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The Yankee Express

Honda battery disconnect, reconnect is tricky business

John Paul

Q. I was told by Honda to have my battery disconnected and then reconnected to fix the date issue on my 2011 CRV EXL with navigation. The date fixed itself at the beginning of December. The date advanced to 2003 from 2001. Still have nine years to go to get to 2022! Have you heard anything about this and would it even work? I have a service appt for them to see if it works and won’t be a happy camper if it doesn’t work!

A. The issue with the date on some Honda models came up this year. The electrical voodoo of disconnecting the battery and holding the cables together, essentially reboots the car’s computer system. At the end of summer, Honda still didn’t have a software fix for this issue. But a check online shows that once the GPS sends a new signal, at least in some models the date can be manually corrected. Let the dealer give it a try and let me know how you make out. 

Q. What is a decent price for a front-end alignment on a 2017 Toyota Corolla?

A. There was a time when most cars only had the front steering angles adjusted and when I first started repairing vehicles that price was $19.95 (that was a long time ago). Today even on a relatively simple car like your Corolla both the front and rear wheels have adjustment angles that need to be checked and adjusted. I did a little research, and the typical cost of a four-wheel alignment is $79.00 to $129.00. As a rule, if suspension or underbody components have been removed/installed or replaced, front and rear steering angles should be checked and if needed adjusted. 

Q. We have a 2009 Volkswagen CC.  The alarm which the dealer installed and still is working stopped beeping, when prior it would beep once when the key fob was pressed. Also, at about the same time the rear passenger window stays down about a half an inch and doesn’t fully go up. 
Any ideas or suggestions before I take it to the dealer. A local shop looked quickly and said it’s not a fuse. 

A. This may be two separate problems even though they appeared at about the same time. The alarm may have a faulty module/relay that is not signaling the horn. The rear window may need to be reset. Sometimes this is as simple as from that seating position, run the window down and hold the button for a few seconds and then up for a few seconds and the window will reset. 

Q. I read one of your answers about a tire leak and wanted to relay my experience. I have a 2013 Honda Accord; last month my car’s low tire light came on and I went to a service station.  They put air in the tire and all was okay for two weeks and then the light was back on. I went to a big tire store. They said the front driver tire was low, then put the tire in soapy water and said no leak was detected.  A few weeks later the low tire light came on again. I went to the tire store again and they inflated the tire and nothing else. A while later again the low tire light came on.  I went to the tire store now for the third time at 3:40 PM and they stated, “they do no not know if they can take care of the problem today because they close at 5:00 p.m.” Isn’t that a very nice service they provide? I waited in the waiting room for over an hour and forty minutes. Finally, a person came in took my car to the service area and came back a little later and told me they found a nail in the tire and now it is finally fixed. What do you think of all of this? 

A. Finding a tire with a slow leak requires patience and in my experience a “dunk-tank” with clear water to look for bubbles. I have seen many shops just take a spray bottle with soapy water and spray the tire, that can work for some leaks, if the leak is big enough. On your car it may have taken three weeks for the nail to make a little bigger hole for the leak to become more apparent. Regarding customer service, one of my first jobs was in a good-sized tire store and if we were in the building even after hours, we never turned down a customer with a flat tire. In fact, in most cases if it was after hours, we repaired the tire at no charge (the cash drawer was put away). The owner always said treat customers like family and they will come back, and he was right. 

John Paul is AAA Northeast’s Car Doctor. He has over forty years’ experience and is an ASE-certified master technician. He will answer readers’ questions each week. Email your questions to [email protected]. Follow John on Twitter @johnfpaul and friend him on Facebook, mrjohnfpaul.