Q: We took delivery of a new Toyota four months ago. The dealer gave us only one key fob and said that the second would be delivered later. We're still waiting. I check with the dealer every month and get the same "I don't know" answer. Do you have a way to speed this up?
A: I'm afraid I can't twist any arms. But if you're getting stonewalled by the salesperson or parts department, ask to see the dealer principal. If that gets you nowhere, another fob is available online, but it will need a locksmith or the car dealer to program it.
Q: When I saw your column about timing belts vs. chains, it reinvigorated some of the discussions I've had about the timing setup for my 2005 Toyota Scion xB. Does the fact that Toyota says it has a chain make a difference in wear and tear and longevity? I'd like to keep this vehicle for quite some time.
A: Timing chains traditionally last the life of the vehicle. Keep on motoring.
Q: I am an ASE-certified Master mechanic with 30 years of Cadillac dealer experience, and I can't tell you how many oil economy tests I have performed on customers' cars equipped with the infamous HT4100, HT4500, HT4900 engines. I hope this information will shed some light on oil economy usage.
All modern engines use oil; one quart per every 1,000 miles is the industry standard. But some use more than others, and here is the main reason why: As manufacturers look for ways to increase fuel economy, one solution is to reduce internal engine drag from the pistons going up and down in the cylinders. So, they reduced the amount of tension on the piston rings, thereby enabling the pistons to move more freely and, thus, the engine to operate more efficiently. But less tension on the rings can result in more oil sneaking past them.
A: In other words, folks, check your oil levels regularly.
Air bag ABCs
Q: Your comment about the minimum amount of space (10 inches) to have between the steering wheel and the driver prompts me to ask about a related issue: Both of my sons-in-law like to drive with their seats tilted back. It has occurred to me that if their airbag deployed, it would hit them in the face rather than the chest. This seems dangerous, both in terms of the injury that it could cause them and the airbag being less effective than it should be.
A: Although deployment takes place in a millisecond, what happens is that the airbag inflates — the reason behind the 10-inch rule — and stays put. The passenger then flies forward into the bag.
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.