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'Inside lane' has no official definition

Is the curb lane or the left-most lane in your direction officially considered the inside lane?

Q: Is the curb lane or the left-most lane in your direction officially considered the “inside” lane?

A: Ontario Transportation Ministry spokesperson Bob Nichols replies:

There is no official designation of an “inside lane.”

The provincial Highway Traffic Act does not use the terminology “inside, outside or curb lanes.”

The Public Transportation and Highway Improvement Act does not refer to “lanes.”

The MTO engineering practice is to number traffic lanes from the left side out, for each direction of travel. This is also the numbering system used to identify lanes in traffic collision reports.

Q: My 1999 Cadillac DeVille d’Elegance, which has a massaging front bench seat, needs to be replaced.

Can you suggest some new or used autos with a comparable seat and ride? I can’t tolerate bucket seats because of a back injury.

A: GM of Canada spokesperson Natalie Nankil replies:

The Cadillac DTS sedan offers a front bench seat.

Your reader should also consider the Buick Lucerne and Allure, as well as the Chevrolet Impala, all of which provide a bench and the type of ride required.

A front bench is normally a no-charge option, but that can vary by car line.

Wheels’ chief auto reviewer, Jim Kenzie, adds:

On the used-car market, I’d recommend trying a Buick Park Avenue.

My old Chevy Suburban had split-bench front seats, so check out some of the bigger SUVs.

In previous years, the Lincoln Town Car and Mercury Grand Marquis offered a heated bench (but no massage). But for 2008, they and the Ford Crown Victoria, the Grand’s twin, are only sold as fleet cars in Canada.

Many back-pain sufferers favour supportive individual seats like those in Volvos. I’d suggest giving these a try.

My wife has a portable Obus-Forme backrest that she finds useful.

Eric Lai adds:

Portable seat pads and back-supporting cushions, some with optional heat and/or massage, can be added to any vehicle.

Q: My mechanic installed lug nuts with an impact wrench and a long socket, but said they were torqued to spec. Is this possible?

A: The long socket was likely what’s called a “torque stick.”

These are specialized impact wrench attachments that stop tightening once the predetermined torque value – as imprinted on each torque-stick – is reached.

Shops without torque sticks may use a conventional torque wrench for the final tightening.

When done correctly, either method is safe and acceptable.

There are, of course, countless ways to do things wrong, particularly with inferior, damaged or improperly calibrated tools.


Email non-mechanical questions to Eric Lai at [email protected]. Include year, make, model and km of autos cited, plus your name, address and phone number.

Letters may be edited. Letter volume prevents personal replies.

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