Q: I own a 2007
Hyundai Sonata that is in excellent condition with 100,000 miles on
I have been having
this terrible odor in my car, especially strong when I get in it in
the morning, but generally it is always there. I took the car in for
a thorough deep cleaning and even asked them to check under the hood
for any possible dead animal that might have crawled in there, but
they found nothing.
mentioned something about having the A/C filter checked because he
said they can get moldy and cause an odor.
Iíll have that
checked out, but could it be coming from any other source? In the 11
years that Iíve owned the car Iíve never had this problem
ó Y.V., Milwaukee
A: Stinking microbes
in the air conditioner housing are a common source of odors, but
usually in the summer, not the winter. When itís cold, they are
less likely to proliferate.
Many cars now have
cabin air filters that must be changed regularly, and I suggest a
filter with activated charcoal if available.
But if the odor
persists, take your car to an auto detail shop where they have
equipment to eliminate odors.
I would not rule out
a mouse or other critter, though, as the culprit.
Q: Could you please
explain how the temperature gauge works in cars? How can the outside
temperature reading not be affected by traveling at different speeds
on a very hot or cold day?
ó L.S., Chicago
A: Cars report the
outside air temperature via a probe, usually near the front of the
The reading is then
sent to the readout inside the cabin. Notice that we said air
temperature, not wind chill temperature.
Machines are not
affected by the wind, so no matter how fast or slow you go, the
temperature will always be only air temperature.
temperature readings are buffered, though, so that the readings do
not swing so fast as to become confusing.
Q: I purchased a
Subaru Forester in 2014 and drove it for 58,000 miles. It began
using a lot of oil, more than you would expect it to and more than
my 2006 Jeep Liberty with 138,000 miles on it.
I went to the dealer
that I bought it from, and they gave it an oil change and sealed the
engine so I could not tamper with it. They said to drive it for
1,200 miles, bring it back and they would check it. They also told
me it was because I did not use their Subaru filters.
Well, I took it back
and guess what? It passed. So about halfway through the oil change
cycle, I needed a quart of oil.
Is 1,200 miles a real
test or is it a ruse to get me to think that it is normal? I think
they have a problem with the engine and are trying to avoid fixing
ó W.R., Palmerton,
A: As far as car
companies are concerned, one quart of oil every 1,000 is considered
normal. Some engines do better than others, of course.
Keep in mind that
some oil must be consumed during normal operation.
By the way, if a
dealer demands that you use only a Subaru filter, the dealer must
provide it for free, according to federal law. Otherwise you are
free to use the filter of your choice.