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Q: I have a 2013 Honda Accord. During my last car service, it was recommended that I get a CV half-shaft replacement. The estimated repair cost was $1,173. I am having no problems with my car. I am concerned that the dealer is trying to get me to do a repair that is not needed.

A: Constant velocity (CV) joints are a type of universal joint that allows the shaft to move in two (sometimes three) planes. Before laying out any money to replace it, I would ask for proof of the need. Most often, the issue is a torn rubber boot covering the CV joint, and a replacement boot might be all you need.

All or nothing

Q: I have a 2001 Ford Crown Victoria with 300,000 miles. It consumes oil at about one quart per 800 miles. My practice has been to add oil as needed. Because I end up replacing the oil before it ever turns dark, would it be OK just to change the filter and not the oil at regular intervals?

A: Let me answer that by asking you a question: Are you the kind of guy who changes only half the bath water?

Chew on this

Q: What can I use to deter squirrels from chewing my engine's hoses and wiring? I have two Toyotas, and the critters are destroying them. I already had to take one to the dealership for service.

A: The only solution that I have tested is using Honda Rodent Tape — yes, it works on Toyotas, too — to wrap the wires. If there's not a Honda dealer near you, it is available online. Other brands are becoming available, but we have not tried them. Another alternative I have not tried is sleeves or conduit that slips over the wire. A third alternative is to remove the kids' bikes and other stuff from the garage so you can park inside.

Playing possum

Q: I opened my hood this morning to put my trickle charger on and there was a face looking at me. Do possums eat wires like mice do? I searched the internet but couldn't find much information.

A: Possums are not rodents like mice and squirrels, and I have not heard of them damaging stuff under the hood. If someone has had a different experience, let me know.

Pedal power

Q: We own a 2014 Honda Accord with 50,000 miles. Every now and then it will not start unless we pump the brake several times first. We have taken it to the Honda dealer several times, but they have been unable to correct this problem. They offered to replace the starter for $700 but would not be responsible if that would not correct the problem.

A: The big clue is your pumping of the brake pedal. There is a switch in the brake system that completes the circuit to start the engine when you depress the pedal. The switch might be sticking or failing.

Bob Weber is a writer, mechanic and ASE-certified Master Automobile Technician. His writing has appeared in automotive trade publications, Consumer Guide and Consumers Digest. Send automotive questions along with name and town to