Q. Would you recommend buying
stock of Tesla, the electric car maker? -- J.H. (via Internet)
A. Do you feel lucky?
Q. What do you think of self-driving cars? -- F.K. (via Internet)
A. Not much because they're far away from being mass produced. However, they've gotten lots of general mass-media television attention. That's because such media is dumb when it comes to cars, and self-driving cars are easy to talk about and, importantly, provide good film footage. Mass TV basically is all about pictures, sound bites and teleprompter readers. You must go to a few select cable TV channels to get intelligent information about cars.
Q. Why haven't sales of the significantly new Ford F-150 pickup truck--long the country's best-selling vehicle--taken off as expected? -- D.M.L. (via Internet)
A. Because Ford hasn't had enough steel frames to meet production needs. So it's hired a second supplier to provide them. Demand for the F-150 remains strong despite the major, controversial switch to aluminum bodies from steel ones. The truck's frame remains steel.
Q. Which car has the all-time highest mileage? -- P.S. (via Internet)
A. The 1966 Volvo P1800 bought new by Irv Gordon, who still owns the car. He has driven it more than 3 million miles and is aiming for 4 million. The car has had two engine rebuilds, and new parts have been added. Also, Gordon has rigorously maintained it. He's gotten lots of publicity with the P1800. So has Volvo.
Q. I hear there's an excellent
graphic novel about the life of auto buff/actor/car racer Steve
McQueen. Do you know about it? -- E.H. (via Internet)
A. Yes, and it's a well-done, fairly comprehensive book called "Steve McQueen --Full-throttle Cool." It's written by Dwight Jon Zimmerman with art by Greg Scott. It costs $19.99 and is published by Motorbooks. It's available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and wherever good books are sold. I'm not much of a Steve McQueen fan, but enjoyed the book, which is a fast "read." It'd be a great Christmas gift for McQueen fans.
Q. I sometimes think that auto service places want to do work on my fairly new car that's not necessary. Your opinion? -- C.L. (via Internet)
A. Experts say fuel injector cleaning really isn't needed until about 60,000 miles for cars made in the last 12-13 years. Oil change intervals once were called for every 3 months or 3,000 miles, but now aren't needed for sometimes 7,000-10,000 miles during normal driving on normal roads. Follow maintenance regulations in your owner's manual. After all, it's written by the folks who built your car.
Q. Will we ever see gasoline at $2 a gallon? --J.C. (via Internet)
A. Perhaps by year's end. Keep your fingers crossed.