Q: I own a 2021 Tesla Model S, and I invested $1,500 on the Tesla home charger (installation costs included). Almost all my charging needs are met with my home charger. I am considering replacing my other vehicle with another EV, but not a Tesla. When asking GM and Tesla whether there is an adapter to charge a non-Tesla with my Tesla home charger, no one has been able to confirm whether this is an option. Can you assist?
A: Every Tesla model comes with an SAE J1772 adapter to enable charging at standard charging stations, but the opposite adapter is not included. However, there are adapters that can plug into a Tesla charger like yours and then plug into cars like a Nissan Leaf or Chevy Bolt. Although they may cost about $200, you don't have to install another charger at home, and you can use a Tesla charger wherever you find one. The only brand that I know of is Lectron. One caveat: You won't be able to use a Tesla Supercharger.
Handle the problem
Q: I have a 2018 Toyota RAV4. I noticed what looks like a chip in the top of the chrome driver's door handle. I called a body shop and was told that it could start peeling and would only get worse. I was quoted over $400 to replace the handle. I am a senior and can't spare that much, but it makes me crazy every time I go to get in. What can I do?
A: If you only need the handle, that quote seems high. But if you need the whole system (linkage, etc.), it seems about right. If this is just a cosmetic issue, you might find a door handle cover for under $50. Call your dealership parts department.
Q: I have a Toyota Highlander and from time to time I transport items that block the rearview mirror. Is there any way to utilize the backup camera other than when using reverse?
A: The backup camera is activated when you shift into reverse. Period. So that's not going to work. Look into getting mirrors designed for towing. They stick out farther and provide a better view of what's behind you. If you don't care for mirrors that make your ride look like Mickey Mouse, check out clip-on trailer mirrors, which you can remove for everyday driving.
Go by the book
Q: I have a 2002 Volvo S60 that I have meticulously maintained. Regarding a coolant flush, the manual states: "Normally the coolant does not need to be changed." Should I now have the coolant changed or just follow the guidance in the manual? A GM engineer once told me years ago that coolant can retain its antifreeze capability for years but the anti-corrosion inhibitors degrade over time and that can lead to a radiator failure. He recommended periodically draining a portion of coolant and replacing with fresh coolant to refresh the corrosion properties.
A: The engineer was right — back in the day. Today's coolants are much different and can last up to five years/150,000 miles or more. Many cars use organic acid technology (OAT) coolant, introduced by GM in 1995, as DEX-COOL, the first extended-life product. Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and other European cars use a special silicate-boosted coolant. Unless you drive under severe conditions, your owner's manual will not steer you wrong.
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.