DEAR CAR TALK: I recently moved to a new city and took my 2011 Subaru Forester to a local auto repair chain store for an oil change and a general going over.
They informed me that the pump motor for my windshield washer was not working, so I asked them to order the part.
A few days later, it rained, and I discovered that the pump worked fine. I called the store, they apologized, said there must have been air in the line and cancelled the order.
Does this sound legitimate, or did I stumble upon a place that may not be completely trustworthy? I chose them because of their convenient location and good online reviews. — Alice
DEAR READER: This doesn't strike me as an obvious scam, Alice. I mean, if you came in my shop, I'd try to hit you up for at least a transmission, not a piddly $39 dollar washer pump.
Actually, there are a few reasons I don't think these guys are necessarily bad actors. First, it's such an easy thing to verify. If someone told me that my washer pump wasn't working, I'd get in the car and try it.
And since they had to give you back your car and order the part, they had to know you'd likely try it at some point and say, hey, wait a minute!
So, they're either not crooks, or they're really bad crooks.
If they were good crooks and wanted to rip you off, there are a thousand parts that you've never heard of, have no idea what they do and wouldn't have the foggiest idea how to test. Those would be the kinds of things I'd urge you to get a second opinion on if you were dealing with an unknown shop.
So, why didn't the washer pump work for them? I don't know. Maybe it's on its way out and is failing intermittently? Maybe the switch on your steering column stalk is starting to fail? But it's not out of the question that it didn't work for them and then did a Lazarus a few days later.
If your pump or switch is failing intermittently, by the time you read this, it may have stopped working again. The good news is that you'll then know you can trust these guys.
The bad news is you'll discover it when a moving van passes you on the highway and drives through a mud puddle.
So, I'd probably give these guys another shot and keep an open mind about them, Alice. Unless they try to sell you a washer pump and a transmission next time.
DEAR CAR TALK: On Jan 1, 2022, the date/time reading on the screen of my 2008 Honda Civic reverted to 1 p.m. Jan 1, 2002. Ever since then, it resets to 1 p.m. Jan. 1, 2002, each time I start my car.
From what I read on the internet, this is a common problem with older Hondas with navigation systems and there is no known solution.
Do you know if Honda is planning to fix this? — Richard
DEAR READER: I think it's just Honda's way of making your 14-year-old car feel ultra-modern, Richard. If you think it's 2002, having a 2008 Civic is pretty futuristic, right?
I've gotten a lot of letters from Honda owners about this problem, and they all report the same thing: The dealer doesn't know how to fix it.
We reached out to Honda, and they told us they're aware of the issue and are working to address it. They couldn't give us a timeline. As you note, it's been eight months already.
Presumably, it's a software glitch of some kind, and the fix will involve loading a software update. But, given the ages of the affected cars, distributing that software update might require sending Honda engineers to yard sales to buy up all the floppy disks and CD-ROMs they can find.
Honda says the best thing to do is to contact your Honda dealer and ask them to let you know when a fix is available.
You should also contact Honda Customer Service and have them create a case for you. By asking both entities to notify you when there's a fix, you'll double your chances that one of them will remember to do it.
You can create a case with Honda by going to automobiles.honda.com/information/customer-relations and clicking on "How Do I Contact Honda." Or "Help, I'm Stuck in a Honda-Induced Space-Time Warp, and I Can't Get Out."
Good luck, Richard. Hope they figure it out soon.
Ray Magliozzi dispenses advice about cars in Car Talk every Saturday. Email him by visiting cartalk.com
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