Car Guides

Should I reseal my car’s loose windshield?

John Paul, AAA Northeast's Car Doctor, answers a question from a reader whose car's windshield is no longer sealed.

AP Photo/Alan Diaz

Q. I was told that I need to reseal my 2013 Volvo C-30’s windshield. You can actually lift it slightly in the upper corners of the glass. I have since learned that there was a sealant problem with Volvos back then. There is no leaking or evidence of dampness, mold, mildew, or rust. I don’t want to take the chance that the windshield could break when being resealed, which I was told by the dealer could happen at a cost of $1,000 to replace the windshield. Do I take the path of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”? If it is a matter of safety, I do want to take care of this, but in the most cost-effective way possible.

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A. It is always possible for a windshield to break, but it usually only happens when there is already a crack. The idea that you can move the seal concerns me because the windshield is actually part of the overall safety structure of the vehicle. The windshield adds to the rigidity of the body both in normal driving and during a crash. If it were my car, I would get it resealed. 

Q. I have been buying brand-new cars since the 1960’s, and have always cared for them totally. I’ve saved all information about the cars — including the window stickers — and passed the info onto the new owners when I’ve sold. Recently I bought a slightly used, one owner, 2017 Buick Regal from a dealer. It’s in excellent shape with very low miles. I would very much like to get a copy of the original window sticker that came with the car when it was new. I want to know the dealer that the car was purchased from as well as all of the options. I’ve tried asking my local dealers but with no luck.

A. A Carfax report should have the history of the car from Day One. This should give you information on the selling dealer, where the car was serviced, and any possible body damage. There are companies online that duplicate window stickers.

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Q. Is it possible for a tire to come off if it had been properly tightened to begin with? I had my 2007 Jeep Liberty serviced during which time it had a tire rotation, oil change, and a state inspection. Less than a month later, my back tire came off and hit four other cars. Luckily no one was hurt. The business that did the tire rotation is stating that the tire was properly tightened. So, is it possible for a tire to come off 500 or 1,000 miles after a tire rotation? The lug nuts were all intact. Only three nuts were recovered at the scene of the accident.

A. Generally, there are two reasons a wheel can fall off. The lug nuts were not tight or they were overtightened, causing the lugs/studs to fracture. One reason that the lugs could have seemed tight is if the hub the wheel mounts on was rusted and the wheel was never fully seated on the hub. If the wheel was in good condition, the hub was clean, and the lugs torqued correctly, there is no reason to think the wheel could have just come off. So, this leaves two possibilities, the wheel wasn’t installed properly, or the other, less probable cause, is someone loosened and tried to steal your tire. If you use a variation of Occam’s Razor, then the obvious answer is usually the correct answer. Using that logic, 21 days later, the tire came off because it wasn’t tightened properly.

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Q. After an engine replacement on my 2012 Toyota Camry, which was necessary after the head gasket failed, there is a noise. It’s a sort of a whirring sound after I start the engine and happens as the car is shifting up to high gear. Any ideas what this could be? 

A. There are a couple of possibilities. One of the accessory drive belts could be out of alignment, causing the noise. The second possibility is the engine uses a balance shaft to counteract engine vibration. The chains and gears can produce some noise. At this point I would return to the repair facility that performed the repair and ask them to evaluate the noise. Depending on how long ago the repair was performed, the repair may be covered under warranty. 

John Paul is AAA Northeast’s Car Doctor. He has over 40 years of experience in the automotive business and is an ASE-certified master technician. E-mail your car question to [email protected] Listen to Car Doctor on the radio at 10 a.m. every Saturday on 104.9 FM or online at northshore1049.com.

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