Q. I received a remote car starter for Christmas and want to have it installed. The dealer told me that if they are not the installer and I’m not using factory parts I could void the warranty on my new car. They told me this was the case because the car has a push-button starter. Is this true?
A. No, if the remote starter system is installed properly it will not void the car’s warranty, even those cars that use a proximity key and push button starter. In fact many dealer installed remote starters are aftermarket brands and not from the vehicle manufacturer. Consumers are protected by the Magnuson–Moss Warranty Act, the Act makes it illegal for companies to void your warranty or deny coverage under the warranty simply because you used an aftermarket part, providing that part was installed correctly.
Q. I’m planning to be out of state for work-related travel for over three months and may not be taking my car (2008 Honda Civic EX) with me. If I don’t take the car with me, what do I need to have done to prepare the car for long-term storage? If I can get someone to car sit, what usage would you prescribe to maintain the car?
A. Having someone drive the car is the best answer. If someone can drive the car for 20 minutes every 2/3 weeks that would be best. This way you are not just keeping the battery charged but you are exercising the entire vehicle. If that doesn’t work out as a bare minimum properly inflate the tires, top off all the vital fluids, fill the fuel tank and add fuel stabilizer. When you return in three months the battery may need recharging and it were my car I would have the oil changed and have a technician give the car a quick evaluation.
Q. I own a 2007 Honda Element and I have noticed that one of the head lamps will get moisture on the inside of the plastic lens cover. During the summer months this will dry out, but during the rest of the year the moisture remains, and I suspect it is affecting the effectiveness of the lamp. What should I do to solve the problem?
A. Having moisture collecting in the headlamp assembly will certainly cause some distortion to the light pattern and limit lighting effectiveness. At this point carefully remove the bulb and dry out the headlight assembly. There are two places moisture could be entering the assembly. The first is where the bulb fits into the headlight reflector; the second is the headlight lenses where it mounts to the headlight assembly. Some lenses have a gasket/seal that dries out over time. In some cases you can just clean around the edge of the lens and reseal it with some clear silicone. In some other cases some headlights can be separated and can be re-gasketed to prevent future leaks.