Q: Would I be creating a problem with over-heating the engine or something else under the hood by covering the hood of my Ford Escape with towels, so a cat doesn’t scratch the paint? When I arrive and the car is hot, I am covering it up and it stays hot for hours.
— D.G., South Daytona, Fla.
A: The temperature under the hood will be it highest when you turn off the engine. It gradually cools down (called hot soak in the industry) and all you are doing is stretching out the hot soak period.
Q: I have a Porsche Panamera with SiriusXM, and the exact same thing happened to me. Apparently, Sirius sent out an update that Porsche’s PCM and the whole system would continually reboot every 2-5 minutes. The solution to this is a procedure Porsche calls a “handover.” They use this when a car is sold, traded in, etc. and want to wipe all info from the system. Just google Porsche handover and follow the steps. Warning, all your settings, tuner presets, and such will be wiped out, so I suggest taking a picture of each screen before doing this. When completed, then request a refresh signal from Sirius. Back in business then.
— P.C., Naperville, Ill.
A: I checked out the YouTube video recorded by a spokesman from Capital Porsche in Tallahassee. The procedure took him only a couple minutes, but as you stated, the owner will lose everything that was ever saved.
Q: As a kid I remember that when I was in junior high, we always had air conditioning in our car, but my dad would never use it saying it killed the gas mileage. He believed in 4/40 A/C. Now I never hesitate to turn on the A/C and I don’t seem to see a lot of gas mileage difference. Do the electronics in today’s cars really compensate the gas usage when the A/C is on?
— R.F., Warrenville, Ill.
A: Ah yes, the 4/40—four windows down at 40 miles per hour. It was the poor man’s air conditioning for cars that did not have the system. Early automotive A/C was indeed a power hog. Compressors were large and clunky. Terribly inefficient. Automotive systems have come a long way becoming highly efficient. The electronics in a car are not really a factor.
Q: The maintenance manual for my 2016 MB 450 GLE Coupe says replace the spark plugs at 5 years/50,000 miles. But at my four-year service the dealer said 4 years/40,000 based on the MB 2016 Service Sheet. Customer Service says it’s a typo in the manual, which I question.
— F.G., Libertyville, Ill.
A: You would be surprised how many dealerships print up their own service guides. All they need is some imagination, a computer and printer to make them look professional. Some service departments go as far as to post their service intervals boldly on the wall.
Q: I don’t understand how a fuel filter can be considered a lifetime part. I have a 4WD, 2003 Tacoma with 162,000 miles and when I asked the dealership about replacing it, I was told it does not need to be replaced. Nearly every other filter, like air and oil, are changed routinely so why not fuel?
— C.M., Quakertown, Pa.
A: There is a filter on the fuel pump pickup pipe. Often called a sock, it protects the pump and everything beyond. Gasoline is much cleaner nowadays and gasoline dispensers have filters in them. I have seen cars go hundreds of thousands of miles without a fuel filter replacement.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Bob Weber is a writer and mechanic who became an ASE-certified Master Automobile Technician in 1976. He maintains this status by seeking certification every five years. Weber’s work appears in professional trade magazines and other consumer publications. His writing also appears in automotive trade publications, Consumer Guide and Consumers Digest.
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