Q: I purchased a used 2019 Ford pickup with 11,000 miles on it. As I was driving on I-80 at 70 mph, suddenly the front end started to vibrate. I was able to pull over. The next day while driving 55 mph on a 2-lane highway, the truck started to vibrate so badly that the steering wheel pulled out of my hands. The next thing I knew I was in the other lane; fortunately, no one was coming. We still had 50 miles to get home, so I drove about 35 mph.

I called the dealer and they said Ford knew about it but did not issue a recall. It’s the steering damper and they will not have a replacement part for about two to three months. The dealer had to put in an aftermarket part.


— R.Y., Varna, Ill.

A: Steering wobble goes back as far as 1965 when Ford introduced the twin I-beam front suspension and steering dampers (stabilizers) probably go back as far. Like a shock absorber, the damper can wear out or suffer damage. I have heard rumors of a class action suit for the wobble issue. I encourage readers to replace the steering damper at the first sign of wobble.

Q: I use a tool with a swivel on my car’s windshield to clean it. It really works, but I have yet to find a product that will remove the film on the inside of the windshield. Can you help? I have tried all the standard products.

— Addison, Ill.

A: That insidious film comes from outgassing. Much of it comes from the vinyl on the dash, but there are plenty of outside sources. The newer the car, the quicker the film returns. I prefer to use automotive glass cleaners such as Invisible Glass, Meguiar’s or others. After repairing a bulls-eye chip on my windshield, the Safelite tech gave me a can of the company’s cleaner, which also did a good job. Household cleaners don’t seem to work as well.

Tip: after cleaning the glass, polish it with a dry microfiber cloth or crumpled-up newspaper. Don’t try this with a digital newspaper, though.

Q: I own a 2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake (wagon). At my last service in December 2019 with 20,538 miles on the odometer, the service manager recommended that I need rear brakes soon. I never owned a car that needed the brakes (rear or front) replaced until at least 50,000-plus miles. As a matter of fact, my wife’s Mercedes CLK 350 is running 70,000 miles and still has the original brakes.

The service manager said that it is very common for Jaguar vehicles to need new brakes between 20,000-25,000 miles. Is he just trying to make some quick money off me ($900 is the cost) or is there any truth to this, and why the rear brakes? I usually have had to replace the front brakes first.

— F.H., Allentown, Pa.

A: The front brakes do most of the braking, even more so on front-wheel-drive cars. So, you are right in suspecting something sounds fishy. Take your vehicle to another shop, perhaps an independent repair shop, and ask for an inspection. You may discover that it’s a little diagnostic money well spent.

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