Q. Dear Tom and Ray:

My car has spots of rust. Please teach me the best way to treat it. I've retouched it, but it continues to spread. A friend told me to sand off the rust and then retouch it. I think that only created scratches. Next thing I was told was to put a dab of wax over the rust. That just seemed to collect water and make it worse. Now another guy just tells me, "Body shop, body shop!" The spots are still small. Is there any way for me to fix this without taking it to the body shop?


A. RAY: Rust is tough, Chika. And it never sleeps, as they say. Truly, the best way to fix it is to take it to a body shop and have the spot ground down to the metal, filled with body filler, reprimed and then painted. But that is expensive, and it may not be worth it on an older car or a car you don't plan to keep for a long time.

TOM: It also may not work. The rust may eventually come back, since it's such a sneaky little substance.

RAY: The only "home consumer" product we've ever had any real success with is called Extend. Extend is a white, paint-like product that bonds to the rust. And as it bonds to the rust, it turns black.

TOM: And once it turns black it serves as a primer coat, which you can then paint over. It's worked great on my barbecue grill over the years. I've got 125,000 rust-free burgers on the thing now.

RAY: Of course, since the primer is black, you'll need about 16 coats of touch-up paint to even start to cover it up. So don't expect the end product to be showroom perfect.

TOM: But if your objective is to slow the corrosion, Extend is probably your best home remedy. Good luck, Chika.

Dear Tom and Ray:

I read your column every week, and am writing to you with an urgent plea for help with my almost-new Toyota Camry V-6 LE. At speeds of 40 mph and above, the car sounds like it's going through a wind tunnel. There is a tremendous amount of wind noise and turbulence, which seems to be coming from the front and sides of the car. I have taken my car to two different Toyota dealerships, and nothing satisfactory has been done to eliminate this horrible noise. Both dealerships have told me, "It is unfortunate, but sometimes wind noise cannot be corrected." I find this totally unacceptable. This is the sixth new Toyota that I have owned, and this is my first major problem. Can you please help me?


TOM: The best way we can help you, Betty, is by printing your letter. We agree with you. This is unacceptable. And I'm willing to bet people higher up at Toyota think this is unacceptable, too.

RAY: There's no question about it, wind noises can be very hard to find. But on a new car like this one, the dealer is obligated to find it and fix it for you. You may have to leave it with them for a week or two so they can experiment with some high-tech diagnostic instruments, such as duct tape and foam rubber.

TOM: But they can't just say, "Tough luck, lady. We know you spent 20 grand on a car, you just can't drive it over 40 mph, okay?"

RAY: Honda Accords had a wind noise problem, and it turned out to be the seal on the windshield. Other companies have had side-view mirrors, doors, seals and roof racks that caught the wind and made noise. It's usually not a hard problem to fix. It's just hard to find.

TOM: Call your dealership and ask for the name and number of the "zone manager." The zone manager is one step up from the dealerships. I'm sure he'll intervene and help you get this fixed. If not, write back, and we'll embarrass Toyota again.

Got a question about cars? Write to Click and Clack in care of this newspaper.

(C) 1999 by Tom and Ray Magliozzi and Doug Berman