Q: My Honda CR-V makes a loud buzzing noise that is only heard by the receiver of the phone call when it’s connected to the Bluetooth. This sound is not heard by the driver of the car. Any idea on what is causing this? I asked my Honda service person and he said disconnect the phone and reconnect it again and it should stop. It did for a very short time but quickly came back again. It’s a concern to me that I can’t make calls when I need to.
J.H., Meriden, Conn.
A: There is an issue with the vehicle’s microphone and Honda is aware of this. It was a common problem with the CR-V and Civic equipped with the Hand Free Link (Bluetooth) system. The fix is to replace the microphone inside the map light assembly on the ceiling. There is a technical service bulletin (TSB) that your dealer should look up.
Q: I was surprised by your answer to A.S. in Austin, recommending engaging the parking brake every time before placing the shifter in park. Living in the flatlands of Chicago, we had always been told to only use the parking brake when parking on a steep incline. Checking the internet, that turns out not to be true. Why is use of the parking brake not promoted properly by car dealers, the AAA and others?
J.F., Deerfield, Ill.
A: Although more and more cars are equipped with electric parking brakes, others still have a cable system. Regular use keeps the cables free of corrosion. If you have never used the parking brakes and apply them, the cables may freeze preventing the brakes from being released. You better have towing insurance.
Q: I recently purchased a 2014 Mercedes-Benz SL550. The manual says to use premium gas. Here in Texas, premium gas is at least 80 cents higher than regular. I have read that regular gas can be used in vehicles that supposedly require premium resulting in only a slight reduction in performance. Can you provide any insight or recommendations for this issue?
L.A., Georgetown, Texas
A: All Mercedes-Benz cars require premium (91 octane or higher) fuel. They have high compression engines. Using a lower octane fuel in high compression engines may cause pre-ignition (ping). Using a lower octane fuel may also cause the check engine light to come on.
Q: As pickups get bigger and wider, I see their side mirrors have become the size of wheel covers and stick out two feet from the A pillar. You could mow down 10 pedestrians at a corner waiting to cross the street. Is there a regulation that applies to these mirrors?
S.S., Highland Park, Ill.
A: I know of no regulation. Yes, pickup truck mirrors have grown. Many trucks now arrive from the factory with a towing package that includes larger mirrors. If you have ever towed a trailer, you know that big mirrors help. For owners living on narrow streets, those humongous mirrors are often folded in to avoid getting clipped off. Sure, some people install massive mirrors, but that might just be a reflection of their personalities.
Q: I frequently read that drivers should turn off their engines when filling the gas tank. Why?
A: For the same reason that we are warned not to smoke, to dissipate static electricity by touching the vehicle before fueling, to stay with the vehicle while fueling and so on: To avoid the danger of fire. By the way, if a fire starts, to not remove the nozzle!
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