Q: I own a 2014 Toyota Camry XLS equipped with a smart key starting system. I occasionally couldn't start the car. My mechanic as well as a Toyota service manager suggested changing the battery in the remote control. This worked for a few days. They also suggested holding the remote key fob next to the ignition switch on the dash. This seems to work. But last week the remote wouldn't open the doors or turn on the interior lights. The Toyota service manager suggested I bring the car in, and it might take a day for a mechanic to solve the problem. I don't want to pay a lot of money for someone to fix what I might be able to replace or fix for less money. Do you have any suggestions?
A: The cheapest thing to try is another, new 2032 (the most popular) remote control battery. Your previous replacement might be bad. The price is about $6.
Q: In a recent column, you said that the intake valves on direct injection engines only see fresh air. Isn't it true that the PCV system is piped into the intake manifold? I bring this up only to point out that there are lots of videos online promoting the use of oil catch cans to prevent an excessive amount of contaminants from reaching the intake valves through the system.
A: Granted, the air isn't pristine as it passes the intake valves. But I didn't want my answer to go too deep on a technical tangent about the valves' propensity to crud up due to positive crankcase ventilation (PCV). Yes, it does happen, but neither a gasoline additive such as Techron, nor Top Tier gasoline will prevent intake valve buildup on direct injection engines. That is what the question was about.
Q: I have a 2016 Subaru Forester. I'm getting older and sometimes don't turn off my turn signals (don't/can't hear it) after changing lanes. Changing lanes doesn't activate the automatic shutoff for the signal like a full turn does. Do they make a replacement turn signal device that has a louder clicking sound?
A: I am not aware of an aftermarket turn signal amplifier. But try this: Press lightly on the turn signal handle, not hard enough to pass the tactile pop. The signals will flash until you release the handle.
Q: My employee was sitting in the truck with the A/C running, and I told him it was wasting gas. He said that if you don't put your foot on the pedal, you are not using any extra gas. Is that true?
A: Anytime the engine is running, you are using gas. By running any accessory — even the heater — you are using more.
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.