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Backyard Mechanic Articles

  • 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

  • What was once a simple mechanism to turn our wheels has become much more sophisticate

    Electric power steering assist now dominates the market instead of the belt-driven hydraulic power steering. Infiniti even has a car where each front wheel can steer independently to assist the driver with sloping roads and crosswinds, and corner for the best stability. If you go shopping for a new vehicle, …

    October 21, 2016

  • Do you change your oil too often?

    QUESTION: I keep hearing that synthetic oil is better and lasts longer than regular oil. If this is so, why does the manufacturer of my vehicle require an oil change every four months or 8,000 kilometres? After one year I still haven’t reached 8,000 km and was required to have four …

    October 21, 2016

  • Question: I would like your opinion on additives such as injector cleaners, oil enhancers, etc., under brand names such as Duralube or Lucas as examples. Do they actually work? Are there any benefits to using these products in your vehicle? Thanks, Fred Answer: There has always been controversy about claims made by specialty …

    September 30, 2016

  • The snowy season can be rough on vehicles, so it's best to have them in great shape before it gets too cold

    Daylight hours are getting shorter, the harvest is well underway and the night air is getting cooler. While we hope winter waits a while, and I, optimistically, am sure it will, winter weather will be on us before we realize. Now is the time to get your vehicles prepared for …

    September 23, 2016

  • QUESTION: I was wondering what your thoughts were on ABS brakes when driving on icy roads? I live in a town with several streets on steep hills and when trying to stop or slow down when going down when they are covered with snow or ice there’s no stopping. All …

    September 2, 2016

  • Improve performance, fuel economy by getting rid of engine knock

    Question: Recently, I had a discussion with another Buick owner. I have a 2008 Buick Allure Super and the other party has a 2010 Buick Lucerne Super. Both have the V-8 engines with added performance built by the GM Performance Division. Although the Lucerne has the Northstar engine, in both …

    August 26, 2016

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