Q: I am an
83-year-old lady who is having a problem with a brake light coming
on on my dash. I brought it to two mechanics. They gave my car a
going over, and each said there is nothing wrong with the brakes or
the pads. They thought maybe I had my hand brake up a little. After
I left them my brake light did not appear.
Now when I start the
car, the brake light comes on, so I turn the car off. When I start
it again it does not come on and stays off for that day. Can you
give me an idea what might be wrong? The brakes feel fine, but I am
apprehensive to drive the car.
ó C.R., Chicago
A: The parking brake
may be triggering the light. Jiggle it to see if the light goes off.
Another possibility is the brake fluid level sensor. If the fluid is
low, the light may come on briefly. If the level checks out full,
the sensor may be the culprit.
Q: I own a car that
came equipped with wider tires on the rear than the ones on the
front. The dealer service rep said that there is no benefit to
exchanging tires left-to-right (in lieu of normal rotation). The
manual is silent on this issue. Iíd like your opinion.
ó R.R., Lisle,
A: Although you might
be able to swap the tires right to left, there is not a whole lot of
advantage in doing so. In some cases, this is not even an option. If
you look closely, you may find that the tires may be directional.
Look for an arrow
denoting the tireís rotation when driving. If so, the right wheel
will be going clockwise and the left counter clockwise when driving
forward. (My apologies to those who can only tell time with their
Q: I come from the
school that you were supposed to turn the key on before cranking
over the engine, in order to give the fuel pump time to start
flowing. I have my very first push-button car (2019 Trax), and there
is no way to do this. I assume the engine can handle it, or they
wouldnít make it, but I notice an issue when I first drive the car
for the day. As I start to accelerate, the engine seems to lurch and
almost stall a bit before it settles in and drives smoothly.
Could it have
something to do with the quick engine turnover from the push-button?
Iím not even sure how I can have the dealer check it, since it
only happens after the carís been sitting for about 12 hours, and
only that first drive.
ó J.K., Grayslake,
A: Not to worry. In
the past, it took a couple seconds for the fuel pump to pressurize
the system. Even if you didnít wait, the engine started rather
quickly. With todayís technology, engines often start within one
revolution of the crankshaft.
Push the start button
(no need to continue pressing; just poke it once) and the engine
seems to magically flash to life faster than Harry Potterís wand.
The starting system is probably fine. But during initial warmup, the
transmission may hunt a little and that is OK, too. An option is to
leave the car overnight so the tech can experience the behavior.