Q: We have a 2006 low-mileage Mercedes-Benz. The car doesn’t have a backup camera. Can you recommend anything to help us out in finding something to install to solve the problem?
A: There are many add-on backup cameras. Some come with a small monitor that you place on the dash, but you might have to route a wire to the front of the vehicle. There also are wireless systems that can use your smartphone. Shop online.
Q: Now that we are storing our winter gear, let me share something I learned the hard way. I have been using brass-bladed windshield scrapers for years. They work great, but brass is relatively soft, and if you get a nick in the blade, it can damage the glass. I have several small scratches in my windshield because the blade got banged around when I was sloppy taking care of it.
A: I agree that it’s probably not a good idea to keep your scrapers in the same drawer as your hammer collection.
Q: I can’t get the hands-free phone feature on my 2018 Subaru Outback to work. I tried pairing my flip phone to the car but was unsuccessful. Because my phone was an older model, I purchased a new one. That doesn’t work, either, but it does work on my wife’s 2016 Forester. Frequent inquiries to Subaru, Consumer Cellular and the phone manufacturer have not produced a solution.
We tried installation on several 2018 Outbacks in the dealer’s lot, and it didn’t work on them, either. We tried it on a 2019 model in the showroom, and it worked fine. It seems to be a software issue that nobody knows how to — or doesn’t want to — fix.
I still have a lot of payments left on my Outback. What now?
A: You have exhausted all the typical sources for help, which means that I must be your last resort. The only thing I can suggest is that you resort to using the speaker feature on your phone for hands-free conversation.
Q: A recent letter complained about the difficulty in finding a new vehicle that includes a CD player. When I encountered this, I went to Best Buy and had them replace the factory stereo with a system that has a CD player built into it. It was under $200, looks great and sounds much better than the stock one, too.
A: This works if your car has a traditional stereo, but if your car features a touch screen, a replacement radio isn’t an option. But most new cars have a USB port, so you can copy CDs to a flash drive and listen to them that way. I also copied my collection to my smartphone, which I then paired via Bluetooth with the sound system in the car.
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.