Motormouth: Stop-start feature steams driver, who is advised to chill
Q: I just traded in a 2014 Chevy Cruze and leased a 2017 Malibu. I didn't realize that the vehicle was equipped with auto stop/start until after I took delivery. I am retired and drive maybe 50 miles per week in and around Fort Lauderdale so the stop/start feature has really become annoying. Sitting at stoplights only to have the A/C shut down is just plain crazy. The dealer says there is no way to turn this feature off. Any thoughts on this — A.C., Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
A: Has the dealership salesman read the owner's manual? Have you read your owner's manual? If you want to prevent the engine from auto-stopping while the air conditioning is needed, press the A/C button twice to get out of the econ mode. Also, the automatic stop/start feature will not work if the transmission is in anything but drive. Shifting to park will keep the engine running. Chill, dude.
Q: In regards to the older 2001 Buick having a hard-starting issue when warm, many GM cars have problems with the fuel pressure regulator leaking down. It can happen on cold or warm starts. A service tech can check the vacuum hose leading to the regulator, and if it shows signs of fuel or its odor, that is the starting problem. I have retired as a service tech for GM, and have seen countless regulators go bad. A good tech never throws parts on a car, hoping to correct it. Diagnosis takes time, as you will agree. Love your column — B.L., Tinley Park, Ill.
A: Thanks for writing. You are absolutely right about the fuel pressure regulator. Fuel leaks past the internal diaphragm, goes through the vacuum hose attached to the regulator, and collects in the engine's intake manifold. Diagnosis is super simple, as you pointed out.
Q: I'm driving a 2000 Honda CR-V. It's a nice car, old but very reliable. Coming back from a chili cook-off with my friend, the great chili-maker Bill, we had to hit the brakes when a car ran a stoplight. We're both OK, but in stopping some of our remaining chili spilled on the back seat. We were able to scrape most of it off the seat and put it back in the pot, so we didn't lose very much. My question is how do I get the stain out of the back seat — S.R., Cary, Ill.
A: One must select the solvent carefully. Chili is a concoction that is both water-based and fat-based, making the choice difficult. Personally, we would moisten the area with beer. A hoppy IPA would be ideal. Give it time to absorb. We suggest sipping one of the ales while you wait. Then, gently scrape with the side of a spoon, being careful to save any solids in a proper vessel. A red Solo cup works well. If this method is unsuccessful, we suggest contacting Heloise atwww.heloise.com.
Q: My Nissan dealer is strongly recommending a fuel induction service for my 2011 Altima (30,000 miles). The charge is rather expensive and I don't see this in the owner's manual. I had a different service manager my last visit and, off the record, he said he wouldn't recommend it to me. Any comments? — N.G., Lemont, Ill.
A: Yeah, we predict that the new service writer won't be working there the next time you visit if his boss finds out. We also feel that, while the service may have some benefit, you do not need to agree to it.