Dear Car Coach: The headlights of my 1999 and 2004 Taurus are cloudy due to oxidation. I've used the Meguirer's system, but it has to be redone every few months. Are there other systems that work for a longer period of time?
- B.B., Hamburg
Dear B.B.: Hazy headlights can limit your visibility at night, look horrible and can lower your resale value. You can repair the headlight lenses yourself with a lens renewal kit. They are designed to provide increased brightness to plastic lenses. These kits come with everything you need to do the job - just add a drill! It will remove the hazy, yellow layer from lenses. There are multiple brands so look for a name brand. There are wipe-on methods that work for a few months.
Dear Car Coach: I was recently pulled over for speeding and was wondering what is the proper procedure so that I can possibly get out of the ticket? I thought you would know.
- S.C., Amherst
Dear S.C.: If you are guilty, you usually can't get out of ticket, but the police officer, judge or district attorney may reduce it. However, here are some rules if you get pulled over by a police officer.
If you see those lights behind you, pull over in a safe and lighted area as quickly as possible. If you think that you might be the one that highway patrol car is after, pull over anyway. This shows that you have proper respect for emergency vehicles' right of way.
Once you are on the right shoulder of the road or in a parking lot, be aware of all your moves, as the officer will be watching.
Here are some dos and do nots:
. Don't pull over on the left as you may obstruct traffic. Pulling over next to a guardrail may make it difficult for the officer to safely approach your car.
. Don't get out of the vehicle unless you are directed to.
. Don't give the officer a piece of your mind or ask why he didn't pull over those other motorists who were speeding, too.
. Don't argue with the officer. If you choose to challenge the officer, you will surely leave with a ticket or two.
. Do know where your paperwork is located. Normally, a police officer will ask for your license, registration and insurance. Try to have this in your glove box.
. Do turn on your dome or interior light at night - this is for the officer and your safety.
. Do always keep your hands in plain sight and don't make any sudden movements.
. Do roll down the driver's side window all the way.
. Do stay in the car. Use common sense and don't put the officer in an uncomfortable situation.
. If you are in line for a speeding ticket, you can ask to see the police officer's radar gun calibration records. Just ask nicely.
Stay calm, even if you're upset about being stopped. Remember, you may have been pulled over for something other than speeding. Let the officer speak first. The old adage that you get more bees with honey will help here. Be respectful and you may have a chance of being sent on your way without a ticket.
Dear Car Coach: My daughter has a black 2004 Chevy Cavalier and the paint job looks terrible. The paint/clearcoat is peeling away on the hood, roof and trunk. I went online and it appears as if others are experiencing the same problem. Do you know of any recourse available to the consumer?
- F.M., Buffalo
Dear F.M.: There have been many complaints about the clear coat peeling off this model year vehicle and there are no current recalls to utilize. The only recourse is to contact GM, but since this happened in 2004, it is highly unlikely there is much that can be done about it today. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but once your clear coat starts to fail there really isn't any way to stop the spread. Almost always when clear starts to fail, it happens where the clear coat and color coat bond, meaning it spreads from the bottom of the clear upward and outward, not from the top down. Sometimes you can slightly minimize the appearance, but that is usually a very short-lived concealment. The bottom line is that the car will need to be repainted. The best way to protect your paint is a regular car wash and wax. Remember to use automotive products to clean your vehicle.