motormouth bob weber
Q: I have noticed many vehicles with one headlight out, especially with newer vehicles. Is this because the bulbs go out faster and/or are too expensive to replace, causing people to delay having it done? Also, how does this impact safety? One time I was pulled over because one of my headlights was out.
A: I have spoken with a few cops about this issue and they generally agree that drivers' excuses are often that new headlight bulbs are beyond their budgets. Often that gets them a warning, and an admonition to get the bulb replaced — pronto. But sometimes they are ticketed for faulty equipment.
One burned-out headlight does impact safety — yours and that of others on the road. You suffer from half the needed illumination; they suffer from not clearly knowing what is approaching from the other direction.
I strongly urge replacing a burned-out bulb but also suggest that drivers replace both sides because the other bulb is running on borrowed time.
Q: I own a 2015 Chevy Traverse 3.6-liter, six-cylinder with 31,000 miles. Almost since Day 1 it has been using a quart of oil about every 2,000 miles. My normal oil change cycle is about 5,000 miles and I only use the semi-synthetic from GM. The service writer states this is normal and to live with it. With today's cars this certainly is not our father's six-cylinder where we added oil much more often.
That being said, I have owned three Explorers and three Mustangs all with six-cylinder engines with no such issues. I do not want to add any of the aftermarket stop-oil-use products unless that is the only option. Besides this issue, it has been a great car. Your thoughts, please.
J.P., Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
A: I agree that oil consumption is emotionally consuming. Nobody likes it. During manufacturing, sometimes tolerances inside the engine stack up. When that happens, increased oil consumption is possible. Manufacturers consider this normal and will usually do nothing to help the unfortunate owner.
All I can say is check your oil regularly. This goes for everyone, because your car could be one of the heavy drinkers (hic!).
Q: My daughter called me and said her engine light is on. I told her to take it to Chrysler where she lives and get it serviced. Chrysler told her it needed a tune-up. I told them to do it. Then they said a tensioner needs to be fixed or replaced. OK, do it. Now $1,800 later they test drove the car and blew the engine. They said it was not their fault. What do you think?
B.R., Boca Raton, Fla.
A: I think you need a lawyer, not a columnist. Nevertheless, if the car was running when she took it in, but not after a test drive, it would appear that something went haywire while the car was in the shop. Perhaps the oil was drained and not refilled. Perhaps something fell into the engine during service. I can only guess from here.
Bob Weber is a writer, mechanic and ASE-certified Master Automobile Technician.