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Robert Weber mug shot. Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008.

Robert Weber mug shot. Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008. (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Q: I am an 83-year-old lady who is having a problem with a brake light coming on on my dash. I brought it to two mechanics. They gave my car a going over, and each said there is nothing wrong with the brakes or the pads. They thought maybe I had my hand brake up a little. After I left them my brake light did not appear.

Now when I start the car, the brake light comes on, so I turn the car off. When I start it again it does not come on and stays off for that day. Can you give me an idea what might be wrong? The brakes feel fine, but I am apprehensive to drive the car.

- C.R., Chicago

A: The parking brake may be triggering the light. Jiggle it to see if the light goes off. Another possibility is the brake fluid level sensor. If the fluid is low, the light may come on briefly. If the level checks out full, the sensor may be the culprit.

Q: I own a car that came equipped with wider tires on the rear than the ones on the front. The dealer service rep said that there is no benefit to exchanging tires left-to-right (in lieu of normal rotation). The manual is silent on this issue. I'd like your opinion.

- R.R., Lisle, Illinois

A: Although you might be able to swap the tires right to left, there is not a whole lot of advantage in doing so. In some cases, this is not even an option. If you look closely, you may find that the tires may be directional.

Look for an arrow denoting the tire's rotation when driving. If so, the right wheel will be going clockwise and the left counter clockwise when driving forward. (My apologies to those who can only tell time with their smartphones.)

Q: I come from the school that you were supposed to turn the key on before cranking over the engine, in order to give the fuel pump time to start flowing. I have my very first push-button car (2019 Trax), and there is no way to do this. I assume the engine can handle it, or they wouldn't make it, but I notice an issue when I first drive the car for the day. As I start to accelerate, the engine seems to lurch and almost stall a bit before it settles in and drives smoothly.

Could it have something to do with the quick engine turnover from the push-button? I'm not even sure how I can have the dealer check it, since it only happens after the car's been sitting for about 12 hours, and only that first drive.

- J.K., Grayslake, Illinois

A: Not to worry. In the past, it took a couple seconds for the fuel pump to pressurize the system. Even if you didn't wait, the engine started rather quickly. With today's technology, engines often start within one revolution of the crankshaft.

Push the start button (no need to continue pressing; just poke it once) and the engine seems to magically flash to life faster than Harry Potter's wand. The starting system is probably fine. But during initial warmup, the transmission may hunt a little and that is OK, too. An option is to leave the car overnight so the tech can experience the behavior.

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ABOUT THE WRITER

Bob Weber is a writer and mechanic who became an ASE-certified Master Automobile Technician in 1976. He maintains this status by seeking certification every five years. Weber's work appears in professional trade magazines and other consumer publications. His writing also appears in automotive trade publications, Consumer Guide and Consumers Digest.

Send questions along with name and town to Motormouth, Rides, Chicago Tribune, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Fourth Floor, Chicago, IL 60611 or motormouth.tribune@gmail.com.

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