Q: My 2015 Honda Accord is having random starting problems. The brake pedal is too stiff to depress and then pushing the start button proves useless. Usually, this condition self-corrects after several minutes of waiting. This happens randomly following no discernible pattern. My long-time trusty mechanic is thoroughly flummoxed by the problem and, reluctantly, has referred me to the dealer. Before I approach the dealer, can you help?
A: There is most likely a problem with the brake booster. The booster provides the power for power brakes. With the engine off, the booster should have enough residual vacuum boost for two or three power pedal pushes. The culprit is probably the booster or its check valve.
Q: I was in Wisconsin over the weekend, and happened upon unleaded gas that had no ethanol in it. Of course it was a bit more expensive than the ethanol version, but I also got over 10% better gas mileage. Knowing that ethanol gas is really not the best for engines, and that farmers should probably stop growing all that corn anyway, will consumers in Illinois soon be given the option of purchasing ethanol free gas? I would love it!
A: Don’t hold your breath. Chicago is one of EPA’s Metropolitan Statistical Areas that must comply with the requirement to sell only oxygenated fuels. In other words, areas with pollution problems can’t sell pure gasoline.
Q: I bought my father-in-law’s 2010 Ford Fusion, since he can no longer drive. The headrests are fixed forward at a 30 degree angle, making it impossible for me to sit without my head forced forward at an uncomfortable angle, which restricts my view of the road. If I angle the seat back far enough to get my head erect, there is a large gap between my back and the seat. Raising and lowering the headrest does not help. I contacted my local Ford dealer, and they suggested ordering a 2013 headrest to see if it would fit, but they are unwilling to take the part back if it doesn’t. Do you or your readers have a solution? Is there an aftermarket headrest available that will do the trick?
M.F., Niantic, Connecticut
A: I believe that the newer headrest may replace the original. Carmakers don’t make major changes on interior items. Making the headrest adjustable is a minor change. But rather than drop big money on a non-returnable part, check out auto parts recycling firms (formerly junk yards) or eBay. We have heard that some owners even turn the headrest backward and reinsert it.
Q: Would you be able to give me some recommendations for either homemade solutions or store bought solutions for clearing up foggy headlight lenses?
R. S., Buffalo Grove, Illinois
A: I have heard homemade hacks ranging from toothpaste to vinegar and baking soda to bug spray. We have tried toothpaste, both regular and gel, and all that it did was give them a fresh minty smell. I did not even try insect repellant because of what it once did to the plastic crystal of my Timex. Save the vinegar and baking soda for a grade school volcano show. I try to avoid endorsements, but I found a website that listed its choices of the best as: 3M Headlight Lens Restoration Kit (with Quick Clear Coat), Meguiar's Heavy Duty Headlight Restoration Kit, Turtle Wax Headlight Lens Restorer Kit, Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit (with UV Block Clear Coat), Mothers NuLens Headlight Renewal Kit and Chemical Guys Headlight Restore and Protect.©2021 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.