Q: I've just experienced a squirrel making a nest behind the windshield washer bottle. With a one-car garage, my car has been the one to sit in either the driveway or on the street for most of the day. This is the first time I've had problems with wildlife. I was lucky that I found it out before the squirrel did much damage. Only the washer hose was cut. What can I use under the hood to discourage a new nest from being started?
H.R., Glenview, Ill.
A: It is that time of year again, when critters try to set up housekeeping under hoods and munch on what is available. Honda claims to have a solution: rodent-resistant tape. Dealers actually sell this at their parts departments. You can also find it online and in some retail stores. Looking like regular electrical tape, but with rodent icons on it, the tape is impregnated with capsaicin — the chemical that makes chili peppers hot. Allegedly, rodents don't care for it as much as we chili-heads. Although we have not had occasion to try it, plastic wiring loom covers may also be a deterrent. If you must replace your wiring or hoses, it may be covered under your comprehensive auto insurance plan.
Q: We have a 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan. A major concern has developed. At least four times the front windows have been found open after the car was locked. Yesterday, after just exiting and locking the car, we watched as those windows opened simultaneously. How can this happen? Is this uncommon problem easy to fix?
G.S., Crystal Lake, Ill.
A: Have you ever heard the expression, "It's not a bug, it's a feature"? Many makes and models, including your Grand Caravan, have the remote window open feature. It is really cool on a hot summer day. Press the unlock button on your remote and then press and hold the unlock button again to open the windows. Since you watched your windows open after locking the car, there may be a problem with the key fob's unlock button. It may be sticking and could require replacement. Lots of cars have this feature. See your owner's manual for availability.
Q: Our 2007 CRV's A/C began blowing warm air. Our Honda dealer detected the refrigerant level to be low at 7 oz. It holds 17.3 oz. A dye charge was performed and the leak was not detected. I returned one month later when warm air blew through the A/C and I was informed the clutch needed replacing. It was mentioned if the compressor stopped working at a later date the labor would be 2½ hours for that job and it may be beneficial to replace the clutch and compressor together to save labor costs. The mechanic manually adjusted the clutch and the A/C is working. He said that it may last a day, a week, or a month. Your thoughts?
S.S., Orland Park, Ill.
A: The clutch adjustment may be all you needed. We suggest that you keep driving the car until the air conditioner quits again, which may not happen soon. Until then, keep your money in your own pocket.
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 also appears in automotive trade publications, Consumer Guide and Consumers Digest Send automotive questions along with name and town to motormouth.tribverizon.net.