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posted: 4/6/2012 10:55 AM

Undeer the hood: Fuel tank should not rust prematurely

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Q. I have a 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe with 78,000 miles on it. I just had to replace the fuel tank on it, due to it rusting out! I was quite surprised considering it is garage kept. I didn't have an extended warranty.

I contacted Hyundai directly to see if they would at least pay for the parts, to no avail. Is this a common occurrence and do I have any ground to stand on with Hyundai. Thanks for your help.

A. I have not seen a rusted fuel tank issue on the Santa Fe in either of our shops, but I did see two complaints online about it for two different 2003 models. Are there lots more of these issues where people are not complaining? I don't know.

Fuel tanks will rust out from time to time but I agree, it should not happen with a garage kept car that is less than 10 years old. Did you contact a dealer or did you contact the zone office? If there is a common problem and enough owners inform them of this problem, eventually they will have to address it.

I know I haven't been much help here and there really is nothing you can do to prevent this from happening. Generally, we see the worst under-car rusting on cars that are kept outside and, worse yet, on gravel driveways.

I would like to challenge those of you who have a perfectly good garage, but your car sits outside because the garage is full of junk, to take action. If this is you, you can add years to the life of your car by doing some spring cleaning and making room to keep old Betsy in the garage.

I am sorry good habits did not help this reader out, but in most cases keeping the car inside makes a big difference!

Fuel mileage tip of the week: Lose some weight!

No I am not talking about you, although that may be a good thing, too. But in keeping with the spring-cleaning theme, I am talking about all the "junk in the trunk."

According to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, carrying an extra 100 pounds in a car's trunk typically lowers gas mileage by as much as 2 percent. In addition to the extra trunk weight, anything you have on the outside of the vehicle can affect fuel economy as well. Accessories like car-top carriers and bike racks are real fuel economy killers, so if they are not in use you could save yourself some money by not having them on the car.

• Douglas Automotive is at 312 S. Hager Ave., Barrington, (847) 381-0454, and 123 Virginia Road, Crystal Lake, (815) 356-0440. For information, visit douglasautomotive.com. Send questions to underthehood@dailyherald.com.

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