Auto-Stop Feature Confusing to Motorists

Dear Doctor: I just bought a 2018 Chevy Equinox and was surprised it shut off automatically when I had my foot on the brake in traffic. It restarts when I take my foot off the brake. When I asked the dealer about this, he said it is how it maintains the best fuel efficiency. Is this a common method in other new vehicles? Wouldn’t this wear out the starter faster? Christy

Dear Christy: The auto engine shut off at stoplights and even in traffic can be very annoying. Unfortunately this is a Federal law and will be in all vehicles within a couple of years. There is no shut-off feature on this vehicle that I know about. Sometimes keeping the A/C temperature on the max position will prevent the engine from shutting off. Aftermarket tuning companies are working on this complaint. The custom tune is a simple install by just plugging it into the ALDL connector under the drivers-side dash just like plugging in a scan tool or the state inspection machine. As for starter wear, it certainly makes it work more often, but I don’t know that it leads to failure.

Dear Doctor: I just recently rented a 2017 Chevy Cruise. It had an “auto stop” feature that was nothing short of extremely annoying. Driving in heavy traffic, the engine would stop every time I stopped. The air conditioning would even lower and when I timed lifting my foot off the brake very slowly as the engine was starting up again, it felt like someone had tapped the rear bumper lightly. I asked at the rental counter if there was a way of turning this feature off and they told me I couldn’t. I was told it is for fuel economy and reduces the carbon footprint. What are your thoughts about this new feature? John

Dear John: You are not alone in how you feel about this feature; some manufacturers have a disable button like my Ford Raptor pickup test vehicle this week. There are companies working on a custom tuner to reprogram the computer to shut this feature off. It is all about gas mileage and, yes, the carbon footprint.

Dear Doctor: What is the very best outdoor car cover for a 2014 Lime Rock Green Metallic Corvette convertible? Besides UV protection I need something that will protect this vehicle from a storm. I would like something fleece-lined or some material that won’t scratch the paint, and something that will protect it from dents if there is flying debris. The ragtop remains outside because I have no garage in my condo. Scott

Dear Scott: There are many car covers on the market. Of course a soft lined fleece cover is best for the paint. Mid America, a Corvette supplier, has multiple covers and a free catalog available. They do sell an outdoor cover that is fleeced lined on the inside. Ask about using two covers, a soft-fleeced cover to cover the car first followed by a waterproof cover to cover the soft-fleeced cover.

Dear Doctor: My nearly 10-year-old Chevy Equinox keeps getting moisture in both headlight assemblies. While under warranty they replaced one side, but that didn’t help. It keeps getting worse. I noticed other Equinoxes with the same problem. What is causing this and is there anything I can do? Ed
Dear Ed: I see a lot of moisture in headlight capsules on a variety of makes and models. Moisture has gotten into the inside and there is not enough venting to get the moisture out. For many years I have been drilling a very small hole in the lower part of the affected headlight plastic lens; time in the sun will dry out the moisture. There are also many aftermarket companies that sell new headlight assemblies for a fraction of the cost compare with the original Chevy brand.

Dear Doctor: We loved our basic Dodge Caravan minivan in the 1990s, so we bought a Grand Caravan in 2000 but it always felt a little too big for our work commute. So when we heard that 2006 might be the last basic model from Chrysler we bought a Town & Country. Now the 2006 is getting on in years. Do you know if any manufacturer is going to make that size minivan again? It was just the right size for us. George

Dear George: The focus groups wanted the minivan to grow and automakers learned from these focus groups that younger moms did not want the common, functional minivan. You need to look at all the manufacturers and what they have to offer that resemble the size and functionality you like in a minivan.

— Junior Damato, Motor Matters

Copyright, Motor Matters, 2017

(Manufacturer photo: 2018 Chevrolet Equinox)

Junior Damato is an ASE-certified Master Technician.

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