Q: I started driving via Model A Ford. Each successive car has provided less and less "road feel" to the point that I wonder who is driving, me or the car. What new cars have the best connection to the road?
— O.B., Bristol, Conn.
A: With every passing year, the driver becomes further removed from the job of driving. We have cars that park themselves, that brake automatically if a collision is imminent, that steer back into their lane if changing lanes could cause a crash, that stop themselves to prevent hitting a pedestrian. We fear that it won't be long before the human is considered redundant and unnecessary. We can't answer your question.
Q: Our mechanic says the limo I drive has water in the tank, causing poor idling. He added some Heet, saying I should add Heet every time I fill up, and I should also switch from the discount gasoline stations to brand names like BP, Mobil and Shell.
Is there a difference between the discount (Thorntons, Sam's, Marathon) gasoline and the major brands? I thought all the tankers filled up at the same refineries.
— J.M., Batavia, Ill.
A: Gasoline is a commodity shipped by pipeline and tanker around the country. After the gas reaches its destination, oil marketers blend in their additives — some more, some less — but none should have water in them.
That is more a factor of individual stations, so you may want to take the mechanic's advice and choose another retailer. Heet is mostly methanol (alcohol) and probably isn't necessary where gasoline already contains 10 percent ethanol (alcohol).
Q: My car windows have black dots that make a checkerboard effect. Do you know what that is from? I still see it even after a carwash.
— S.L., Olympia Fields, Ill.
A: Take off your sunglasses. Is it gone? Polarized sunglasses create the effect. Most often, we see the pattern on the rear window of the car in front of us.
Q: We own a 2011 Toyota RAV4 with about 32,000 miles. After it got an oil change, our mechanic said there was a leak in one of the struts.
The vehicle is still under warranty, so we took it to the Toyota dealer where we bought it. The dealer said a certain amount of leakage is acceptable and so did not fix it. The dealer showed me the guidelines dealers have to follow. What are your thoughts on this matter? I am very disappointed in Toyota.
My daughter drives the vehicle and I am nervous about this leak.
— S.Z., Elmhurst, Ill.
A: Relax. Even if all the oil leaked out of the strut, the car would not be lethally dangerous to drive.
It is true that a bit of seepage is normal, but if the tube is covered with oil, replace the struts, or at least the shock absorber part of the struts.