Q: Are there any cars that have a front bench seat anymore? I'm looking for a late-model used sedan that can accommodate six passengers. Do any of the auto manufacturers make any?
B.G., Burbank, Ill.
A: To the best of my knowledge, the 2013 Chevy Impala was the last car to offer a front bench seat. Many pickup trucks still offer them, though.
Q: I grew up back in the day when oil was changed every 3,000 miles and the tires were rotated every other oil change. Now that cars can go 5,000 to 7,500 miles before an oil change, when should tires be rotated?
Thanks for the information in your column. I love passing on articles to my deployed Marine who is in the Motor T [transportation specialty].
D.B., Lombard, Ill.
A: The more often you rotate your tires, the more evenly they wear. When it comes time to replace them, you will install four matching hoops. That's good. Rotating your tires at every oil change would be ideal, but every second oil change is OK. Semper Fi.
Q: Randomly, my 2014 Camry tells me beep-beep. Originally thought it might be coming from my phone, but it has happened when the phone was not present. No other indications of a problem, just the sound. I did call a Toyota service manager, but did not ring any bells. Any ideas?
A: Check the back seat or trunk for a roadrunner. If you don't find one, see if he left any evidence such as an Acme brand anvil or dynamite. Finding a coyote (wearing Acme powered roller skates) is a sure sign of trouble.
Q: My husband and I have a dispute and we need some professional intervention. My husband drives a Porsche Cayenne with individual area climate controls. He likes to use the auto function set at a particular temperature and I enjoy the lowest setting with the fan on low — always. My husband is certain that his compressor is being damaged from overuse because I constantly use the lowest temperature. You are our voice of reason. Am I damaging the compressor from overuse?
A: No, the compressor will not be damaged by overuse. In fact, we have seen compressors fail from lack of use due to lack of lubrication. Compressors have no sump, or oil pan. Oil tags along with the refrigerant as it courses through the system and that is how the compressor stays healthy.
Q: I have a Toyota Camry with 34,750 miles. It was blowing blue smoke every time I started it. The dealer informed me that it needed valve guides. I was surprised since the car has such low mileage, but the service manager said it is due to the car's age. The repair cost over $650.
A: Age is less of a factor for hard engine parts other than soft engine parts like gaskets and seals. For $650, we believe they will replace the valve guide seals, not the guides themselves. There is no way to predict when other such parts will wear out, but driving the car regularly seems to keep those soft parts in better shape since they are constantly bathed in oil.
Bob Weber is a writer, mechanic and ASE-certified Master Automobile Technician.
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