Click the link below to go to the weekly auto rail, with tips on your car’s wipers, Car Q&A with Junior Damato and more. Or check out these other auto links.

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.


The List

According to Forbes, here are the 10 safest small cars:

Audi A3

Buick Verano

Chevrolet Cruze

Chevrolet Sonic

Chevrolet Volt

Lexus CT 200h

Mazda Mazda3

Scion tC

Subaru Impreza

Toyota Prius

Did You Know

An eBay seller tried to sell a Chrysler 300C once leased by President Barack Obama for $1 million, but no one bid on the car. The seller said he plans to try again around election time.

Car Q&A

Q: I own a 2002 Ford E250 5.4 liter V/8 automatic transmission with 60,000 miles. Recently the transmission started to occasionally chatter or slip when starting from a stop and going around corners. I checked the transmission fluid and the dipstick is hard to read. I had the computer checked for trouble fault codes and there are none. Do you have any ideas what could be wrong?

A: My first thought is the transmission fluid is low and when taking off from a stop or during cornering if the transmission will suck air instead of fluid. You also need to get the correct transmission fluid for the van. When you order the fluid from the Ford dealer, you must use the VIN number or transmission ID number. You may also want to change the transmission fluid and filter. Some transmission pan gaskets are reusable.

- Junior Damato, Talking Cars columnist

GateHouse News Service