Q: I bought a 2012 Ford Escape. About three years later, it would not start. I went to the auto parts store and bought a new battery. A month later, same thing. I went back and they gave me a new battery. Three weeks later, same thing. This time I took it to a garage. They took off the starter and cleaned it. I had no problem after that. Have you heard of anything like this?
A: It's not unprecedented. What occurred is that they cleaned the connections. Dirty, corroded connections create resistance that won't allow enough current to pass to run the starter. Checking the ground connections often works wonders, too.
Trick the crooks
Q: I read your column two weeks ago about cleaning out the navigation system when selling your auto. Instead of putting my home address in my system, I use the address of our local police station. It is close enough to our house for calculating time and distance. And if a crooked new owner thinks he's going to visit our house, the system will lead him to the police.
CD players do exist
Q: In a recent column, a reader was looking for a vehicle that has a CD player. You said they mostly don't exist. But according to Subaru.com, all Forester models have them. It's standard on the Outback Touring and the Outback Limited XT offers it as an option. And, no, I don't work for Subaru.
A: Thanks to you, and several other readers, I learned that a Subaru, Lexus, GM truck and Lincoln Corsair all offer a CD player.
Spare yourself the spare
Q: I recently got a flat tire when the sidewall was torn on my 2018 Fusion Hybrid. When I opened the trunk, I discovered I had only a portable compressor. My Ford dealer said that there was no mini spare made for my model. I could purchase a less expensive rim and tire for my car should I need a spare. But if I do that, it would take up half the limited space in the trunk. Is there any solution other than a regular tire?
A: The portable compressor is significant to fix a flat — most of the time — because most tires are flattened by punctures, not sidewall damage. One way to avoid a repeat of your problem is to sign up with a road service provider. (Check your insurance policy first. You already might have towing coverage.) Because the likelihood of needing a spare is low, buying a full-size tire and rim is not worth it.
Short-circuited device advice
Q: I have a bone to pick with your recent column about small battery devices being able to jump-start only four-cylinder engines. I have a Halo Bolt device, and I have used it several times to jump-start my six-cylinder Nissan Pathfinder.
A: A few other readers reported using one of the newer power packs to start larger engines. I have had my unit for a few years. I guess it's time for a replacement.
Bob Weber is a writer, mechanic and ASE-certified Master Automobile Technician. His writing has appeared in automotive trade publications, Consumer Guide and Consumers Digest. Send automotive questions along with name and town to email@example.com.