Motormouth: Stop the theft of catalytic converters |


Q: I recently read about several thefts of catalytic converters. My Toyota dealership advertises a theft protection shield. What are your thoughts? Does this shield prevent access for maintenance of the car?

GR, Morton Grove, Illinois

A: While the catalytic converter shield doesn’t stop thieves from getting what they want, it certainly slows them down. And speed is the name of the game for cat thieves, so any obstacle sends them off to find a mark easier. Since the cat is not a maintenance item, routine service is not hampered.

Q: I loved your comment on the oil change intervals. No one reads their manual unless they can change the time on the clock twice a year. I have read our manuals religiously for years. Our vehicles have the oil dipstick accessible by touching buttons on the steering wheel. And in the manual, it is clearly stated to change your oil every year or less. The oil checker generally showed the oil life to decrease to around 15,000 miles. The interesting conversations I have had with children at oil change points stating that I am voiding my warranty are a story for another day. None could find in our manual where it says to change the oil every 3,000 miles. Reading the manual is a lot more fun than a lot of novels, and it saves you money. Thanks for pointing that out.

SL, Christmas, Florida

A: Thank you for supporting me.

Q: I recently had my mechanic put new struts on my 2010 Toyota Matrix I bought used almost two years ago with 80,000 miles. He put on Excel-G KYB struts. They took the advantage of his difficult ride, but after 3-4 months it looks like he is riding as before. Which give?

GE, Evanston, Illinois

A: The struts you installed are the same as the original equipment units that came from the factory on the vehicle. Sometimes, the perception that motorists have of the quality of driving changes. Sometimes there may be a product problem. KYB is user-friendly, and you can email your concerns to [email protected]

Q: Can having a tire of a different size than the other three cause the TPMS to malfunction, or at least show a malfunction? They haven’t been able to figure out why the light keeps coming on. The tires are all good, the system seems to be working well. It’s the only other thing I can think of.

KM, Willowbrook, Illinois

A: You did not specify the make and model of your car, but unmatched tires could be a problem. While most cars have tire pressure sensors fitted to their wheels, others rely on ABS (anti-lock braking system) to signal if one wheel is spinning faster or slower than the others. Unsurpassed tires signal uneven rotational speeds and this triggers the warning light.


(Bob Weber is a writer and mechanic who became an ASE Certified Master Automotive Technician in 1976. He maintains that status by seeking certification every five years. Weber’s work appears in trade magazines and other mainstream publications. His writings also appear in auto trade publications, Consumer Guide and Consumer Compendium.

Send your questions with name and city to [email protected])

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