Motormouth: Aftermarket backup camera’s a cinch

Tribune Content Agency

Q: We have a 2006 low-mileage Mercedes-Benz. The car doesn’t have a backup camera. Can you recommend anything to help us out in finding something to install to solve the problem?

— P.A., Hallandale Beach, Fla.

A: There are many add-on backup cameras. Some come with a small monitor that you place on the dash, but you may have to route a wire to the front of the vehicle. There are also wireless systems that can use your smartphone. There are also units that come with dedicated displays. Shop online. Walmart even carries them.

Q: I have been using brass-bladed scrapers for years. One caveat, though, you have to be careful not to damage the blade.

Brass is relatively soft and if you get a nick in the blade, it can damage the glass. I found this out the hard way. There were several small scratches in my windshield, but they were only visible in direct sunlight. I checked my scraper and, sure enough, there was a small nick in the blade. I replaced it and have been very careful with the one I’ve had for the past dozen years or so.

— D.P., Macungie, Pa.

A: Fortunately, we have rounded to corner to spring, but this is timely advice for those of us who store our winter stuff until next year. Probably not a good idea to keep your scrapers in the same drawer as your hammer collection.

Q: When I purchased my 2018 Subaru Outback, the hands-free phone safety feature intrigued me. I tried pairing my flip phone to the car but was unsuccessful. Because it was an older model, I purchased a new flip phone. That didn’t work either. Interestingly, it works on my wife’s 2016 Forester. Frequent inquiries to Subaru, Consumer Cellular and the phone manufacturer have not produced a solution. My wife’s iPhone works fine in my car.

We tried installation on several 2018 Outbacks in the dealer’s lot and it didn’t work on them either. We tried it on a 2019 model in the showroom and it worked fine. It seems to be a software issue that nobody wants to fix.

I refuse to go to dark side and get an iPhone and I still have a lot of payments left on my Outback. What now?

— G.B., Crystal, Minn.

A: Because you have exhausted all the typical sources for help, I must be your last resort. I suggest you resort to using the speaker feature on your phone for hands-free conversation.

Q: L.N. from Elburn, Ill., had written you about the difficulty in finding a new vehicle that included a CD player. My remedy for that is to go to a big-box store (like Best Buy) and have them install a new stereo system that has a CD player built into it to replace the factory stereo.

A new stereo can be had for under $200 and can be fit into either a single or double size stereo slot. My new one looks great, and sounds much better than the stock one, too.

— W.F., Pompano Beach, Fla.

A: That idea works if your car has a traditional stack, but if your car features a touchscreen, a replacement radio isn’t an option. Most new cars have a USB port and you can copy CDs to a flash drive using Windows Media Player. I also copied my collection to my smartphone, which I then paired via Bluetooth in the car.



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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