Q: When the phone in my Honda CR-V is connected to Bluetooth and I make a call, it produces a loud buzzing noise that is heard only by the receiver of the call. I don't hear it. Any idea on what is causing this? I asked my Honda service person, and he said that if I disconnect the phone and reconnect it again, it should stop. It did for a very short time but quickly came back again. It's a concern to me that I can't make calls when I need to.
A: There is an issue with the vehicle's microphone, and Honda is aware of this. It was a common problem with the CR-V and Civic equipped with the Hand Free Link (Bluetooth) system. The fix is to replace the microphone inside the map light assembly on the ceiling. There is a technical service bulletin that your dealer should look up.
Give brakes a break
Q: I was surprised by your answer recommending engaging the parking brake every time before placing the shifter in park. I always was told to use the parking brake only when parking on a steep incline. Checking the internet, that turns out not to be true. Why is use of the parking brake not promoted properly by car dealers and driver's training instructors?
A: Although more cars are equipped with electric parking brakes, for which this is not an issue, others still have a cable system. Regular use keeps the cables free of corrosion. If you have never used the parking brakes and apply them, the cables may freeze, preventing the brakes from being released.
Worth the extra cost
Q: I recently purchased a 2014 Mercedes-Benz SL550. The manual says to use premium gas. With an eye toward saving money, I read that regular gas can be used in vehicles that supposedly require premium, resulting in only a slight reduction in performance. Can you provide any insight or recommendations for this issue?
A: All Mercedes-Benz cars require premium (91 octane or higher) fuel. They have high-compression engines. Using a lower octane fuel in high-compression engines can cause pre-ignition (ping). Using a lower octane fuel also might cause the check engine light to come on.
A reflection of the times
Q: As pickups get bigger and wider, their side mirrors have become the size of wheel covers and stick out 2 feet from the A pillar. You could mow down pedestrians waiting at a corner to cross the street. Is there a regulation that applies to these mirrors?
A: I know of no regulation. Yes, pickup truck mirrors have grown. Many trucks now arrive from the factory with a towing package that includes larger mirrors. If you have ever towed a trailer, you know that big mirrors help. For owners living on narrow streets, those humongous mirrors can be folded in.
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.