Q: Your recent comment that "cars are coming with no AM [radio]" provides the opportunity to remind readers that there's an effort in Congress to prevent that from happening. And for good reason: AM radio plays a critical role in the Emergency Alert System. Ford has reversed its decision to remove AM radio from their 2024 vehicles but has yet to commit beyond 2024, giving even more reason for the bill's passage.
A: Ford deserves credit for offering AM, even in its all-electric Mustang Mach-E. Bills in both the U.S. House and Senate would require AM to be available in automobiles.
Q: I own a 2019 Mercedes E300 that I store for the winter. I want to put it on a battery maintenance charger. What is the correct amp amount?
A: If you use a battery maintainer, a unit that's able to float the charge, you needn't choose an amperage. It will sense the battery's need and charge as necessary. Don't use a battery charger that requires you to select the amps. It will cook your battery over the winter.
Too much data
Q: I have a 2017 Ford Flex Limited. No matter where I am driving, my fuel average gauge almost always shows 15.9 to 16.2 mpg. On a road trip, it was up to 19.6, but immediately returned to the usual range. What's causing this?
A: Do you zero the fuel economy data before setting out on a trip? If not, it will keep averaging your fuel economy with all the past miles.
Q: We relocated from Illinois to Arizona. With summer pavement temperatures reaching 150 degrees, how much of an impact does this have on my tires, and what can I do to minimize excessive wear?
A: The heat takes its toll on tires. Winter tires, made of softer compounds, wear quicker in summer than do summer or all-season tires. The best thing you can do is keep your tires inflated to the carmaker's recommendation as found on the driver's side door pillar. Overinflation does not help, and underinflation is unsafe.
Check the battery
Q: Regarding a recent article about a Chevy Malibu stop/start not working, I have a 2019 Chevy Cruze with stop/start, which stopped working when it was about three years old. The Chevy dealer diagnosed it as a weak battery. They replaced the battery, and stop/start worked fine after that. The technology requires a full battery charge because the battery must handle the starting of the engine over and over.
A: Good point and worth reminding readers. When the battery gets low, the stop/start feature is disabled to allow available power to be routed to more vital circuits.
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.