Q: I purchased a 2020 Kia Sportage and have noticed that when I park the vehicle for a short of time, the outside air temp gauge reads very high. Once I start driving the vehicle again, the temp reading starts going down to what I feel is the correct outside temp. From a cold start, the gauge seems to work OK. My local dealer indicated that all vehicles do this. I disagreed with them in that my Mazda3 and my previous Saturn Vue did not. Is this a problem with the sensor or do all Kia Sportages do this?
S.Y., Coon Rapids, Minnesota
A: The ambient temperature sensor on your car is located near the radiator and air conditioning condenser. During hot soak (before the car cools down after driving), the sensor feels the heat emanating from this hot environment. As you drive, the temperature reads correctly, but keep in mind that the system is purposedly designed to show the changes gradually. The sensor is fine.
Q: I like the Honda HRV, but my son says I'm a fool to get a car with a CVT as transmission. Also, I've read that the complaints are that the car is underpowered for highway driving. The car gets wonderful comments and accolades for every other category, it just has a weak engine and the CVT transmission bugaboo. What do you think?
W.O., Skokie, Illinois
A: The term “underpowered” depends on who you talk to. Compared to the Civic Type-R rated at 306 HP, the HR-V is underpowered. With regular, routine maintenance the continuously variable transmission (CVT) should last the life of the car. Honda had some problems in the past but has redesigned the transmission.
Q: My mom has a 2005 Chrysler 300 touring and lately it has been getting stuck in park. After a while though, she is able to get out of park. This happens randomly. The mechanic has looked at it a couple times and replaced a sensor on it, but it’s still happening and they can’t figure out what it is. They can’t even mimic the problem whenever it’s with them.
S.G., Addison, Illinois
A: There are two issues that may not allow shifting out of park. One is a broken spring in the shifter assembly, but when that happens, it is for keeps, not intermittent. The second, more common problem is a bad solenoid in the shifter assembly. If that is the case, you can remove the tray next to the shifter revealing a pink button. Pressing it allows the shifter to be moved.
Q: I have a 2009 Ford Mercury Mountaineer with 83,000 miles on it, and it has served me very well for what I need. But I’ve had a terrible squeaking problem on the back wheels when I back out of garage. The rear brakes were replaced 12 months ago. The dealership, when I complained a few months ago, says it’s rust from lack of use, but I use it every day for local shopping. The front wheels do not squeak and are original brakes. Help, it sounds horrible. Do the rear wheels need grease?
N.B., New Smyrna Beach, Florida
A: Ack. Grease on the brakes is a big no-no. Most people would surmise that grease would cause the brakes to slip. The truth is just the opposite; oil or grease makes them grab. Having said that, there is special anti-squeal grease that is applied to the backing plate of the brake pads, between the pads and caliper pistons, that is designed to quiet the squeal. Every auto parts store carries it.
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