Q: The ABS light comes on frequently on my 2002 Chevy Malibu. My mechanic said that it might be a bad sensor but the harness still needs to be replaced. The problem is that he can't find the part. He said that people drove cars for years without ABS. However, I fear the vehicle might be unsafe. Where can I find parts for an older Chevy?
A: Your mechanic is right. The car is safe to drive and behaves just like cars without ABS. He's wrong about the availability of parts, however. The ABS sensors for your car come with a wiring harness attached, and I suggest replacing all four. They are available from almost all auto parts stores and online.
Q: Regarding a recent question about the 2007 Mini Cooper with a dim taillight: The whole taillight assembly is mounted on a thin copper plate that will overheat and melt the plastic that sandwiches the plate. This will cause bad connections to the bulbs mounted on the plate. The fix is to scrape away the melted plastic from the connections.
A: Thanks for the info. I had not heard of this.
Heed warning sign
Q: I have a 2018 Jeep Trailhawk that still has the original battery. The auto stop/start feature has stopped working. The messaging system says that it is disengaged because the battery is charging. The car starts every morning on the first try without hesitation. When I asked the auto parts store to test the battery, they said that the car's warning was enough to warrant buying a new battery. Was this just a sales ploy, or is the battery about to die?
A: Computers manage the charging system. To conserve the battery, certain circuits might be turned off if they're not vital to normal operation, such as the stop/start feature. Maybe the guy at the parts store was too busy to check the battery, but he likely is right that your four-year-old battery is wearing out.
A flap over flaps
Q: I will be getting a new 2023 Lexus NX shortly that comes with mud flaps. I hate the look of these and would like to have them removed. It's an easy proposition of simply removing a few screws. But a friend noted that removing the screws will leave holes in the metal that will gather water, salt, etc. that will eventually cause rust problems. Aren't new cars rustproofed enough to handle this potential issue?
A: The fender liner to which the flaps attach is made of thermoplastic. It will not rust. But the flaps protect the side of the car, so I suggest that you leave them on for a while and see if you learn to like them.
Bob Weber is a writer, mechanic and ASE-certified Master Automobile Technician. His writing has appeared in automotive trade publications, Consumer Guide and Consumers Digest. Send automotive questions along with name and town to firstname.lastname@example.org.