A: It is not a safety problem, even if you do not thread the belt back through that plastic guide. The guide's slit is there so you can move the belt out of the way for passengers to get into the rear seats. The guide is also for the driver's comfort. You don't even have to thread the belt through the guide to be safe.
Q: I have a 1997 Honda Civic. While driving, the brake light on the dashboard comes on and off for just a second or so. The brake fluid is full. The dealer says do not worry. I wonder what is wrong. M.S., Baltimore
A: Chances are, the filter in the brake fluid reservoir is the culprit, but it may also be a faulty float in the reservoir. Either one is an easy, cheap repair.
Q: I have always been of the opinion that for winter driving, tires with the most tread should be installed on the driving wheels. I requested a tire dealer to install two new tires on my front drive vehicle. Much to my amazement and irritation the dealer installed the new tires on the rear of my vehicle. The dealer said according to their company manual, the tire tread on my front drive car is not important because the weight of the motor etc. was sufficient to give traction in winter conditions. Who is right? R.E., Lincolnshire, Ill.
A: The tires with the best tread should always go on the rear of the vehicle to lessen the possibility of the back end sliding out. (Some people call this fish tailing, but to be totally accurate, fish tailing involves sliding from side to side.) When it happens, you lose control.
Q: I bought a 2007 Ford Escape (with warranty still in place) and shortly after, I began noticing a noise from under the hood. When I speed up, it speeds up. When I slow down, it slows down. A friend said it sounds like a speedometer cable on an old car. I have had it in a few times for service but they are unable to find the problem. D.K., Orlando, Fla.
A: An engine speed related noise was common on the 3.0-liter Duratec engine in many 2005-07 Ford and Mercury vehicles. The fix requires moving one of the bearing caps on the left side exhaust cam. There were a couple service bulletins on this so the dealer should have been able to fix it.
Q: I own a 2008 Chevrolet Aveo with 68,400 miles on it. I use it as my work vehicle and a majority of the miles were used in 55-65 mph zones. When it is very cold I warm up the engine, however the transmission will not shift into overdrive. The dealership told me that the GM book states the vehicle will not shift until the temperature is 59 degrees Fahrenheit. What is your insight on this? T.S., Chicago
A: Most vehicles are programmed to keep the transmission's lock-up torque converter from actuating until the fluid has warmed up. On GM vehicles this is often in the mid-70 Fahrenheit for the fluid temp, not the ambient temp. Once the predetermined temperature is reached, the transmission shifts normally. It may take longer on very cold days than on warmer days.
Q: What happens to all those fancy new electronic widgets in today's automobiles when the temperature drops to 10 to 20 degrees below zero as it does in Chicago? I mean when your doors are frozen shut, how much info do you get from your GPS widget if you manage to free your doors? J.D., Bisbee, Ariz.
A: Go ahead, rub it in, you sun devil. The answer is: Nothing. All of the vehicle components are designed to withstand not only cold, but heat, without failing. Let us know how your widgets work when the interior of your car reaches 150 degrees in August.