Question: I need your advice about the 2014 Subaru Outback that we recently bought from a dealer. I went to check the oil and saw that the positive and negative battery terminals were full of white corrosion. The dealer cleaned it up. A week later I found the same corrosion. I purchased felt circles and grease. I cleaned the corrosion and used baking soda. This lasted through the winter. I checked again the other day and the positive terminal is corroded again. What is causing this? What can I do to fix it?
— A.P., Chicago
Answer: The corrosion is due to venting from the battery. Those felt washers placed around the battery terminals seem to work somewhat. And covering the battery terminals with grease is an old favorite for keeping the connections protected, but we like to use aerosol battery terminal protector or aerosol disc brake quiet that gets into the nooks and crannies. Since it is unlikely you will ever use up a whole can, ask nicely and your local shop may give you a courtesy spritz.
Q: I’ve owned six Honda Accords. Regarding your column about front-end steering wheel vibrations, your front-end solution is right on, but I found another answer when my independent mechanic friend asked me, “Was this steering vibration on a highway or local roads?” Only on highways, I answered. He said: “This may be due to the tire ruts from the many heavy vehicles riding in the same lane patterns. When this happens again, try to move your vehicle just out of the same lane ruts, and if the vibration ends, it’s the road, not your suspension.” He nailed it! No more issues for my car. Keep up the great writing. I enjoy your knowledge and experience.
— D.M., Chicago
A: Knowledge and experience come from learning, and lots of learning comes from readers like you. Thank you.
Q: My wife drove a BMW 3 Series for 13 years and had no issues with the car. When the 4 Series two-door was introduced, she fell in love but is now in a bad relationship. The seat belt catches her in either the neck or the jaw. She is 5 feet 6 inches tall. Her test drive was in the winter, and she surmises her coat probably held the seat belt and she didn’t notice the problem. She called her salesman, and he responded that plenty of people have the same problem. This seems like something everyone planning to buy a 4 Series should know, as BMW has no solution. She has less than 1,000 miles on the car.
— C.W., Upper Darby
A: We have experienced the same problem in various cars and trucks we have driven. There are devices that alleviate the chafing, and our favorite is a simple, wool-like wrap-around that slips around the belt and closes with a hook-and-loop (Velcro) fastener. Check your local auto-parts store.
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