Q I have a 2019 Lincoln MKC and I’m hearing a squeaking sound which appears to be coming from the passenger-side dashboard. Any thoughts?
A. There are no specific technical service bulletins that address this issue. There is one for a whistle and one about the seat creaking, but not a dash rattle. At this point all you can do is take the car for a ride with a technician and demonstrate the noise. Depending on how far they need to go, it could get expensive if the dash needs to be removed. One possibility is that if the cabin air filter was replaced, perhaps everything wasn’t installed correctly. Without hearing the noise, that is the first place I would look.
Q I have a gasoline question. Four years ago, I purchased an expensive lawn mower from the local home improvement store. Recently it wouldn’t run. I took it to a small engine shop, and they told me the engine is junk because I have been using E-85 gasoline. Is this true and what should I do with my next mower?
A. It is unlikely that you were using E-85 gasoline (85 percent ethanol alcohol and 15 percent gasoline). If you were using this fuel, yes, it could damage the engine. More likely than you are using regular pump gasoline (10 percent ethanol) and it shouldn’t damage the engine. Now of course like all power equipment there are precautions you need to take when storing equipment seasonally. In some parts of the country, you can buy recreational fuel that contains no ethanol, and some equipment stores sell one- and five-gallon cans of alcohol-free fuel. As always, check the owner’s manual for recommendations. I checked Honda and Briggs and Stratton, and both stated to use 87 octane fuel with an alcohol content not greater than 10 percent. The other option, depending on the size of your property, is a battery-powered mower. This way you would never need to worry about seasonal storage and fuel.
Q My 2001 Jeep Cherokee with 325,000 miles has two problems. The first is the electric door locks for all four doors work intermittently. I had the main switch replaced and it didn’t fix the problem. The second problem is the battery went completely dead. The battery is less than two years old, and I jump started it and drove it around. The battery ended up dead again the next day. I took the battery to the local NAPA store and had it charged up and the battery tested good. It sat for four days, and the battery was completely dead again. No lights were left on. What is wrong?
A. Someone needs to perform a parasitic draw test to look for the circuit that is staying on and draining the battery. Some common areas are the alternator, fuel pump, power seat controls, and even the glove compartment light. The door lock issue could also be related. A common issue with intermittent operation of door locks is a broken wire at the door hinge. This wiring issue could also be causing a short circuit and discharging the battery.
Q My late father and I have always loved and had vintage cars. I have driven a 1919 Model T touring, a 1956 Desoto, a 1959 Impala, a Nash, a 1967 Chevy Impala SS 427, and many more. Now I hear our government is changing the gasoline from 10 to 15 percent ethanol gasoline. Isn’t that gasoline dangerous to vintage cars?
A. There are several issues with older vehicles and higher content alcohol fuels. The higher alcohol fuels tend to clean out any accumulated dirt and debris and that debris can clog the fuel system. You are also correct that antique cars with original fuel lines tend to deteriorate when exposed to alcohol. Where I have seen E-15 sold as 88 octane fuel, the gasoline is labeled at the pump as E15 and uses a separate nozzle, like diesel. E15 gasoline is not just a problem for classic cars but many newer cars and recreational vehicles, marine engines, and power equipment. It is confusing, although realistically most vehicles sold since 2001 should run fine on E-15 gasoline. Still, many newer vehicle owner’s manuals warn against using any fuel with higher than 10 percent ethanol.
John Paul is AAA Northeast’s Car Doctor. He has over 40 years of experience in the automotive business and is an ASE-certified master technician. Email your car question to [email protected] Listen to the Car Doctor podcast at johnfpaul.podbean.com.
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