I have a 2006 Tacoma, V6, six-speed, with 45K on it. Recently the airbag light came on, flickered, went out, then came on again and did not go out. Looked at my manual, which says it needs a trip to the dealer. Went to the dealer.

QUESTION: I have a 2006 Tacoma, V6, six-speed, with 45K on it. Recently the airbag light came on, flickered, went out, then came on again and did not go out. Looked at my manual, which says it needs a trip to the dealer. Went to the dealer. They diagnosed it as a “spiral cable,” said the air bag would not deploy in the present condition and I could not get a Massachusetts inspection sticker. I agree with all that. I had it fixed for roughly $580. I believe that Toyota should pay for that or at least help me with the cost. The dealer said no. So I spoke to the GM at the dealer. He said he could do nothing. I had him call the area rep. She said no, also. I will move up the food chain with my complaint. To me this is a safety item and as an owner there is nothing I could do to wear this part out and I feel it’s a Toyota problem. I have spoken to Joe Shortsleeve at the Channel 4 I-Team to see if they can help and I have been thinking of writing a letter to the Massachusetts attorney general. Do you have any advice? By the way, I love my truck and my only complaint is the frame is rusty and less than optimum fuel mileage.


ANSWER: As you know, I tell it like I see it in every answer. I work for my readers and my wife. As for your 5-year-old truck, even with low miles, I honestly think this is your problem, not Toyota’s. If Toyota wanted to help, a partial payment would be a good gesture. Yes, the air bag system is a safety item, and should be repaired. As for the state inspection, the air bag, like ABS brake system, has to be functioning as designed. All of today’s vehicles have a lot of electronics. There are always going to be some problems along the way. As for the rusty frame Toyota did have a major recall on a lot on truck frames. Check your VIN number with the dealer for any recall information.


QUESTION: I recently purchased a 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4x4 and I would like to use it in the sand at the beach. There is no way for you to actually put the Jeep in four-wheel drive, therefore I feel it’s more all-wheel drive considering the Jeep controls everything automatically. In the manual it stated for sand to turn the electronic stability (ESP) off. Is this the same as traction control? I am nervous about sand and have a fear of getting stuck. Could you please give me your opinion if turning the ESP off will allow Jeep to go through sand at the beach?


ANSWER: The all-wheel drive system needs no driver’s input. Shutting the ESP system will give the driver full control without any traction control assistance. Yes, you can take the Jeep off-roading, including the beach. Make sure you wash off the sand after each trip to the beach to help prevent corrosion.


QUESTION: My boyfriend recently purchased a new 2010 Mercury Mountaineer. He’s having a problem with the brake pedal being too small and his foot often slips off of it. Do you know if Mercury, or anyone for that matter, makes a larger pedal to correct this problem?


ANSWER: I get questions on both brake and gas pedals not designed for the individual driver, not to mention the seat is too low or will not go far enough forward or backwards. I have never seen a new car dealer that would alter the factory placement, because of the liability. You will have to find an independent shop that will make the modification. You can also check with companies that modify vehicles for special-needs persons as well. This should not be a big deal or expense.


QUESTION: I have a 2000 Chevy Blazer with a gas gauge that acts as if I’m driving through a magnetic field. When I put the transmission shifter in park or neutral, the gauge needle goes back and forth from E to F continuously. When I put the shifter in drive, it will register a tank of gas from full to halfway only. After that, it stay at the halfway mark. I must use my trip odometer so I do not run out of gas. Someone told me it is an electronic problem and will cost around $1,000 to fix. What does the transmission shifter have to do with the fuel sensing gauge? Can I fix this myself?


ANSWER: The first step is to connect a professional scan tool to the vehicle and look at the actual information the fuel sender unit is sending to the computer. A very common problem is the dash cluster. We take them out and send them out to be repaired on a weekly basis. The cost is in the $350 range for the majority of dash clusters regardless of the make of vehicles. If the problem is the fuel sender the cost should be around $600 on average for a replacement module.


Junior Damato writes weekly about cars. You can send questions to him care of the Old Colony Memorial, 182 Standish Ave., Plymouth, MA 02360.