Q: I do my own basic maintenance on my vehicles and always have relied on the owner’s manual. I recently purchased a 2019 Chrysler 300 from a dealer. All I got was a very limited manual. I was told that for the complete manual I would have to download 492 pages off the internet. Is this how all car manufacturers are dealing with owner’s manuals?
A: It is a bit of a hassle to download manuals from the internet, but I have grown to prefer them. You can save the file as a PDF, which is easily searchable using key words. Save this owner’s manual file on a flash drive and toss it in the glove compartment to partner with the little book.
Q: I know all the little tricks to get good gas mileage — or, I thought I did, until now. I purchased a 2017 Honda Ridgeline in October of 2019. I cannot get it to average better than 15.5 to 16.5 miles per gallon in the city. All the things like tire air pressure, clean air filter and a very light foot are taken into account. Any ideas?
A: I looked up the EPA estimate, which is 19 miles per gallon for city driving. Keep in mind that your mileage may vary depending on things like local traffic.
Q: I recently took my 2018 Hyundai Sonata SEL+ to the dealer for routine service. It has about 15,000 miles on it. The technician said my fuel throttle was dirty and recommended a cleaning for about $140. The shop said it is a scheduled maintenance item, but I can’t find any mention of it in the owner’s manual’s recommended maintenance schedules. Is there any real need for this work, or is it yet another addition to the repair shop’s bottom line?
A: A dirty throttle body can affect fuel economy and might contribute to rough idle. But I don’t think a two-year-old vehicle with such low mileage would need such a service.
Fix oil burn
Q: I have a 2011 Honda Ridgeline with 78,000 miles. I’m experiencing a cloud of blue smoke on a cold startup. I checked the oil, and it was down about 1.5 quarts. Doing a little research, the advice was about 50/50 as to address the problem or live with it. I’m interested in your thoughts.
A: Blue smoke after the car has been sitting usually indicates worn valve guides or valve guide seals. Although you might be able to live with it by simply topping off the oil regularly, I recommend fixing the problem, if not for yourself, for the rest of the breathing public.
Take a seat
Q: Decades ago, my cousin had a Chevy Monte Carlo equipped with a driver’s seat that swiveled to facilitate entry and exit. I thought that was so cool! However, they no longer exist. Why not?
A: Swivel seats were terrible in a crash.
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 email@example.com.