DEAR TALKING ABOUT CAR: I am a loyal reader and grateful for your respect for readers and their questions!
I own a 2005 Honda CR-V with 125,425 miles. It is in good condition. The car’s worst feature at the moment are the rusty wheels. I have fairly new tires and am wondering if it is worth replacing the wheels before I need new tires again.
My mechanic says the wheels aren’t completely rusted, but they look in bad shape. I don’t want a safety issue with wheels rusting all the way through. Is it important to get genuine Honda parts?
It’s a great car and I don’t want to get rid of it. But is it worth the investment in a 16-year-old car? – Rita
DEAR READER: It’s probably just a cosmetic issue, not a safety issue. A bit like my four chins. From your mechanic’s feedback, I’m guessing you have a bunch of surface rust on your wheels, and it looks ugly. You want it to be more beautiful.
Since they rust, I’m assuming you have steel wheels rather than the optional alloy wheels. So, you have several options.
The cheapest solution would be to have your mechanic sand down your existing wheels and paint them silver. If you really want to go cheap, he could do it without even removing the tires. But then you may need to use a Sharpie to cover the excess silver stains on your tires. And the front fenders.
So to get it right he needs to remove the tires, sand and paint the wheels, then reassemble the tires after the paint is dry. And these wheels will be 95% better looking than today. From a distance, they might even look perfect.
But for not much more, you can buy a brand new set of aftermarket wheels. If you google “original steel wheels for Honda CR-V 2005” you will find perfect replicas of your original wheels for prices ranging from around $ 75 to $ 100 per wheel.
We found a good selection on CARiD.com, and all you have to do is pick the ones that match the size and style of your current wheels. I’m sure your mechanic would help you pick the right ones if you ask them. When you factor in the shipping and fitting of the tires, you’re probably talking about $ 500, more or less.
There is no reason to buy them from Honda, if Honda no longer sells these wheels. As you know, the wheel was invented some time ago, so other companies have had plenty of time to perfect it.
And, if you love the car and have rusty wheels bothering you, you definitely need to invest. It will make you happy every time you get close to the car, and it’s worth $ 500, right?
DEAR TALKING ABOUT CAR: Toyota recently had a Toyota Camrys recall for melting dashboards. I did not respond to the recall because my car did not have this problem. However, now that the recall is complete my 2019 Camry has started to have it.
I don’t want to break the bank by dealing with the dashboard. My main concern is that the molten dashboard is reflecting off the windshield and obstructing my vision.
Is it possible to tint the windshield and alleviate this problem? – Olivier
DEAR READER: I’m not sure your dashboard is melting, Olivia.
Toyota and Lexus had an issue with dashboards that crack, melt, ooze and stink in extremely hot weather. But all of the cars that we know of that were affected were made between 2003 and 2011. After a group of people sued, Toyota launched a “customer support program” and agreed to replace these dashes Salvador Dali.
So if the dashboard of your 2019 Camry is melting, Toyota is going to be very upset because they are quite convinced that they fixed it years ago.
If your main complaint is the reflection of the dashboard on the windshield, that’s another story. This is a problem that plagues a lot of cars with dashboards that don’t melt. It’s worse than before, as most windshields are now installed at a steeper angle, for better aerodynamics. It does more reflection on the dashboard.
The biggest offenders are dashboards that aren’t black. The worst we have ever experienced was a Chevy Bolt from a few years ago that had a black and white dashboard. It was like trying to see the road through a game of chess.
So what can you do?
First, keep the windshield clean. You want to clean the outside and inside of your windshield. A film of grime and degassed vinyl will build up inside your windshield little by little and you won’t notice it until the glare almost blinds you. So clean both sides regularly.
Second, try polarized sunglasses to reduce glare. Glare is often worse at certain times of the day, when the sun is beating down at a certain angle. Try to keep a pair of polarized sunglasses in the car and see if they help.
Third, don’t clean your dashboard. One thing that makes windshield glare worse is cleaning the top of the dashboard with a product like Armor All, which is designed to make surfaces shine. Shiny surfaces are your deadly enemy, Olivia.
So if you recently had the interior cleaned, this could be the problem. Try removing the shiny residue with soap and lukewarm water and see if you can give it a matte finish again.
Finally, some people recommend dashboard covers, sometimes referred to as “dash mats”. It is basically a non-shiny cloth that covers the top of your dashboard. We’ve never tried one, and I’m not sure it makes a big difference, but you can experiment with a dark piece of fabric. If that helps, you can buy one that works for you. Just make sure you leave room for your dashboard defrost vents. And don’t go for the shaggy dashboard mat. It’s very 2019.
Ray Magliozzi provides car tips on Car Talk every Saturday. Email him by visiting cartalk.com