Q: Recently my daughter's friend bumped into my 1996 Dodge Dakota and did $1,200 worth of damage. I promised my family and the body shop I would get it fixed. Some people say I should just keep the money. Is that legal? Or just unethical? Or neither?
A: I don't think this is a question of legality or ethics; it's a question of what you want. Do you want your vehicle repaired? Or if it's fully functional and not damaged to the point of being unsafe or illegal to drive, are you OK driving a 17-year-old truck with damage? It's your truck, and the other party is responsible for the cost of repair, but it's your call on whether you have the vehicle fixed. With that said, a promise is a promise.
Q: We have a 2005 Chevy Tahoe. The last couple months the speedometer is sticking. Any suggestions?
A: Contact your Chevrolet dealer, provide the vehicle identification number of your Tahoe and ask if GM's "07187C - Special Coverage Adjustment - Instrument Panel Cluster Gauge Needle Function" covers or applies to your vehicle.
This bulletin identifies a potential issue with instrument cluster needles sticking on a number of 2003-2005 GM trucks and SUVs. The "special coverage adjustment" covers replacing the instrument cluster at no cost on affected vehicles out to seven years or 70,000 miles from the original date the vehicle was put in service. For vehicles with mileage in the 70,000-80,000 range, GM will provide the instrument cluster at no cost, but not the labor.
Paul Brand, author of "How to Repair Your Car," is a former race-car driver. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Explain the problem in detail and include a daytime phone number. Due to the volume of mail, he cannot provide personal replies.