Q: I’ve read about several catalytic converter thefts recently. My Toyota dealership is advertising a shield for theft protection. What are your thoughts? Does this shield prevent access for car maintenance?

G.R., Morton Grove, Illinois

A: Even if the catalytic converter shield does not prevent thieves from getting what they want, it certainly slows them down. And speed is the name of the game for cat thieves so any obstacle sends them searching for an easier mark. Since the cat is not a maintenance item, routine service is not hampered.

Q: I loved your comment about the oil change intervals. Nobody reads their manual unless they can't change the time on the clock twice a year. I have read our manuals religiously for years. Our vehicles have the oil minder accessible by touching buttons on the steering wheel. And in the manual, it clearly says to change your oil every year or less. The oil minder has usually shown the oil life being diminished at about 15,000 miles. The interesting conversations I have had with kids at the oil change places declaring I am voiding my warranty are a story for another day. None have been able to find in our manual where it says to change the oil every 3,000 miles. Reading the manual is way more fun than a lot of novels, and it actually saves you money. Thanks for pointing that out.

S.L., Christmas, Florida

A:Thank you for backing me up.

Q: I recently had my mechanic put new struts on my 2010 Toyota Matrix purchased used nearly two years ago with 80,000 miles. He put on Excel-G KYB struts. They took the edge off its rough ride but after 3-4 months it seems to be riding like it was before. What gives?

G.E., Evanston, Illinois

A: The struts you had installed are the same as the original equipment units that came on the vehicle from the factory. Sometimes motorists’ perceptions of ride quality change. Sometimes there may be a product issue. KYB is customer friendly and you may email your concerns to kybcs@kyb.com.

Q: Can having one tire of a different size than the other three cause the TPMS to malfunction, or at least show a malfunction? They haven't been able to figure out why the light keeps coming on. The tires are all good, the system seems to be working fine. This is the only other thing I can think of.

K.M., Willowbrook, Illinois

A: You didn’t say what make and model car you have, but unmatched tires could be a problem. While most cars have tire pressure sensors mounted on their wheels, others rely on the ABS (antilock brake system) to report if any wheel is spinning faster or slower than the others. Unmatched tires report unequal rotational speeds and that triggers the warning light.

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