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Q: Every couple of years, my 2014 Buick Regal's positive battery terminal develops corrosion, gets very hot and will not crank the engine. I have to remove the battery cable to clean corrosion powder off the terminal and cable end before the engine will crank. Is the battery cable terminal end material the problem?

A: The heat is likely due to high electrical resistance as the voltage tries to break through the corrosion. After cleaning the terminal and cable clamp (which itself is unlikely the problem) and rinsing them with baking soda solution followed by plain water, coat the connection. Grease is an old standby, but I prefer products specifically designed for the job. If everything returns to normal after cleaning, the cable and clamp are fine.

Hazard warning

Q: One of my pet peeves is motorists who turn on their hazard flashers in a heavy rain. All it does is distract other drivers and lower overall visibility. Do you agree?

A: I haven't heard of this practice and would not be a fan of it. Hazard flashers should be judiciously used when there is ... a hazard. I'm thinking of things like trucks climbing a hill below 40 miles per hour on an interstate, or when there's heavy fog, or when broken down and on the shoulder.

Taking it easy

Q: We bought a new car this year. In the past, it was recommended that we drive a new car about 500 miles around town in stop-and-go traffic before taking any long highway trips. Does that recommendation still hold?

A: In the olden days you had to break in the engine like a new pair of cowboy boots. Today, tolerances are so precise that old fashioned break-ins usually are not required. Having said that, I still drive a new engine gently, accelerating gradually and varying speed regularly both around town and on the highway. No wonder my boots feel so good.

The more the merrier?

Q: I have a 2006 Toyota 4 Runner with 180,000 miles. It is an eight-cylinder, which I use for towing a boat, among other things. The check engine light came on, and my shop mechanics, who are very trustworthy, said that the issue is an emissions problem caused by a faulty catalytic converter. There are four on that vehicle. They estimated a cost as high as $8,000 to repair the problem. The blue book value for this truck is around $9,000. The truck runs very well, and I'd be hard pressed to replace it for under $11,000, and that would be for a vehicle more than 12 years old and at risk of developing the same problem. What would you suggest?

A: I don't know about your mechanics, but if one light bulb burns out in my house, I don't replace them all. Seek a second opinion.

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