Q: Do you really think electric cars are the way to go?
I recently heard of a woman who purchased a used Ford electric vehicle and within months needed a battery. The dealer told him that a new battery would cost $16,000, which was more than the cost of the car.
A: I am convinced that electric cars have their place in transport. I recently drove a Chevy Bolt and found it could work for all but my longest rides.
On the cost side, as we see more and more electric cars, I think battery costs will come down. After all, this was the case with calculators, VCRs and flat screen televisions.
It looks like lithium-ion battery recycling will become a multi-billion dollar industry. We also see new players using different ideas. One is VinFast, where you can buy the car but rent the battery.
I believe the future could be the “hybrid garage”, where people have both an electric car and a gas-powered car.
Q: I recently read your comments about windshield washer issues and thought I’d add this story.
Several years ago I purchased a brand new Honda CRV from a local dealership. I took it home after their “100 point” inspection, which obviously did not include the wiper fluid check.
I went to use the wiper fluid, and only half of it worked. I immediately took it back to the dealership and discovered that there was a mouse nest under the sound panel in the hood. The little bugger decided the windshield washer fluid hose was worth biting into.
Why do these new vehicles attract rodents?
A: You’re correct that it’s not always a traditional mechanical part failure that causes the problem.
I had thought we were seeing more rodent damage due to manufacturers using more soy-based materials. Although after some further research, none of the soy automotive products I researched were food based, so they should not attract mice. I guess it’s just more humans, more buildings, and less places to live for these rodents.
Q: I have a 2018 Ford Explorer with a squeal in the left rear tire. It’s not constant, but it happens in rotation. It’s loud and annoying! Am I safe? What could be the cause? Any help will be greatly appreciated as it will be entering the shop soon.
A: The noise can come from the service brake or the parking brake. It is also a ridge of rust on the brake discs. You do the right thing by taking it to the repair shop. It would be best if you could demonstrate the noise to the writer or service technician, or perhaps have a passenger record the noise as it occurs.
Q: What’s going on with your radio program? I’ve been listening to you for years on several stations. Have you retired from radio?
A: The last station I was on was sold out. After a few weeks off, I’m back on the air at www.959watd.com on Sunday mornings from 11 a.m. to noon. Listen online or tell your smart speaker to play WATD.
Q: After watching YouTube videos, I added freon to my Hyundai Tucson’s air conditioner, but it won’t stay put. Is there a leak that I can find and fix myself? The vehicle has 175,000 miles on it.
A: The first problem to solve is if there is a leak preventing the system from working or a mechanical failure.
If the system charge was low and you added refrigerant with a dye, you may be able to see where it is leaking.
Common parts that can leak are the hoses and gaskets, and the condenser (mounted in front of the radiator). They could have been damaged by road debris. While this is a do-it-yourself project possible – unless you have some training (more than YouTube) and the proper equipment, this should be left to the professionals.
John Paul is the AAA Northeast Automotive Physician. He has over 40 years of experience in the automotive industry and is an ASE Certified Master Technician. Write to John Paul, The Car Doctor, at 110 Royal Little Drive, Providence, RI 02904. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org and put “Car Doctor” in the subject field. Follow him on Twitter @johnfpaul or on Facebook.