Q: I have a 2014 Chevy Malibu with the start/stop technology. A couple of months ago I noticed (happily) the start/stop wasn't working. Have you ever heard that the start/stop wears out over time? Should I be concerned or happy?
A: Although many cars have a switch to disable this feature, your Malibu is not one of them, so that's not the issue. But anything can (and likely will) stop working over time. If you didn't like the feature in the first place, be happy.
Q: I have a first-generation Tacoma, and it's time for new tires. I'm riding all-seasons, but I think they're too slippery in the winter. My auto shop wants to sell me all-terrains, but I want to get a set of all-seasons and a set of snow tires — I already have an extra set of rims. The guy at the shop said that all-terrains grip better than snow tires in the winter. What's your opinion?
A: I am afraid the person at your shop is misinformed. Winter tires perform better than all-season tires in bad weather. I learned this firsthand. I drove two identical cars on a hockey rink at an event hosted by Tire Rack. The all-season tires took longer to get going when the flag was dropped and took longer to stop at the finish line.
Skip the plastic
Q: I have a 2015 Dodge Durango Citadel with a 3.6-liter engine and 75,000 miles. I was told the oil cooler was starting to leak a little and probably will need replacing. I have heard this is an issue with the 3.6-liter engine because the housing is plastic. If I have to replace the oil cooler, should I replace it with another plastic oil cooler or an aftermarket all-aluminum one? The price is roughly the same.
A: Go for the metal. Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts are good, but aftermarket companies often make improvements.
Q: A letter writer recently noted that his wife had difficulty seeing approaching cars on the driver's side, especially as she merges onto highways. I tried a trick I read about years ago. I turn the side mirrors out more, giving me greater side vision of vehicles coming up on the side. As a vehicle approaches from the rear, I see it in the rearview mirror. As it gets closer, it transitions to the side-view mirror.
A: The key is to adjust the mirror to the point that no portion of your own car is visible. I have used this hack from time to time, but found the sight of guardrails flashing by in my peripheral vision disturbing. Needless to say, blind-spot warning sensors are a game-changer.
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.