, Salem, MA

July 27, 2013

Auto Scanner: How to deal with rusty rotors

Auto Scanner
Larry Rubenstein

---- — Q: I have a 2006 Mustang GT convertible that I bought new. Prior to this year, it was stored inside over the winter. This past winter, I had to store it outside, under a car cover. I noticed this spring the rotors are covered with rust. I’m going to be getting it ready to use again soon. Should I clean the rust off the rotors before I drive it, or should I let the brake pads clean them when I drive it? I hate to grind all the rust into the brake pads and perhaps gouge the rotors, if there is an easy way to clean them; or maybe it doesn’t matter. I would like to know your opinion. Thank you for sharing all your knowledge with me and all the other readers weekly.

A: You are on the right path. I don’t want to see you grind the rust into the pads, either. When you do this, you will shorten the pad life and end up with squeaking brakes. I would like to see the vehicle towed to a quality repair shop that will tear down the brakes, turn the rotors, service the bearings and install fresh wheel seals.

Q: What is the timing belt service for a 2007 Acura TL, 3.2-liter, six-cylinder engine that currently has 97,000 miles on it?

A: The manufacturer’s recommendation is 105,000 miles or 84 months. Of course, you should realize that the water pump and drive belts should be replaced at the same time. And whenever I put in a water pump, I give the entire cooling system a flush.

Q: I own a 2000 Toyoto Avalon XLS. About six months ago, when I was filling my gas tank, the pump kept shutting off as if the tank was full. I would have to fill a little at a time and keep checking with the gas gauge. I asked people in the gas station, and they just said they had no idea. I hope you have an answer for me. I have about 88,000 miles and the car runs great.

A: The way your letter is written, it appears to be a one-time event. If indeed that is the case, chalk it up to a bad gas nozzle. If this is a constant problem, you have a problem with either the fuel filler neck or a baffle in the fuel tank.

Q: I own a 2001 Lexus RX 300, six-cylinder, all-wheel drive with 175,000 miles on it. I bought it used with 88,000 miles; I changed the timing belt as soon as I bought it at 88,000. I just read your recent column and am wondering if I need to replace the timing belt again.

A: For your Lexus, it’s every 90,000 miles or 72 months, so you’re almost there. You should schedule it in at your repair facility and get this needed service taken care of.

Car Care Tip: Did you know that tires will degrade with time whether they are used or not? Whenever you buy new tires, used tires, or even a used car, check the tires for the manufacture date. Tires that are more than 6 years old, used or unused, should be replaced.


Larry Rubenstein is a master technician who owns a North Shore service station. His column appears every Saturday. Write to Larry at The Salem News, c/o Auto Scanner, 32 Dunham Road, Beverly, MA 01915, or send an email to