Q: About 10,000 baby boomers a day reach, as I once did, the age of 65.
When looking for a replacement for my 2008 Trail Blazer, I found the many crossovers available today that look like an elephant sat on them, and they can't even fit a replacement water heater in them. The full-size SUVs will not fit in my garage, and the high-tech features are a crock. Keyless entry and start buttons. Wow. Seniors do not want this crap. I, for one, do not even own a cellphone, and I never will.
There are over 40 million baby boomer seniors out there. Are any car manufacturers building any vehicles without all this high-tech stuff? I can really see the dumbing down of today's drivers, especially the millennials, with self-parking cars, pedestrian avoidance systems, collision avoidance systems, etc. When we (seniors) learned to drive, we paid attention when driving. We learned how to parallel park, stayed in our lane, and watched for pedestrians. It seems that these millennials are too busy with their cellphones, sound systems, navigation systems and the internet to be bothered with actually driving.
C.P., Elmhurst, Ill.
A: We agree that driver distractions abound and that, perhaps, the sense of a cocoon of safety surrounds today's drivers. It will get worse, or better, depending on your point of view. Today's cars are already semi-autonomous, as you have pointed out. Soon vehicles will be communicating with one another and with the infrastructure surrounding the roads. Ultimately, the driver will be removed from the equation. But when that happens, it will take decades to replace the current fleet of dumb cars out there.
How far back should we regress? Should we eliminate safety glass, air bags or seat belts? How about dumping electric locks and power windows so we can crank them open if the battery dies? Would you give up the heater? How about the air conditioner? What if we get rid of the battery and charging system? We could return to magneto ignition and acetylene headlights. And we would have the particular pleasure of hand-cranking the engine if we deep-six the electric starter. Maybe we could revert to the horse and buggy days when emissions could be scooped up and spread on the garden.
Q: My 2004 Honda CR-V recently got a brand-new front axle. I started hearing an annoying noise when I turn right. This noise comes from the left front tire area. There is no noise if the tire wheel is turned left. There was no noise before or with old front axle. Two mechanics have looked at the bottom left front area. They cannot pinpoint the cause of the problem. Is the front axle faulty? Has another problem surfaced?
H.D., Streamwood, Ill.
A: What you describe is the classic sound of a bad wheel bearing and it is on the left side. When you turn right, most of the cornering forces are then directed to the left wheel. The right wheel is, more or less, going along for the ride. For best results, we suggest replacing the hub and bearing assembly.
Bob Weber is a writer and mechanic who became an ASE-certified Master Automobile Technician in 1976. He maintains this status by seeking certification every five years. Weber's work appears in professional trade magazines and other consumer publications. His writing also appears in automotive trade publications, Consumer Guide and Consumers Digest. Send automotive questions along with name and town to motormouth.tribverizon.net.