Q: I had an aftermarket powered handicapped seat installed in my 2022 Chrysler Pacifica. This replaced the original passenger seat mount but uses the original seat. I noticed the other day that the seat belt warning alarm does not trigger for either the driver or passenger front seat. This might have been like that since I bought the car, but I'm inclined to believe the handicapped seat installer did something.
The installer has checked with the manufacturer and was told that there wasn't anything he could have done to cause this. I called the Chrysler dealer and was told it will cost $160 for them to look at it. I don't trust either one of them (the installer because he might have done something he doesn't know he did, or the dealer because he wants $160, plus the cost of the repair). Is it possible that there could be a connection undone on the passenger-side seat?
A: First, check the fuses. If the original seat was temporarily removed, a loose connection to the seat sensor is a possibility, so next ask the installer to check his work. Dealer charges for diagnostics are fair, but you can ask if it can be rolled into the repair charge.
Don't overdo it
Q: I have a 2017 Toyota Highlander with 80,000 miles. I have had the car serviced at two dealers. One recommended that the brake and transmission fluids be replaced. The other recommended that the differential fluid be replaced. There are no problems; this is purely preventive. The owner's manual says to inspect but never indicates when to change these fluids. Is there a good reason to have any of these services performed as preventive maintenance?
A: The only downside to unstipulated over-maintenance is financial. Neither service is required by the carmaker.
The hole truth
Q: To the letter writer wanting to remove the mudflaps on his Lexus but was worried about the empty screw holes, the simple solution is to remove the mudflaps and then put the screws back into the holes. Another option is to fill the holes with silicone caulk.
A: Don't overlook the combination approach of replacing the screws after giving them a schmear of silicone sealant.
Too much power?
Q: Why do carmakers make a street auto with the capability of going 120-plus miles per hour? Maybe emergency vehicles need it, but not the general public. Less powerful engines cut down on the cost of the car and reduce emissions. This makes no sense to me.
A: There are plenty of vehicles that combine low power and low emissions. I bet you own one; good for you. But even high-powered engines often sip gas, at least on the highway, because of improved engines.
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 email@example.com.