front bumper cover. My only other thoughts are that a license-plate-mounted toll transponder could be interfering with the signal or that the vehicle’s 12-volt battery is weak. At this point, since neither Kia Care or I were very helpful, you will need to wait for your appointment with the dealer and have them scan the various modules to see what is going on.


Q. My three-year-old Toyota Highlander has 28,000 miles and is still under warranty. The rear brakes were rusted, and the dealer said the rotors need to be changed, which is not covered under the manufacturer’s warranty. I believe this is unusual since I drive this car just like I drove my previous vehicle. What can I do?

A. You didn’t mention if the rust is causing a problem. It is not unusual for brake rotors to rust even just after sitting overnight. Generally driving the vehicle is enough to have the brake pads clean the rust off the rotors. As an example, my wife’s car may sit all weekend and the rotors are brown with rust. After a short drive the rotors clean up and everything is fine. If there is a problem with the rear brake calipers sticking, this may also be contributing to the rusting rotors. If the rotors are deeply pitted, then the only answer is to replace the rotors and at the same time inspect all aspects of the brake system.

John Paul is AAA Northeast’s Car Doctor. He has over 40 years of experience in the automotive business and is an ASE-certified master technician. E-mail your Car Doctor question to [email protected]. Listen to the Car Doctor podcast at


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