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Backyard Mechanic Articles

  • New vehicles more complicated, but more reliable

    QUESTION: Regarding the new 10-speed Ford transmission, would these be repairable or throwaway products given the mechanics of these units? I have never had to have an automatic transmission repaired in the 45-plus years I have been driving. Good luck or regularly servicing the unit may have been the reason. …

    April 13, 2017

  • The Toyota Prius has been an industry leader for more than 15 years
    The vehicle that made green driving cool

    Almost all the automotive manufacturers offer hybrid models in their vehicle lineup, but if you say hybrid to many drivers, they often think of the Toyota Prius first, helped possibly by the distinctive styling (at the time) that distinguished it from the other vehicles on the road. Although the Prius …

    April 7, 2017

  • A slew of features separates this beast of a truck from the pack
    The Raptor's mighty roar

    Ford’s redesigned 2017 Raptor has already won numerous awards — and its aggressive appearance certainly attacts attention — but it is what is "beneath the shine" that really puts the Raptor at the top of the high-performance truck category. Built for Baja racing based on a production F150 frame and …

    March 31, 2017

  • Question: I’ve had the theory to do the following to try to improve mileage and could use input from you on the matter. When starting out in my car, I speed up for a couple seconds to put the transmission into the highest/higher gear so when I am cruising down …

    March 31, 2017

  • It might seem like overkill, but the new transmission works wonders
    Ford breaks new ground with 10-speed automatic

    Six-speed automatic transmissions have become common in many vehicles, with Chrysler and Mercedes offering 8-speeds in many products, but if you had asked me if we needed a 10-speed transmission, I would have answered no, that it was overkill — until I tried out the world’s first volume-production 10-speed automatic …

    March 10, 2017

  • 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

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