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Q: I'm short. When the hatch is opened, the handle is still about 10 inches higher than I can reach. I asked the dealer if a hook could be installed that I could attach a rope to. They wouldn't do it. I checked the internet for solutions but found none (other than sarcastic suggestions to wear high heels). Do you have any ideas?
A: Although stilettos may make a stunning fashion statement, they are difficult to drive in. I suggest taking your car to an independent repair shop or body shop, where they should be happy to make a custom modification for you.

Repair is debatable

Q: I bought a 2016 Buick Encore with 85,000 miles a year ago. The check engine light is on most of the time. I have had it checked and reset numerous times. The dealer said the codes involve the oxygen sensor, and that it's not critical because it's behind the catalytic converter. Lately it comes back on the next time I start the car. Is this an expensive repair, and is it worth doing?
A: There is some controversy as to the function and need for an after-the-cat sensor. It might aid in fuel mixture control, but it's much slower to react than the pre-cat sensor. To replace it yourself, the cost is probably under $100. If you need professional replacement, get some quotes.

Tire facts

Q: I had one of my tires repaired (screw in it) at a tire store. They noticed the manufacturer's date on it. They said that manufacturers recommend replacing the tire at seven years old. The tread on the tire was good, and overall, it's in good shape. Most weeks my wife puts fewer than 30 miles on the tires, and the vehicle is parked in the garage. Is this just a ploy to sell new tires?
A: The Tire Manufactures Association says on its website that you need not worry too much about the age of your tires. "But there are a couple of important cases we want you to know about where age can be more a factor than mileage." To get more information, go to

Steering problem

Q: My new car came with nitrogen in the tires. Each tire had about 48psi until I questioned that. The steering frequently has some pull to the side. After changing the tire pressure to 35psi, I was told that it might take a while for the tires to adjust and help with the pull in steering. What do you think?
A: Tires are overinflated before shipping. It helps avoid flat spots while on the dealer's lot. I think somebody was blowing you off because they didn't want to deal with the steering issue.

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