motormouth bob weber
Q: Do all Buicks have loud blinkers because they think only people with hearing loss buy a Buick? When I test-drove my 2016 Buick Envision, I fell in love with it, but I heard the blinker and thought, "It's too loud, maybe I shouldn't buy it." Then I figured I'd get used to it. Found out that it does indeed aggravate me so much that I use it only half the time and only if there are other drivers around. Any help for me, or should I say any help for my Envision?
A: In the 1930s, Buick made electrically flashing turn signals standard on some models. Others followed and by the 1950s, flashers became the law. An electric flasher caused the circuit to open and, as it cooled, close again to create the blinking and, as a byproduct, the clicking. Today, many blinkers are computer-controlled and the clicking sound comes from the speakers. Unfortunately, you can't reduce the sound by turning the volume control. Speaking of which, some drivers like to really crank the music so, in their case, that loud turn signal may be a benefit.
Q: Help! My daughter took my car to get gas (as a favor), and put 5 gallons of premium into my 2014 Ford Escape! I had about 4 gallons in the tank at the time. She caught herself, stopped the pump and then added regular gas to fill. The tank holds 15 gallons. I drive about 25 to 30 miles a week, so that gas will be in the tank a while. Is there anything I should do or worry about? Any help you can give me will be much appreciated!
A: Not to worry. Your car is now running on a blend of premium and regular gasoline, commonly called mid-grade on the pump. The only real downside is that your helpful daughter wasted about a buck.
Q: My wife has a 2010 Prius with 35,000 miles on it. We are concerned about when the big battery will die. Can't get a straight answer about whether it's miles driven or time in existence. What's your take?
J.C., Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
A: Anyone who has to replace batteries in a flashlight knows that they do not last forever. However, Prius batteries are warranted for 10 years or 150,000 miles in California-compliance states (which includes an association of six New England states known as the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management, or NESCAUM) and 8 years or 100,000 miles in non-California compliance states. Toyota reports that many cars are going well beyond the warranty period.
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 has appeared in automotive trade publications, Consumer Guide and Consumers Digest. Send automotive questions along with name and town to firstname.lastname@example.org.