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Dear Abby: We rented a car while we were on vacation. Most of the newer cars have all kinds of high-tech equipment and devices – different kinds for different models of vehicles. The problem is the instruction booklets that describe how the equipment operates are never provided with the cars.

Why don’t the rental agencies provide the instruction manuals, or at least a pamphlet summarizing the procedures? Surely not many people would steal them, since they’re just using the cars for a short time.

– Car Renter in Charlottesville, Va.

Dear Car Renter: What you’re describing is also true with loaner cars that are offered when a vehicle is being serviced. I am pretty sure the reason those items are not provided is fear that they would be stolen.

However, I agree that knowing how to operate the radio, heating, air-conditioning and street map functions on the newer cars can be confusing – which is why you should ask to have the pertinent pages of the manual photocopied so you can refer to them as needed.

Friend died of flu

Dear Abby: My best friend died from the flu in November. She was only 63 and had been my friend for 23 years. She died because she insisted to all her friends that she was “fine” and didn’t need to see a doctor.

Now we’re kicking ourselves for not getting her the help she obviously needed. Abby, please tell your readers that when a friend or family member is sick enough to cause this kind of concern, to ignore the person and get her (or him) to a doctor!

– Devastated in Tarzana, Calif.

Dear Devastated: I’m sorry for the loss of your friend. But none of you should blame yourselves for what happened to her; she made an unwise choice. It is not unusual for people who experience serious symptoms to go into a state of denial. But unless your friend was experiencing extreme respiratory distress or an unusually high fever, she might have recovered from that virus without intervention.