Weekly auto rail, with tips on your car’s wipers, Car Q&A with Junior Damato and more.

Tip of the Week

Clear vision is essential to safe driving, especially in the wintertime. Neglect your wiper blades, and you may find yourself in hazardous weather situations with limited vision. If you change your blades regularly, you can avoid these problems and keep your eyes clearly on the road.

- Knowing when to change your blades. When should you change your wiper blades? When a blade is past its physical prime, it will show wear signs like cracking or discoloration. Another indicator that it's time for new wiper blades is by the quality of the wipe - streaking or unwiped areas are a dead giveaway.

- How often should you replace your blades? If your blades don't have a special indicator, the National Highway Transportation Board recommends that drivers change their wiper blades, at minimum, every year. However, the average vehicle owner replaces his/her wiper blades only once every 2.5 years.

- Brandpoint

The List

According to CNN Money, here are the cheapest new cars:

Nissan Versa: $11,990
Chevrolet Spark: $12,185
Smart ForTwo: $12,490
Ford Fiesta: $13,200
Kia Rio: $13,600
Chevrolet Sonic: $14,185

Car Q&A

Q: I own a 2007 BMW 3 series. The check-engine light came on, and the shop scanned the computer and found an evap p0456 small leak. The shop spent a lot of time using a smoke machine. Two of the technicians worked on the car for three hours and could not find the source of the small leak even though the smoke machine confirms there is a small leak and have narrowed it down to the gas tank. Without seeing any smoke they do not know what more to do. The shop is out of ideas, do you have any?

A: We see a lot of evap leaks. Some we can find with the use of both a scan tool and smoke machine, and others are not so easy to find. We have found using a soap and water solution all over all the sealing gaskets and plastic lines can usually help find the leak.

- Junior Damato, Talking Cars columnist

GateHouse News Service