Q: I would like to get your opinion on noise pollution on our streets and roads. There was a time in my youth when loud pipes on cycles and vehicles were illegal and given citations for modifying exhaust systems. Today loud noise is getting worse and why should a guy with his family sitting in his backyard with a cold one have to listen to his windows rattle because some people are so inconsiderate with loud exhaust?

M.W., Summerfield, Fla.

A: Not only loud pipes, but booming bass can drive you nuts. Yes, there are issues about disturbing the peace, but law enforcement’s hands are tied. How loud is too loud? The officer’s subjective opinion will not hold up in court unless there is some sort of proof. There are very few ordinances that state a standard sound level as measured at a standard distance from the tailpipe. Personally, I like noise cancelling headphones so I can enjoy my music with my cold one.

Q: I can give you a good reason NOT to skip oil changes. My dad had an auto repair shop nearly all my life. A friend of mine had a car that quit on him at our office. My dad towed it into his shop. He found so much gunk in (the engine) that he had a terrible time cleaning it all out. When he asked my friend when was the last time he changed the oil, my friend’s reply was “You mean we’re supposed to change oil?” He had never done so in all the time he owned that car.

M.M., Crest Hill, Ill.

A: As Marvel Comics legend, Stan Lee declared: “Nuff said.”

Q: Recently purchased a Dodge Ram 1500 pickup and the check fuel cap indicator light came on after I purchased fuel for the first time. I replaced the cap with a new one as per my mechanic’s suggestion. After three weeks the check fuel cap indicator came back on along with the check engine light. What could be causing this problem.

T.L., Allentown, Pa.

A: Although the new cap may be defective, ask your mechanic to scan the system for trouble codes. Also, check the filler pipe seat for nicks or burrs. There could be another leak in the fuel and emissions system, such as the charcoal canister or its various other components. Vehicles automatically do a self-check for system integrity regularly while the engine is off.

Q: I have a motorcycle and want to pull the battery to put it on a trickle charger. Should I run the charger daily and if so for how long? Second question: Should I overinflate the tires and move the bike around so the tires don’t develop a soft spot?

J.A., Chicago

A: Get a smart battery charger that has a float feature such as a Battery Tender. The company offers one designed just for motorcycles. It comes with a pigtail and has ring terminals that attach to the battery so you can leave the battery on the bike. Feed the other end of the connector to a convenient location. The charger features the mating half of the polarized connector. The float feature prevents overcharging the battery. Put your bike up on its center stand or blocks to avoid tire flat spots.



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.

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