Q: Most new vehicles have a built-in programmable garage door opener. When the vehicle is locked and someone breaks into it, does the opener work?
A: This being beyond my area of expertise, I turned to Liftmaster, which makes garage door openers.
"On some vehicles, power is applied all the time to the UGDO (Universal Garage Door Opener)," Liftmaster's Kelly Shumaker said. With others, "power is applied only when the ignition is on. In this case, UGDO won't work unless you have the key, or in the unlikely scenario that someone hot-wires the car — which in modern vehicles is much harder to do."
A newer option is a cloud-based system that the driver accesses through their phone.
"In this scenario, your phone would be tethered in the vehicle," Shumaker said. "So, you wouldn't be able to (open the garage door) unless the driver left their phone in the vehicle." Even then, a thief would need to unlock the phone for this to work.
License plates, part 1
Q: Your recent column on license plates reminded me of a friend from Colorado who drives a Corvette. Like many Corvette owners, he does not like the look of front license plates, so he doesn't have one. He got stopped by a highway patrol trooper who said, "Do you know why Colorado issues two plates?" His reply, and it did not go over well, was: "In case you lose one."
A: I have a hunch he got the trooper's autograph — on a citation.
License plates, part 2
Q: I understand that "classic" vehicles are not required to have front license plates in Minnesota.
A: Many states have different rules for collector cars. In addition to issuing only a single plate, there's often a one-time, not recurring, fee. There also usually are restrictions on how far the vehicle may be driven. But the good news is that the insurance premiums are often lower.
Stick to the book
Q: I read your response to the man who has a daughter who is moving to South Dakota and asked what weight oil she should put in her car. You suggested 5W-30. But what if the car maker says to use 5W-20?
A: Sorry to repeat myself, but consult your owner's manual for the final word on what to use.
Q: We own a 2021 Honda CRV hybrid with adaptive cruise control, which keeps us a safe distance from a car in front of us. According to the manual, it's for use over 40 miles per hour and not recommended in stop-and-go traffic. My husband insists on using it even while driving under 40 and in heavy traffic. Is this damaging the engine and/or transmission?
A: Using it in heavy urban traffic is a safety issue. If operating it below 40 would cause damage, it would not function at those speeds.
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.