– D.M., Chicago

A: This is a problem common to the Element and CR-V. At the front of the seat there is a link between the seat rail and seat frame where two bushings wear out. At the rear of the seat, there is another bushing. That makes six bushings for both sides. Replacing the bushings and installing new nuts is straightforward. But if you have been driving with worn bushings for a long time, the holes in the seat frame may have become elongated or "hogged out." Instead of replacing the frame, perhaps a welder could repair the damage.

Q: If Fix-A-Flat and similar products are a temporary repair to allow the motorist to get home safely, what does the motorist then do if he doesn't have a spare? It would seem that it might be more sensible to drive to the nearest service station. I feel rather strongly that spare tires, even temporary spare tires, should definitely be provided, either instead of, or in addition to, the tire sealant and inflator.

– R.B., Wilmette, Ill.

A: Yes, it makes more sense to drive to the nearest service station or tire store after a flat has been inflated. But driving the car home is still an option. Emergency inflation usually works for at least several days. Some motorists even forget that the tire should be serviced. In efforts to trim the weight of vehicles, carmakers are removing spares. Unfortunately, the spare tire is going the way of the inner tube.

Q: I have tried several different compasses in my car. They work fine outside, but once inside they do not work. The dealership offered to install a factory compass for $250 but they could not explain the problem with the others. I have an automatic light system, electric driver seat and the usual electronics. Can you help?

– L.L., Chicago

A: Traditional compasses rely on the magnetic field generated at the North Pole. The magnet of the compass is drawn toward this field and always points north. Put another magnetic field, or enough iron, between the compass and the North Pole and the compass will not work.

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 automotive questions along with name and town to motormouth.tribverizon.net.