Q: We have a 2021 Ford Mustang Mach E and have a question regarding remote charging stations. Many of the charging stations located in shopping center parking lots say, "Tesla cars only." I realize that most of these units were installed when only Teslas were on the road. Would charging our Mustang Mach E at the Tesla charging units cause any damage to our car?
A: Currently, (pun intended), only Tesla owners can use the Superchargers, which not only gives incentive for people to buy Tesla vehicles, but avoids backups of cars waiting to use them. However, in July Elon Musk reportedly said that the chargers will become available to all electric car owners. It is expected that the rollout will begin in Europe.
Steer clear of trouble
Q: I am getting ready to give up driving, I am faced with a dilemma. I am 93 and have a 1999 Toyota Sienna with low mileage, and it's rust-free. But it sits in my driveway with a power steering leak. I tried to stop the leak to no avail. It cannot be driven this way, so what is my best way to get it fixed or sold?
A: Most power steering leaks are not severe enough to prevent driving to a repair shop. Leaks from the rack-and-pinion steering unit are common and might cost around $500 to fix. But the leak could be as simple as a bad hose, which would cost much less. If repairs do not fit your budget, tell the potential buyer about the leak.
A little at a time
Q: I recently bought a 2018 Chevy Equinox equipped with "auto stop." I have a couple questions: Does it really save that much fuel? And does it add significant wear and tear to the starter?
A: In terms of all the gas your car uses during its life, the fuel savings aren't that great. But if a million cars save even a little, it makes a significant difference to the cleanliness of the air. So far, no significant wear to the starters has been reported.
Q: In 1978, I bought the first-year model of the Dodge Omni. The dealer pointed out the amber direction signals in the rear and said that soon all cars would have them. I had previously owned a 1970 Volvo, so I thought they were a great step forward for American cars. Why didn't the universal change to amber lights happen? Did they fall victim to the designers or accountants? Amber direction signals, appropriately placed, should be the law.
A: Amber rear signals are required in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, South Africa and most of South America, but not in the United States. I am not sure why, but I have a hunch that there hasn't been data to prove that amber lenses are safer. Anecdotal evidence does not cut it for making laws about safety issues.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.