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Motormouth: Mice in the car

Bob Weber, Tribune News Service on

Published in Business News

Q: We have a 2018 Chrysler Pacifica minivan. It is parked inside where there are mice. Within the last two weeks we have found evidence of mice in the cabin. No serious damage to date, just tissue and the like destroyed. I changed the cabin air filter thinking they were gaining access there but there was no evidence. We had the in-dash computer replaced this past year and some work done on the stow-and-go rear seats. Could there be openings where the wiring harnesses pass through the firewall or other locations? Any other suggestions on where to look? I certainly do not want them damaging wiring or, worse, crawling up my leg while I am driving!

B.S., Hennepin, Illinois

A: As Jinks the cat used to say on the old "Huckleberry Hound" cartoon show, “I hate meeces to pieces.” Mice can squeeze through a hole a quarter-inch in diameter. That’s about the size of a No. 2 pencil. Finding a leak that small isn’t easy. Professional technicians use an ultrasound detector that picks up the frequency of leaking air from window or door seals. Check with your local shop or car dealer.

Q: I wish car makers would fit two sun visors on the driver's side: one for the windshield and one for the driver's side window. On a road with twists and turns, you're constantly changing the sun visor from one side to the other, which is distracting at best, and even dangerous at worst. One hand on the wheel, one hand switching the visor, and the blazing sun shining right in your face is not a good situation to deal with. In these days of all the high tech stuff we have on cars, it seems an extra sun visor on the driver's side window would be a simple and prudent feature to offer. What do you think?

D.P., Spring Grove, Illinois

A: Although some luxury cars have both front and side sun visors, there are aftermarket accessories that do the job for a lot less than trading up to a Bentley. Those “baby on board” shades come to mind. Check around at your local auto parts store or a big box variety store’s automotive section. Solutions vary from folding fabric shades to ones that resemble Venetian blinds. I have used static-cling, neutral density plastic film a few times. Warning: Don’t roll the window down with an accessory shade in place.

Q: I have a 2017 RAV4 hybrid with radar-controlled cruise control that automatically adjusts speed based on traffic. If I have the cruise set at 70, and traffic starts to slow, the radar detects the change and the car slows. My question is do the brake lights go on in this situation?

 

B.P., Park Ridge, Illinois

A: Yes, the brake lights come on if the cruise control system kicks in for deceleration.

Q: Regarding the reader with a 128 GB thumb drive that won't play in the 2019 Hyundai, I ran into a similar situation with a 128 GB drive on my 2020 Nissan Rogue. Only a 64 GB or smaller drive can be read by the system. I have no idea why the size of the drive would matter.

S.D., Andover, Minnesota

A: Hmm. I guess size does matter. I haven’t heard of this this, but it is certainly worth passing along. Thanks.

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