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Motormouth: Batteries and heat

Q: I live in Las Vegas and have to replace my 12-volt battery every three years because of the heat. Will I have to worry about this with electric cars?

R.P., Las Vegas, Nevada

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A: Your concern is shared by carmakers. But replacing the battery pack is less a concern than replacing a car that catches fire! Air cooling has been the traditional method, but liquid cooling is becoming the current choice. Coming along slowly is heat-pump cooling. A heat pump has an additional advantage of routing some of the heat into the cabin in colder weather. Currently, cabin heat comes from an electric heater, which consumes battery power.

Q: I need a sun visor that works, not one that covers just the top 3 inches or so of the windshield or side window. My cars have the little extension or the slide on the rod feature. None of them deal with the blinding sun when it is low on the horizon. Have you heard of any attempts at improving this?

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K.K., Urbana, Illinois

A: I feel your pain. The rising and setting sun is blinding during rush hours, especially in the spring and fall. And it especially affects commuters. They can reasonably expect traffic jams unless it’s cloudy. With all the technology and brain power in the auto industry, there should be a solution, but I have not yet seen one. Sometimes I wear a baseball cap and tilt my head down to block the glare.

Q: I have owned two Buick Rendevous and two Buick Enclaves. Wanting to downsize, I bought a 2020 Encore eight months ago. Within two weeks. I noticed fumes from trucks and traffic coming into the car when I was on the highway. Now the fumes are worse even driving around town. There is no recirculate button. I went to my dealer and that was a total waste of time. They took it on the road with the ionizer blowing full blast and said I didn’t have a problem. Hope you can come up with a solution.

J.M., Chicago

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A: Ionizers are great for most stuff, but they can’t eliminate gaseous odors. Ionizers work by getting particles such as pollen to clump together, making them large enough to be caught by the cabin air filter. What you smell may also be due to out-gassing of the vinyl components inside the car.

Q: My last two vehicles had daytime driving lights, which gave me a small sense of security that other vehicles could see me OK during the day. The car I’m looking at now for possible purchase doesn’t have this option. Can these be installed as an option in a car if a buyer wants them?

B.C., Dennis, Massachusetts

A: You can install aftermarket daytime driving lights, and there are a gazillion brands out there. I suggest you buy a kit from a reputable company like Phillips or Hella. All the DRLs with which I am familiar are LEDs.

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Bob Weber is a writer and mechanic who became an ASE-certified Master Automobile Technician in 1976. He maintains this status by seeking certification every five years. Weber’s work appears in professional trade magazines and other consumer publications. His writing also appears in automotive trade publications, Consumer Guide and Consumers Digest.

Send questions along with name and town to motormouth.tribune@gmail.com.

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