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Backyard Mechanic Articles

  • If only automakers banded together to create the perfect vehicle
    One piece at a time

    We buy a vehicle because we like its features, styling, power, colour and price. The perfect vehicle would attract us for all these reasons. So far, I haven't found the perfect vehicle. When I do, here are some features it would surely include.Honda's Lanewatch Blind Spot Display is an enhancement …

    July 24, 2015

  • Question: I have a 2003 Nissan Sentra with a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine. I recently had to replace the hood latch. But when I replaced the latch, I forgot to reattach the hood release cable. How can I open the hood where the release cable is disconnected. Thanks.A: Don't you hate …

    July 24, 2015

  • Predicting the future is difficult. If it were easy, we would all be wealthy, healthy and wise. In the automotive business, predicting the future correctly can mean the difference between a profitable company and bankruptcy. History reminds us of many great automobile companies such as Packard and Auburn that are …

    July 10, 2015

  • Question: I recently purchased a 2005 Toyota Tacoma TRD pickup with a four-litre engine and six-speed manual. The transfer case goes in and out of two-high to four-high no problem, but four-low is a different story. It needs coaxing to go in by backing up and going forward but once …

    July 3, 2015

  • Vehicle maintenance key to trouble-free motoring

    Spring is officially over and summer is finally here. Whether it is a trip across the country, a weekend at the lake or even trips around town to attend summer festivals, we depend on our vehicles to get us there. Usually they perform great, but the further you are away …

    June 26, 2015

  • Fuel economy will suffer, engine could leave you stranded
    It's all in the timing; change the chain

    Q. I have a 1998 Chevrolet Silverado pickup with a V-8 engine and when I took it in to the local repair shop for a tune-up, the mechanic told me the timing chain is worn and should be replaced. My questions are: How does he determine that the chain is …

    June 19, 2015

  • New fuel from Shell helps keep engine clean

    Gasolines are not created equal, and your engine knows it. Testing by Environment Canada shows that while most gasoline sold in Canada meets the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards for levels of deposit control additives (DCA), not all do.Note that Canada does not have minimum standards for deposit control …

    June 19, 2015

  • Question: Does it make sense to switch over to synthetic oil for my regular oil changes if my vehicle does not require it? Will it enhance performance or extend the life of my car's engine? Will it harm or hamper an older vehicle's engine (2010) performance if it was not …

    June 5, 2015

  • Question:I have a 2003 Chevrolet S10 with the 4.3-litre V-6 engine. It runs rough, uses a lot of fuel, and when I took out the sparkplugs, they all appear black but No. 1 sparkplug was the blackest. I installed new sparkplugs but the problem still remains. Any suggestions?A: It sounds …

    May 29, 2015

  • Q: I have a 1997 Chevy pickup truck with a 305 V-8 engine. The truck refuses to start after rainy weather. It will whirl over until the battery goes dead. I spray everything I can think of with WD-40 and after a five-minute wait, away she goes! The engine then …

    May 22, 2015

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