Q: I would like to get your opinion on noise pollution on our streets and roads. There was a time in my youth when loud pipes on cycles and vehicles were illegal and the owners were given citations for modifying exhaust systems. Today loud noise is getting worse. Why should a guy having a cold one in his backyard have to listen to his windows rattle because some people are so inconsiderate with loud exhaust?
A: Not only are loud pipes an issue, but booming bass from sound systems can drive you nuts. Yes, there are issues about disturbing the peace, but law enforcement's options are limited. How loud is too loud? The officer's subjective opinion will not hold up in court unless there is some sort of proof.
There are very few ordinances that state a sound level as measured at a standard distance from the tailpipe. Personally, when I'm lounging in the backyard, I like noise-canceling headphones so I can enjoy my music with my cold one.
Q: I can give you a good reason not to skip oil changes. A friend of mine had a car that quit on him. My dad, who had an auto repair shop, towed it into his shop. He found so much gunk in the engine that he had a terrible time cleaning it all out. When he asked my friend when he'd last changed the oil, my friend's reply was, "You mean we're supposed to change oil?" He had never done so in all the time he owned that car.
A: As Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee declared: "Nuff said."
Q: I recently purchased a Dodge Ram 1500 pickup. The check fuel cap indicator light came on after I got gas for the first time. I replaced the cap with a new one, as per my mechanic's suggestion. But after three weeks, the light came back on, this time accompanied by the check engine light. What could be causing this?
A: Although there's an outside chance that the new cap is defective, ask your mechanic to scan the system for trouble codes. Also, check the filler pipe seat for nicks or burrs. There could be a leak in the fuel and emissions system, perhaps in the charcoal canister or its various other components.
Q: I want to pull the battery on my motorcycle and put it on a trickle charger for winter storage. Should I run the charger daily, and, if so, for how long? Second question: Should I overinflate the tires and move the bike around so the tires don't develop a soft spot?
A: Rather than a trickle charger, get a smart battery charger that has a float feature, which prevents overcharging. I suggest a Battery Tender. The company offers one for motorcycles. It has ring terminals that attach to the battery so you can leave the battery on the bike. Put the bike up on its center stand or blocks to avoid tire flat spots.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.