Q: You have said to follow the guidelines in the vehicle's owner's manual regardless of dealer service recommendations. What if an independent service technician tells you he would not replace brake fluid on his car, that it's just a dealer thing? My 2007 Honda Odyssey's manual states to replace it every three years, and I'm due now. Should I do it?
A: The dealer has an opinion (suggestion), and your mechanic has an opinion (suggestion). Follow the guidelines in your vehicle's owner's manual. After all, who knows better than the company that built the car?
Slow but steady
Q: I wonder why plug-in electric cars don't have a small charger built into the car so you do not have to depend on an external charger. We have a cabin in northern Minnesota where we don't want to install a separate charger but easily could plug the car into a regular outside outlet. To whom should I suggest this?
A: The carmakers have beat you to it. Electric vehicles (EV) sold today include a portable charger that you can plug into a standard 110-volt household outlet. It's slower; it takes about eight hours of charging to go 40 miles. But that's not all bad — if you have a long drive home from the cabin, just plan to spend a few extra days fishing to make sure the car is fully charged.
Don't thwart VCM
Q: I have a question about my 2019 Pilot Elite. I read in some Honda Pilot blogs about the long-term benefits of disabling the VCM (variable cylinder management system). The blogs say that the VCM causes premature wear on some cylinders and other engine parts. Do you think it is advisable to disconnect the VCM?
A: I would leave the VCM system alone. The technology, which shuts down some cylinders when they are not needed, has been around since the 1980s, when it was created to save gas. In addition to Honda, Chrysler and GM also have been offering it for years with no pattern failures. There is no unnecessary wear on the disabled cylinders because lubrication of them continues normally.
Only a temporary fix
Q: Concerning the reader whose Corolla had an evap emission issue, I had a similar problem with my Camry. It turned out there was corrosion on the gas filler pipe that kept the O-ring on the gas cap from sealing. A new gas cap would fix the problem temporarily, but eventually the new ring would wear out and the trouble recurred. The fix was a new pipe from the filler to the tank.
A: Good point. I also have seen filler necks with nicks that cause the same problem. I polished them with crocus cloth. It often worked and is cheaper than a new pipe. Just be sure to stick a rag in the neck before you start buffing so no junk falls into the tank.
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 email@example.com.