Q: The service engine light came on in my truck. The next day it was off, then on again. The code said the engine has not been running enough to perform a computer check. He took it out for a ride, checked again, and it was OK. I'm 81 and live in a retirement home. I guess I need to drive it more.
A: You guessed right. Sometimes there is a pending code. It may occur if there was an intermittent problem seen by the computer. Occasionally driving the vehicle a few times — both city and highway trips including slowing and accelerating — can clear the code.
A slick sales pitch
Q: When I went to a Toyota dealer to have the oil changed in my 2004 Tundra (mileage 95,000), I requested high-mileage oil. The service department said that that's just a gimmick to extract more money from customers. They put in the standard full synthetic 5W-30. No harm was done, but I had never heard such a comment.
A: I'm guessing that they don't stock high-mileage oil, so you got a song and dance about the oil being a gimmick. Older engines have seals and gaskets that are less pliable than those in new cars and may benefit from the additive packages in high-mileage oils.
Q: I have a 2022 Kia Niro Hybrid with 22,000 miles. The engine light came on with a message to check the active air flap system. The dealer said this might have happened because of an accident several months ago. Does it make sense that this system malfunctioned so long after the accident?
A: The active air flap normally is open until the vehicle reaches a set speed. If it were damaged during an accident, it would not have worked for long. I'm guessing that a foreign object got stuck in it.
Q: I have a 2012 Toyota Highlander Limited (only 45,000 miles) and my electronic key fob is going out. The dealer wants $700 to fix this, which I think is high. What do you think?
A: The price you were quoted sounds a bit high. However, the replacement key also must be programmed and cut. Call a couple of other dealers as well as some locksmiths. But first, check the battery in the key fob. New batteries are cheap.
Q: I have a 2019 Kia Sportage with around 50,000 miles. Is there something I can do to reduce the road noise?
A: Road noise is almost always caused by tires. At 50,000 miles they are approaching the end of life. Tire makers offer tires that are low on noise. Touring tires may be what you need. If you also want a bit more performance, select a grand touring tire.
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.