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The Yankee Express

Phone problem with Lexus - a Bluetooth issue?

John Paul

Q. I have a 2019 Lexus 350 with less than 20,000 miles. When I try to make a call, I get a voice message saying “ the phone book is being loaded, please try again later”. I unpaired my phone and re-paired it and it did not fix the issue. I went to my dealer and paid for analysis, and they could not find anything wrong.  They are saying something is wrong with my phone (iPhone 13). I contacted Apple and they checked all my settings, and they are fine. The car’s phone app shows all my contacts are loaded. My dealer had no idea what the issue was. They said it may be an Apple update that caused it. This issue did not happen after any updates. John, do you have any ideas/suggestions?

A. Seems as if the dealer should know more than me, but I would try the simplest fix first. I would remove the car from the phone and the phone from the car. Not just unpair them but delete the settings entirely. Now start fresh and see what happens. I agree with the dealer, and I have seen some Bluetooth compatibility issues as the software is updated. As of the date of this column the latest IOS software version is 17.5.1. perform the update and then start the pairing process from scratch. The other possibility is when you load multiple contacts, it doesn’t overwrite the contacts but just duplicates them which maxes out the memory of the car. 

Q. So, the other day that I spotted one of those Tesla Supertrucks, it was coming out of the parking lot of a local restaurant. It is certainly a strange looking thing, what are your thoughts on this, and have you driven one?

A. The Tesla Cybertruck when first teased was to cost, less than $40,000, have 400-500 mile range, phenomenal acceleration and off road capability. According to Tesla’s website the starting price for the rear-wheel-drive model is $60,000 and the advertised range is 250 miles. The Cyberbeast, the most expensive and powerful model with all wheel drive is about $100,000 and has 320 miles of range and can accelerate to 60 miles per hour is 2.6 seconds. To date I have not driven one, but on paper it looks like a pretty competent truck, decent cargo space, secure storage (front and rear) and great towing ability. Right now, the design seems a bit more novelty than work/play/commuter truck and I also wonder if people spending upwards of $100,000 for a vehicle are happy with no factory color choices. 

Q. I am looking for at least five-person (although three row would be preferred) luxury SUV. I looked at the Acura MDX, Lincoln Aviator and Infiniti QX60. Which would you choose and why? 

A. I recently evaluated the Infiniti QX60 and was quite pleased with the ride, handling and comfort. The Acura MDX is always a solid and reliable choice. The Lincoln Aviator has more horsepower and a bit more room. The three vehicles are pretty closely matched and really come down to personal preference. Historically the Acura holds its value better and typically a bit more reliable, but all are good choices. 

Q. I have a 2012 Mercedes GLK350 with 140,000 miles, which I bought new (picked it up in Germany). The check-engine light came on about a month ago, which showed faults in two systems; Intake Manifold Tumble Flap is binding and needs replacing. Also, Air Injection System Diverter Valves needs replacing. I had a diagnostic done at local shop. I also got a second opinion from a shop specializing in German cars. Same diagnostic results. Repair costs are $3,000 - $4,500. I like the GLK very much and usually keep my cars to the end. But do I want to put this kind of money into an almost 13-year-old car, when the chances of something big breaking down with the usual high cost of repairing a Mercedes. The check-engine light remains on, which doesn’t bother me, knowing what the problem is. What are the risks of continuing to drive it in its current condition? The car continues to drive great.

A. Putting $4000 or so into this car is a bit of a gamble since the transmission and all-wheel drive systems seem to be a weak spot as these vehicles age. Also, at 12 years old, electronics can start to get a bit finicky. The intake system is designed that the air tumble flap defaults to open, this will have an effect on vehicle emissions but little else. Readers with Audi’s and Volkswagens with similar systems have told me they have gone years without any real problems. Still the check engine light is on for a reason and should be repaired. 

Q.My car, a great running Toyota, has a recommended oil change interval or 10,000 miles or once per year. What are your thoughts on this long oil change interval? 

A.Long oil change intervals are fine as long as you are vigilant about checking fluid levels. All cars will burn oil and over 10,000 miles even a great engine can use several quarts of oil. Running an engine with low oil can certainly accelerate wear. If you don’t regularly look under the hood, changing the oil every six months or 5000 miles might make the most sense. 

John Paul is AAA Northeast’s Car Doctor. He has over forty years’ experience and is an ASE-certified master technician. He will answer readers’ questions each week. Email your questions to [email protected]. Follow John on Twitter @johnfpaul and friend him on Facebook at mrjohnfpaul.