Q: Do you really think electric cars are the way to go?
I recently read about a woman who bought a used Ford electric car and within months it needed a battery. The dealer told her a new battery would cost $16,000, which was more than the price of the car.
ONE: I definitely think electric cars have a place in transport. I recently drove a Chevy Bolt and found it to work for all but my longest drives.
As for costs, as we see more EVs, I think battery costs will come down. After all, this was the case with calculators, VCRs and flat screens.
It looks like lithium-ion battery recycling will grow into a multi-billion dollar industry. We also see new players using different ideas. One is VinFast, where you can buy the car but lease the battery.
I think the future could be the “hybrid garage”[ads1];, where people have both an electric car and a petrol car.
Q: I recently read your comments about windshield washer problems and thought I would add to 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 apparently did not include checking the wiper fluid.
I went to use the wiper fluid and only half worked. I took it back to the dealer immediately and found out there was a mouse nest under the hood sound panel. The little bugger found the washer fluid hose worth gnawing on.
Why is it that these new vehicles attract rodents?
ONE: You are correct that it is 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 additional research, none of the soy car products I researched were food-based, so they shouldn’t attract mice. I guess there are just more people, more building and less places for these rodents to live.
Q: I have a 2018 Ford Explorer with a squeal in the left rear tire. It is not constant, but it happens by rotation. It’s loud and annoying! Am I safe? What could be the cause? Any help would be greatly appreciated as it will be in the shop soon.
ONE: The noise could be a brake problem from either the service brake or the parking brake. There is also a ridge of rust on the brake rotors. You are doing the right thing to bring it in to the workshop. It would be best if you could demonstrate the noise to the service clerk or technician, or perhaps have a passenger record the noise as it happens.
Q: What’s up with your radio show? I have listened to you for years on several stations. Have you retired from radio?
ONE: The last station I was at was sold. After a few weeks off, I’m back on the air at www.959watd.com Sunday mornings from 11am to 12pm. Listen online or ask your smart speaker to play WATD.
Q: After watching YouTube videos I have added Freon to the Hyundai Tucson air conditioner but it won’t stay in. Is there a leak that I can find and fix myself? The car has done 175,000 km.
ONE: The first issue that needs to be resolved is whether it is a leak that is causing the system to malfunction, or a mechanical failure.
If the system was low on charge, and if you added refrigerant with a dye, you may be able to see where it is leaking.
The common areas that can leak are hoses and seals, as well as the condenser (mounted in front of the radiator). They may have been damaged by debris from the road. While this is a possible DIY project — unless you have some training (more than YouTube) and the right 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 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 line. Follow him on Twitter @johnfpaul or on Facebook.