Q: In comparing the operating expense of an electric vehicle to a gas vehicle, what would be the total cost or cost per mile for operating comparable vehicles? Let’s face the fact that plugging your electrical vehicle into an electrical socket at home is costly. How does that cost compare with gas purchases?
A: The cost per mile of an electric car is less than the operating cost of a gas car, with most reporting at 4 to 5 cents per mile. This is explained in the latest version of AAA’s Your Driving costs (bit.ly/3CuMbQM).
This doesn’t sound like much of a savings, but over the lifetime of the car it can really add up.
Maintenance costs are also less for EVs, but when they do need repairs, they are more expensive to fix. You would also need to compare insurance costs.
Currently, EVs don’t pay gas tax (which will change some day), which adds to the lower costs. Now, of course, energy costs vary from state to state, just like gasoline costs.
It’s hardly scientific, but my experience with the Chevrolet Bolt — a very good car, with about a 230-mile range — is that it costs about $7 to $8 to fully recharge.
Driving a small car about the same size that gets 35 miles per gallon would cost about $20.
Of course, you pay more for the car, although there are tax incentives that can help reduce the initial costs.
Q: I have a very small drip from the seal between the engine and transaxle on my 2015 Honda Accord with 78,000 miles. My mechanic says it’s not worth repairing. I can’t see any difference in oil level between my 6,000-mile oil change intervals. Would it be inadvisable to add oil seal repair additive to the engine oil? I don’t want to cause any engine damage. The car is no longer under any warranty.
A: I would start with using a high-mileage oil, designed for engines with 75,000 miles or more. Your Accord uses a 0W-20 weight oil, and the higher-mileage oils have seal conditioners that may help slow the leak. It is certainly worth a try and won’t add to the cost of an oil change.
Q: I recently purchased a Genesis G70 after driving Toyota Camrys for 20 years. I purchased the G70 with the twin-turbo-charged engine because of its overall good looks and performance. You don’t see many of them on the road. Since I purchased my G70, I am seeing more of them on the road than ever. Did they suddenly get popular? What do you think of the car?
A: I like the Genesis G70. It is a well-rounded sports sedan. The handling is quite good without sacrificing ride quality, and Genesis did a great job with the interior.
The Genesis G70 — with all-wheel drive — is also a very capable winter performer.
The materials are all premium quality, and the infotainment system is one of the best that I have used. The only possible downside is that fuel economy is less than stellar, and this luxury G70 shares much of its mechanical pieces with its sibling, the Kia Stinger.
You may be seeing more Genesis models on the road because of something called the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon. This is “the difference between something actually happening a lot and something you’re starting to detect a lot.”
Q: I have a 2009 Jeep Liberty with approximately 62,700 miles. The air conditioner works, but I noticed that the heater does not work. I was told that I would need to replace the heater core, and it would be expensive. What is your take on this?
A: I would start with checking the basics first. Is the coolant level full? Is the engine thermostat operating properly? Are the controls working as they should? Is the cooling system clean?
It is possible that the heater core that provides heat to the cabin is clogged and not allowing hot engine coolant to circulate to provide heat. This could happen if the cooling system was not serviced often enough over the last 11 years. If this is the case, it is possible that the heater core as well as the entire cooling system could need to be flushed out to remove any sediment that is slowing down coolant flow through the heater core.
If flushing out the cooling system doesn’t work, replacing the heater core is expensive. Typically, this job — which also includes disconnecting the air conditioner — will take about a day’s worth of labor, and the new heater core is $150, plus any additional supplies.
John Paul is the AAA Northeast Car Doctor. He has more than 40 years of experience in the automobile industry and is an ASE-Certified Master Technician. Write to John Paul, The Car Doctor, at 110 Royal Little Drive, Providence, RI 02904. Or email [email protected] and put “Car Doctor” in the subject field. Follow him on Twitter @johnfpaul or on Facebook.