Q: Do you really think electric cars are the way to go?
I recently read about a woman who purchased a used Ford electric vehicle, and within months it needed a battery. The dealer told her that a new battery would be $16,000, which was more than the cost of the car.
A: I certainly believe electric cars have a place in transportation. I recently drove a Chevy Bolt and found it could work for all but my longest drives.
Regarding costs, as we see more electric cars, I believe the battery costs will come down. After all, this was the case with calculators, VCRs and flat-screen televisions.
It appears that lithium-ion battery recycling will grow into a multibillion-dollar industry. We are also seeing new players using different ideas. One is VinFast, where you can buy the car but lease the battery.
I believe the future may be the “hybrid-garage,” where people have both an electric car and a gasoline car.
Q: I recently read your comments on windshield washer issues and thought I would add this story.
Several years ago, I bought a brand-new Honda CRV from a local dealer. I drove it home after their “100 point” inspection, which evidently did not include checking the wiper fluid.
I went to use the wiper fluid, and only half of it worked. I brought it back to the dealer immediately and found out there was a mouse nest under the sound panel in the hood. The little bugger decided the washer fluid hose was worth gnawing on.
Why is it that these new vehicles attracts rodents?
A: You are correct that it isn’t always a traditional mechanical part breakdown that causes the problem.
I had thought that we were seeing more rodent damage due to manufacturers using more soy-based materials. Although, after some additional research, none of the soy automotive products I researched were food based, so they shouldn’t attract mice. I guess it is just more humans, more building and fewer places for these rodents to live.
Q: I have a 2018 Ford Explorer with a squeal in the left rear tire. It isn’t constant, but it happens on rotation. It is loud and annoying! Am I safe? What could be the cause? Any help will be greatly appreciated, since it is going into the shop soon.
A: The noise could be a brake issue from either the service brake or the parking brake. It also be a rust ridge on the brake rotors. You are doing the right thing bringing it into the repair shop. It would be best if you could demonstrate the noise to the service writer or technician, or perhaps have a passenger record the noise as it happens.
Q: What is going on with your radio program? I have been listening to you for years on several stations. Did you retire from radio?
A: The last station I was on was sold. After a few weeks off, I’m back on the air on 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 have added Freon to my Hyundai Tucson’s air conditioner, but it won’t stay in. Does it have a leak that I can find and fix it myself? The vehicle has 175,000 miles on it.
A: The first issue that needs to be addressed is if there is a leak that is causing the system not to work, or a mechanical failure.
If the system was low on charge, and if you added refrigerant with a dye, you might be able to see where it is leaking out.
The common areas that can leak are the hoses and seals, as well as the condenser (mounted in front of the radiator). They could have been damaged by debris from the road. Although this is a possible DIY project — unless you have some training (more than YouTube) and proper equipment, it should be left to the professionals.
John Paul is the AAA Northeast Car Doctor. He has more than 40 years of experience in the automobile 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.