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


Forget the maintenance schedule, follow the automated reminders

Forget the maintenance schedule, follow the automated reminders

May 3, 2015

Q: I have a 2007 Ford Escape XLS with 60,000 miles. For the past six months, I have been listening to a loud annoying rattle that seems to come from the left front end. This can happen on rough or sometimes smooth roads. It may happen at any time but is usually constant. A garage I deal with had it up on the lift but could not find anything.

  • Are your car's pedals too close together?

    April 25, 2015

    Q: I have a 2013 Hyundai Sonata. When I brake, it accelerates. I took it back to the dealership three times and they can't repeat the problem. They even kept it a few times. It happens in every gear plus neutral and park. If I pump the brakes fast enough, it stops. Any ideas to help me?

  • Synthetic oil extends mileage between oil changes

    April 18, 2015

    Q: A tire dealer wanted to sell me run-flat tires, Bridgestone Driveguard tires, for my 2002 Lexus LS430. My car has a spare, but he suggested the added convenience and safety of run-flat tires being able to travel up to 50 miles with no air pressure. I asked, "Say I get a puncture on a rear tire. How would I know that I had a flat and my 50-mile range countdown has started if my vehicle doesn't have a tire-monitoring system?" The dealer said it was a good question with no clear answer. What do you think?

  • Transmission flush may not clear sludge in pan

    April 16, 2015

    Q: I have a 2002 Dodge Dakota 4.7-liter V-8 with 105,000 on the clock. It has been about 80,000 miles since my last transmission fluid/filter change. I was going to do this job myself. But then I heard about a service that does the job by pumping out the old fluid and pumping in the new and does not require a filter change. I was told the cleaning action was so good that the old filter gets cleaned and replacement is not necessary. This costs about $275. Thoughts?

  • Motormouth explains replacing the rear tires first one last time

    April 6, 2015

    Q: With more cars having the start/stop option what is the best use of it? Does it make sense to use in rush hour traffic?

  • Mechanics may be magicians but Motormouth knows better

    March 30, 2015

    Q: Just read your article saying snow blower gas can't be used for lawnmower fuel but can be used for a car. Why wouldn't this mixture foul a car's plug in the same manner as a lawnmower?

  • Yes, put winter tires on the rear of FWD vehicle

    March 22, 2015

    Q: Put new winter tires in the rear on a front wheel drive car? You think your readers are happy with no explanation?

  • Automotive hacks can help or harm repair bill

    March 14, 2015

    Q: I have a 2008 Honda CR-V. The 12-volt accessory outlet in the dash as well as the center console have stopped working. I have checked the fuses and they are fine. There is power through the plug at the back of the unit, but nothing plugged in gets any power. I have been unable to figure out how to remove the outlet for replacement. I have checked the outlet with a circuit tester and can find no power.

  • Foggy headlights? Wax the lenses

    March 8, 2015

    Q: I read your article about a plastic headlight lens turning yellow. Is there anything that can be done to prevent it, such as wax?

  • Disposal fees in auto repair aren't good business

    February 28, 2015

    Q: My wife recently got a front-end alignment on her 2008 Jeep Liberty, and we saw on the receipt when she returned home that she was charged a disposal fee. For a front-end alignment? What is there to dispose of? I called another shop in town, and they said they don't charge a disposal fee. Is this a legit charge?

  • Winter car storage? Drive it monthly to avoid spring blues

    February 23, 2015

    Q: This is my first winter with my 2011 Lexus CT200h. I plan to just keep it in the garage until springtime. How concerned should I be about the Hybrid System Battery draining all the way down? So far, I've been starting the car for about 15 minutes every two weeks. I also thought it would be a good idea to drive it around for a few miles at least once a month. Is that really necessary? How long can I go without starting it, before worrying about the Hybrid battery?

  • Heater not working? Motormouth has a suggestion

    February 21, 2015

    Q: I have a 2008 Honda CRV EXL. A year ago the heater stopped working. The dealer said it was the heater core. To date my mechanic has flushed and power flushed the system, replaced the thermostat twice, replaced the radiator and the water pump. All of this was done in agreement with my mechanic. None of the above made any significant difference. I have avoided replacing the heater core due to the complexity and cost. Any suggestions?

  • Pressing the brake and the gas pedals together is an endangered option

    February 7, 2015

    Q: I have a 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe AWD that I use for towing a light boat. Recently, I found myself parked on a steep grade and tried to back up. I put my left foot on the brake pedal to hold the vehicle from rolling forward, and put my right foot gently on the gas pedal. The gas pedal did not react. If I removed my foot from the brake, the vehicle would lurch backward with tires spinning. My Hyundai dealer said this is normal behavior and suggested I do not park on hills. Really?

  • Tire pressure monitors should be replaced every 10 years

    February 2, 2015

    Q: I have a Honda Accord Crosstour, and the manufacturer tires aren't that fantastic in the rain and snow. If I were to buy tires that aren't specifically recommended for my car, would I void my warranty? The tires I would like to get were recommended for the Accord sedan but not the Crosstour. My Crosstour is not AWD so I don't really see why the tires would be OK on one model but not the other.

  • Modern oil viscosity is not affected as much by cold temps

    January 27, 2015

    Q: I always believed that the reason to warm up the car had to do with the oil and not the fuel/air mix. In extremely cold temperatures, doesn't the oil in a car parked outdoors become more viscous regardless of its "weight"? Running thick oil through the engine is not good as the lubricating ability is diminished because of the cold. Allowing it to warm up is better for the engine. Right or not? Thanks for your answer and your enjoyable column.

  • WD-40 is not the best option to fix or prevent frozen car locks

    January 24, 2015

    Q: I have heard that you should start your car to keep the battery from going dead when it gets bitter cold outside even if you're not going anywhere. I think that's doing more harm than good since you're draining the battery to start it. I let my car sit outsidefor a few days in zero or below temperatures and I neverhave any problems with the battery when I do start it. What do you think? Am I harming my battery by not starting it in freezing weather?

  • Installing snow tires? You may have a problem with TPMS sensors

    January 20, 2015

    Q: I had a set of snow tires mounted on their own rims that I used with my previous BMW 5 series. I now have a newer model of the same car which is equipped with tire pressure monitors. The local tire shop will not install the snow tires on the new car unless they move the existing TPMS or install new ones at over $200 each. If I mount the wheels with the snow tires myself without installing any TPMS, will there be any problem with the car, other than an alarm? I can live with an alarm for three months. Finally, in the spring when I put the existing wheels with the TPMS back on the car, will the car then automatically detect the TPMS and clear the alarm?

  • Rebuilt or all-new engine? Motormouth answers car owners' questions

    January 3, 2015

    Q: Living in the Chicago area during the winter I used many bottles of premixed windshield washer solvent. With the cost of the premixed solvent skyrocketing, I have been thinking of making my own. There are many recipes available online; however, I am concerned about using them for fear of damaging my car finish. What are your thoughts concerning a recipe that will work in the winter and will not damage my car finish?

  • Car acting spooky? Motormouth exorcises demons

    January 3, 2015

    Q: We own a 2011 Lexus 350 with a minor but very mysterious problem. The automatic headlights work perfectly, high beams to low beams and back again at appropriate times, with one exception: When we drive up the gravel road over the dune to our beach house on Lake Michigan, the bright lights will not stay on. This road is pitch-black at night! Any thoughts? We are ready to chalk it up to sand dune poltergeists who don't like Illinoisans owning property in Michigan.

  • Old air bags, stuck door locks and a bad fuse: Motormouth solves problems

    December 27, 2014

    Q: We drive a 1997 Ford Escort, and with all the chatter about air bags, we were wondering if ours would be useful in a collision, or would they come out like streamer confetti because of their age?

  • Diesel exhaust, TPMS fixes and recalls: Motormouth answers your questions

    December 19, 2014

    Q: Is it true that modern diesel engines can get damaged by repeatedly driving short distances? Something about a clogged filter that won't regenerate because the engine hasn't warmed up. I thought diesels were more robust than gas engines. Strange that a 21st century automobile engine would have such a design flaw. 

  • 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?

  • 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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