Biography

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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Bob Weber

Bob Weber

Motormouth

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Why is diesel so much more expensive than gas?

December 13, 2014

Q: I have owned Mercedes diesels for more than 25 years now, always priding myself on purchasing a vehicle of unsurpassed comfort, longevity, efficiency and yes, practicality. The problem is that diesel has now actually risen in price as gas has fallen, topping more than a dollar a gallon difference at many stations. What is going on?

  • Universal antifreeze, busted fuses and WD-40: Motormouth busts myths

    December 6, 2014

    Q: I'm a 77-year-old woman who reads your column every Sunday even though I don't understand it most of the time. I have a 2006 Cadillac DTS. For about the first half-mile after starting the car, it sounds like someone knocking from the trunk. I told my grandson there was a ghost in the trunk, but would you have better idea?

  • There is no such thing as a tuneup anymore

    November 24, 2014

    Q: I would like to know the reason objects are closer than they appear in the passenger rearview mirror. You have to recalculate your vision while driving and I see no advantage to this at all.

  • Tire rotations, high mileage oil, air bag lights: Motormouth solves auto woes

    November 14, 2014

    Q: The air conditioning came on by itself on my 2014 Dodge Journey when it was warm and humid/raining. Has not done it now that it has gotten cooler out. Any ideas?

  • Winter car care, recalls and TPMS lights: Motormouth solves car problems

    November 8, 2014

    Q: I will be leaving a car outside this winter and will be driving it only about once a week. Will it hurt to spray rodent repellent in the engine compartment? I had a rodent issue with another car last winter when it sat for a few weeks.

  • Battery charging, tire rotation and engine noise: Motormouth solves car problems

    November 6, 2014

    Q: With all due respect, I think that one of your answers that I read was incorrect. The question was essentially: "can I connect multiple batteries in parallel, and use one battery charger to keep them charged over the winter?" You said no, use a separate charger for each battery. With a separate charger for each battery, you could control the amount of charge for each battery, but it would be much more expensive, and I do not see why it would be necessary. Electrically (and there are math equations for this), hooking several batteries in parallel looks the same to the charger, as if it was just one large battery. The only impact that I can see is if the current from the charger would be spread across the several batteries. The amount would depend upon the internal resistance of each battery. This internal resistance would vary depending upon things such as size, age and charge. I am interested in your thoughts.

  • Cooler weather may trigger tire pressure indicator

    October 27, 2014

    Q: We have a 2013 Honda Accord and from time to time, the tire low-pressure indicator will go on. The first two times they found no leaks. The third time I ignored the light for two weeks and nothing happened (no flat tires, etc.), but my wife insisted I take it in. Again, they found no leaks so I asked the mechanic why the light goes on and he said it was probably because of the change from the warm summer to the cooler fall weather. Does this sound right? I also asked him what would happen if I ignored the light and he said it might ruin the tires. I'm perplexed.

  • Premium gas logic, carbon dioxide fumes and other issues tackled by Motormouth

    October 27, 2014

    Q: My Toyota 4Runner has a rear gate window that opens, and it's very effective for moving air through the cabin. I recall there was once a concern for exhaust fumes entering through an open rear window. The 4Runner is equipped with a spoiler that I assume directs the exhaust down and away when the vehicle is moving. Although I've never detected an exhaust smell inside the passenger compartment, should I be concerned?

  • Winter storage worries? Motormouth addresses trickle charging, boat storage

    October 17, 2014

    Q: As winter approaches, I will be storing many motorized "toys" with batteries. These include a garden tractor, three motorcycles, a motorboat and a car.

  • Motormouth solves car problems: brake fluid, smoke, ABS warnings

    October 13, 2014

    Q: Three months ago, I bought a 2006 Ford Fusion SEL from CarMax.

  • Instrument cluster on the fritz

    September 27, 2014

    Q: I own a 1997 Lincoln Continental and am having problems with the instrument cluster.

  • Get used to low bumpers and electronic idle setting

    September 22, 2014

    Q: I have a 2011 Honda Odyssey. When we pull into a space with a concrete parking curb, the front at times gets hung up on it. The front clearance is maybe 6 or 7 inches, the same as these parking curbs. I have looked at other cars, such as the Honda Civic and Ford Focus, and the road clearance is less than 5 inches, all by design. These are not customized lowriders, and I understand aerodynamics for better gas mileage, but to me, this was a poor excuse for engineering. Your thoughts?

  • Heat is a tire's worst enemy

    August 18, 2014

    Q: I have moved to a desert climate — dry air, no snow, lots of rain during monsoons. I have heard that Michelin tires wear out quickly in this type of climate.

  • Obsolete part locks out Ford owner

    August 18, 2014

    Q: I have a 2000 Ford Taurus that appears to no longer recognize the ignition key. The car has been sitting for four weeks while the local Ford dealer has unsuccessfully tried to find a replacement anti-theft module (the apparent culprit). Is it reasonable for automakers to say, "Sorry, we no longer provide that part. Try the junkyard?"

  • Anti-theft lug nut key problematic

    August 3, 2014

    Q: I have a 2009 VW Rabbit, purchased used. Recently, I had a flat tire and couldn't get the lug nuts off, so I called AAA. They could not get the wheel off, either, as apparently the anti-theft wheel bolt adapter was missing. The VW dealer I went to could not sell me a replacement adapter because there were numerous adapters that made it impossible to know which one fit my wheels. I found it astounding that, in this era of being able to track everything, the company could not match the adapter to the VIN. Is this true?

  • Front and rear brakes do not need to be replaced together

    July 19, 2014

    Q: I drive a Toyota Corolla automatic. When approaching and stopping at a red light or a railroad crossing, I place the lever in neutral and step on the brakes until the light turns green. I have the impression that I don't have to step so hard on the brake pedal to prevent the car from creeping. Is there anything wrong with this habit and does it affect the transmission or any of its components?

  • Sap on your car? Think again

    July 12, 2014

    Q: I don't have a garage and have to park my black 2007 Buick Lucerne on my driveway. Because there are many trees above, my car has sap deposits on it which are impossible to remove after the sap has hardened. Any suggestions as to what will safely remove the sap?

  • Best diagnostic automotive tool? The brain

    July 7, 2014

    Q: Everything was fine with my 2010 Chevrolet Equinox until March 2014. It quit running and the warning light indicated to change oil. I took it to three dealers and they could find nothing wrong via the computer diagnostic system. I took it to an independent; he said the timing chain is the problem. I took it to another Chevy dealer and they could find nothing wrong. I told them what the independent dealer said about the chain. They looked at it again and determined there were bits of metal and plastic in the oil pan. The pistons had been seared. The repairs were covered under warranty. If the computer does not report problems, who diagnoses mechanical problems?

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