Window washing fluid in the coolant system

Q. I added about a half-gallon of window washing fluid to my coolant by mistake a couple of days ago. About six months ago I had the system flushed and new antifreeze added. Is it okay to leave it as is?

A. Window washer fluid is mostly alcohol and water so there shouldn’t be any engine harm. What I would be more concerned about is that you needed to add that much fluid to the engine cooling system in only six months. You should have the cooling system checked for a possible leak. In addition, have the overall antifreeze protection level checked; it could be diluted by now.


Q. I have a 2003 Dodge Dakota with 70,500 miles on it. It has a 3.9 liter V6 with automatic transmission. In the last three years, I have had to replace three catalytic converters. The last one was a month ago. At that time I asked the mechanic to check as to why this was happening (tune up etc.) The only thing they came up with was to de-carbonize the engine, which he did. I’m skeptical that this is the problem. The truck has always run well and is reliable. Any thoughts as to what might be wrong?

A. The most common causes of catalytic convertor failure are engine misfire, silicone sealants, excessive engine blow-by, or an overly rich fuel system. Another issue is that some aftermarket catalytic convertors are just poor quality.

Q. I had my car, the Porsche Carrera 4, at the Porsche dealership and they offered a free car check. They told me that my front brake pads, rotors and sensors need to be replaced. The car has 32,478 miles on it. Does $1195 seem reasonable for these repairs? They also suggest that I get my brake fluid flushed at the same time for $205. I appreciate any feedback that you can give me, I know very little about cars.


A. I use AllData as my technical data base. According to the parts and labor guide (information provided by Porsche), the price quoted is certainly in the ball park. Regarding the brake fluid replacement, brake fluid tends to attract moisture, and moisture in brake fluid can boil under hard braking conditions and cause severe brake fade. If you have the brake calipers replaced, the brake hydraulic system will need to be bled and the brake fluid replaced. Personally, I don’t know why the dealer would need to charge additionally to flush the brake system since they are already performing a hydraulic repair.

Q. Right after my wife and I purchased a 2014 Corolla with heated seats, Toyota had to stop selling some Corollas equipped with heated seats due to not meeting some kind of fire codes. Have you heard if they are going to do a recall on the 2014 Corollas with heated seats?

A.Lately there have been almost too many recalls to keep up with. I have not seen any recalls about your model car concerning the seats. Readers, if you think your car may have been recalled, call your car dealer or check out for recall information.

Q. I am considering buying a used Lexus 2013 ES 350h hybrid.   I will own it for five years and I will trade it in with 120,000 miles on it.  The hybrid battery is only guaranteed for 100,000 miles.  Will my trade in value suffer because of 100,000 mile battery warranty?

A. Hybrid batteries can easily last ten or more years, so in my opinion, a six year old car hybrid with 120,000 has little risk. That said, many car dealers will certainly use the mileage as a negotiating tactic during a trade in. This is similar to what I read years ago about a sign in the window of a little store in Maine, “we buy junk and we sell antiques’’; the same rule/tactics can apply when buying or selling a car.


Q. I have seen a couple of Kia models on the road and they all look pretty nice. I understand there is a new luxury model coming out, what do you know about it?

A. I think you are referring to the Kia K900 and I have not driven it yet. I have driven the luxurious Hyundai Equus (Kia and Hyundai, although competitors, are jointly owned and share some engineering) and found it to be a delightful car with all the luxury you would expect in a Lexus. I have also recently driven the Kia Cadenza and although not a luxurious as the K900, it was a very nice car. Unlike some previous Kia models, the latest Cadenza feels as if it was truly designed for American drivers and American roads. The ride was smooth, the performance quite good, and attention to detail was impressive. If the K900 is as good as the Cadenza, it will surely be a winner.

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