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Q: With the advent of adaptive cruise control, do the brake lights come on when the system detects a need to slow down, especially when it is somewhat abrupt?

A: Yes. Anytime the brakes are applied, either by you or the computer, the brake lamps illuminate. Adaptive cruise control will apply the brakes when exceeding the cruise setting when going downhill, and that means that the brake lights will illuminate. But if the car slows down from you lifting your foot from the gas, the brake lights will not come on.

A headrest fix

Q: When my daughter complained about her painful headrest, I suggested taking her car to an auto upholstery shop. They were able to peel off the seat back covers and readjust the headrest.

A: Auto upholstery shops not only can repair ripped, torn and stained stuff, they are the best source of custom work such as rolled and pleated seats. They also often are a less-expensive option than factory installed leather.

Changing lanes

Q: I was using the lane assist feature in my 2020 Civic. The main road took a long sweeping curve to the left, but there was also a Y with a much smaller road straight ahead. The solid white line on the right shoulder was painted about 80% across the smaller road's right lane. When I crossed over the solid white line going straight, the lane assist feature almost ripped the steering wheel out of my hand and slammed on the brakes.

A: Lane departure warning (LDW) systems provide an audible and/or tactile warning. Lane keeping assist (LKA) takes control of the steering. There have been reports of issues with Honda's system. A Honda CR-V owner wrote to Consumer Reports, saying that LKA is unreliable. "A lot of times it refuses to detect the highway lanes, especially at nighttime and even in rainy weather." A Honda Odyssey driver added, "I have found the lane assist feature troublesome. It detects lane departures when there are none and gets confused by some line markings." You can deactivate the Honda lane keeping assist system by pressing the "main" button on the steering wheel until LKAS is displayed.

Enjoy the trip

Q: My wife and I want to take a 3,500-mile road trip in November in our Lexus 470 that has 160,000 miles on it. Although the vehicle has been well maintained, I am concerned about certain parts failing, like the ignition, fuel pump, water pump, hoses, etc. Should we take the vehicle, and if so, what should I have my mechanic do to prepare for the trip?

A: Today, 160,000 miles is nothing. Parts and components typically last at least 200,000 miles. The only thing I would suggest is an oil change, so you won't have to interrupt your trip if the reminder comes on.

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