Q: Hoping you can
give me the logic behind lighted dash displays when headlights are
off. When I learned to drive, I was taught to glance at the dash
(looking for gas level was one cue) and, if it was too dark to see
the instruments clearly, I knew to turn on the headlights, which
turned on the dash lights. I see people driving in the evening (and
even at night) oblivious to the fact that their headlights are not
on in no small part because their dash display is brightly lit up
anyway. Flashing my lights at them occasionally gets results but is
mostly ignored. This is a real safety issue. Why is the dash display
illuminated without headlights on?
ó C.H., Chicago
A: The instrument
displays on modern cars are not totally the reflective type of the
past. Much of the cluster is more like a computer monitor or
smartphone with an LCD display rather than mechanical illuminated by
lightbulbs. In short, the driver wonít see very much if the
instrument cluster is not glowing.
Q: I have a 2005 Ford
Explorer maintained by the dealership. It has over 130,000 miles and
the dealership says the injectors should have been cleaned long ago.
They never have and I have no problems. Should I have the dealership
clean them, use an additive or motor on?
ó W.S. Abington,
A: Although you could
just blissfully motor on, it is not a bad idea to have the injectors
cleaned from time to time. That ensures that they properly atomize
the fuel for best performance. Of course, adding some fuel injector
cleaner to the tank from time to time canít hurt. The fact that
you have had no issues tells us that you have been using good
gasoline. We suspect that it has generally been Top Tier stuff.
Q: In May I purchased
a 2015 Ford Escape. The problem I have is that the front suspension
is very loud; when I go over small bumps it sounds like something is
loose. I took it to the dealer and they said there was nothing wrong
with the vehicle. I told them to try going over the rough streets.
Instead they took me for a ride but they went on only newly paved
roads. No noise was heard. I am thinking about going somewhere else,
ó M.M., Beverly,
A: It is a waste of
both your time and the technicianís time if the vehicle is not
test-driven on the offending types of roads. Shame on them. Front
suspension noises on rough roads or speed bumps are often caused by
issues with the sway bar, also called the anti-roll bar or
stabilizer bar. If they look closely, the techs may discover bad
bushings. It is not a life-threatening problem, but it should be
fixed. We would take it somewhere else.