Q: I recently bought
a Garmin DriveSmart GPS. I have a 2013 Subaru Outback. When the
Garmin is mounted on the dashboard, it keeps losing satellite
reception. When it is lying on the passenger seat, it works
perfectly. Garmin support has no answer for me, and neither does the
dealer. I think it has something to do with the windshield. A year
ago I had the windshield replaced with an aftermarket one rather
than an OEM. What do you know about this situation and is there a
solution so that I can mount it on the dashboard? Thanks for your
ó C.H., Chicago
A: We turned to Nik
Frye at Auto Glass Fitters for insight into aftermarket windshields.
Frye said Subaru Outbacks have a heating grid attached to the
underside of the bottom of the windshield. When activated, this grid
heats the wiper park area of the windshield in order to melt ice and
snow off the wipers when they are at rest. His sources agree that it
is most likely the heating grid causing the interference. Try
mounting the GPS directly to the glass, but higher up. And, if your
windshield heater has an on-off switch, be sure to switch it off.
Q: I put synthetic
oil in my 2008 Toyota to stretch the oil changes. But the dealer
says that the 2008 model was not certified (Iím not sure thatís
the term) for synthetic oil and oil should be changed every 5,000
miles. True or false?
ó B.H., Center
A: We have never
heard of a car requiring certification for any oil: synthetic,
conventional or a semisynthetic (combination of both). Synthetic oil
is superior to conventional oil and oxidizes less quickly, reducing
sludge. That is why extended oil changes are permitted. However, we
have heard of owners being denied warranty coverage if they cannot
prove that oil changes were done in compliance with the published
intervals. Your car is well out of warranty.
Q: I have a 2017 Ford
Escape. My two side mirrors look cloudy. If you rub the mirror with
a dry rag or your fingers the cloudiness goes away. It returns by
the next day, repeatedly. The local Ford dealer did not have any
ideas or suggestions. Mirror replacements are $150 plus labor. Any
Could a ghost house
cause a car to stall?
ó R.C., Princeton,
A: Our first guess is
that you park the car in an environment that leaves something on the
mirrors. Moisture, for instance? If you think that new mirrors are
the answer, you can buy replacement glass for a lot less than a
complete mirror assembly for which the dealer may be quoting the
Q: The emissions test
center could not communicate with the engine control module (ECM) on
my 1998 Toyota Camry XLE. I was told that if trouble codes canít
be read I will never get a waiver. I contacted four emissions shops
and one dealer and they canít diagnose it. The ECM and harness are
very expensive. My car runs great and has served me very well. Why
junk a good working car and pollute the grounds of a junkyard?
ó S.W., Arlington
A: We really donít
have any easy idea as to how you can pass the emissions inspection.
But we do have an idea for an alternative. Sell the car. But be sure
the buyer lives outside the area.