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Backyard Mechanic Articles

  • While public transportation, bicycles or walking may be an option for some of us, most of people use their vehicles regularly. Probably the most noticeable expense of vehicle operation is fuel, but there are ways to reduce those costs. The first item on your list for saving fuel is to check …

    February 24, 2017

  • Question: I have a theft deterrent query. I have a 2001 Impala, which I bought second-hand. Everything I googled says Impalas have a Passlock system that works through the ignition switch but I also have a plastic red bullet-shaped fob on the key ring and I am wondering if I …

    February 17, 2017

  • Question: I have a 2002 Mazda MPV with a 3.0-litre, six-cylinder engine. Recently, when I pulled the oil filler cap, the little bit of oil that was on the inside of the cap appeared to be very light in colour. It was approaching the colour of milk. However, the oil …

    February 3, 2017

  • Keep headlights clear with these simple steps

    Long winter nights can hide a number of road hazards, from potholes to abandoned vehicles. Vision is critical to safe nighttime driving, but over the course of time, many vehicle headlights become clouded or yellow. This is caused partially by UV rays from the sun on the plastic lenses so …

    January 27, 2017

  • What to replace? An expensive part or the whole car?

    Question: I have been told by the dealership that my 283,244-kilometre 2009 Nissan Sentra 2.0 SL needs a timing chain and it will cost me $2,500 (parts and labour). Considering the year, is it worth replacing or should I just cut my losses? Also, can I trade it in as …

    January 20, 2017

  • Engine noise grows louder as Sunfire speeds up

    Question: I have a 2004 Sunfire with 220,000 kilometres. I have a quiet engine until I hit 65 kilometres per hour. From 65 to 100 km/h the engine loudness increases dramatically. What are possible causes? — DougAnswer: This is an unusual question and symptom, but let’s look at possible causes. Noise …

    December 9, 2016

  • Car audio systems reaching new heights music to motorists' ears

    Whether it be rock ’n’ roll, rap, classical, country or audio books, everyone has their own favourite type of entertainment — and we spend hundreds of hours a year in our vehicles listening to them. The car radio has undergone a tremendous change, especially in the past few years, and …

    December 2, 2016

  • How to keep your battery charged during winter months

    It’s that time of the year again when outside temperatures turn cooler, sunlight hours are shorter and we drive to and from work mostly in the dark part of the day.Vehicle electrical systems are put to the test as we use the vehicle lights, defrosters, heaters, wipers and other high-tech …

    November 18, 2016

  • ANYONE who has a home computer or a smartphone — and that’s almost everybody these days — has experienced the dreaded and continuous "upgrades." What many don’t realize is how much of our vehicles operate on an amazing amount of electronics, from fuel injection systems to accident avoidance systems. There …

    November 4, 2016

  • Worn joints likely cause of strange clicking noise

    Question: There’s been a worrisome clicking noises in my 2013 Mazda3 that worry me a bit. The noise sounds almost like an old mechanical typewriter. The car ticks away rhythmically, but only when I turn a corner. If I’m driving faster, it will tick faster. When I’m driving straight down …

    October 28, 2016

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