Q. I have seen the Honda Odyssey mini-van and really like it. It seems to have all the features I have been looking for in a van, but I’m wondering if you think it is worth the extra cost as compared to others?
A. Overall Honda vehicles have a reputation of being some of the most well engineered vehicles built. This past year I drove the Odyssey and found that it road well, delivered decent fuel economy and plenty of seating flexibility. One novel feature that everyone who looked at the van loved was the built in vacuum cleaner. Considering how well Honda products hold their value, I would not hesitate to pay what looks like a premium price when compared to the competition for the Odyssey mini-van.
Q. I am having trouble finding a garage around that will be able to service my V-8 powered 1965 Falcon convertible. It’s in nice shape but it has carburetor problem that has stymied the two shops that have looked at it. I think that the mechanics today are too young and don’t know how to work on old cars. Do you have any ideas?
A. Carburetor specialists have gone the way of curb feelers and cassette players. One place to try is a marina. Many boats still use carburetors and the technicians are usually quite good at getting them squared away. You may need to have your local shop remove the carburetor for rebuilding. You could also go to one of the many car shows this summer and ask around for a shop that works on old cars.
Q. My son has recently joined the military and I will be storing his car. What do I need to do to keep it in good condition while he is gone?
A. The best thing you can do is actually drive the car once a month for about 30 to 45 minutes. Lack of use is in some cases worse for a car than abusing it. If this isn’t possible, the following will help. Change the oil and filter. When this service is being performed let the garage know the car will be sitting, and ask the technician to lubricate any rubber bushings with silicone spray. At the same time, lubricate any cables, locks and hinges. Top off all other fluids, including the engine coolant. The coolant should be clean and have the ability to protect the engine to at least 30 degrees below zero. Tire pressure should be checked. Fill the gas tank and add a gas stabilizer: StaBil is one brand. And buy a battery charger that will maintain the battery such as the Battery Tender. These chargers stay plugged in all the time to maintain the battery’s overall condition. If this isn’t possible, remove the battery, store it out of the weather, and periodically recharge it. Wash and wax the car and consider a car cover–even if it’s indoors. On hot days, open the windows slightly to let the car breathe. Put in moisture absorbent packs to eliminate dampness. Finally, if you have critters around, seal up the tail pipe and air intake (aluminum foil or steel wool works well) to prevent nesting. When you son comes home and is ready to drive his car, start it and let it warm up completely. Shift the car through all the gears to exercise the transmission. Take the car for a ride, and drive it as if it were brand new – nice and easy. Have the oil changed again, and perform the normal safety and maintenance checks.
Q. My new 2014 Buick is a good car, but has a problem. When I am driving at night with the lights on, to the left bottom side of the speedometer there are blue and green blurbs of light that bounce around in the panel next to the speedometer. I know it’s not my eyes – only this car has the problem. I have left it with the dealer for several days and they claim there is no problem. It is like I have dancing bugs in the dash, what is your opinion?
A. I would ask the dealer if you can road test the same type of car at night. If the lights are not present, then the light and reflections are a problem with your car. If the lights are present in a different car then it is a characteristic and most likely can’t be repaired.