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Backyard Mechanic Articles

  • Ford's EcoBoost engine the 'litre' of the pack

    One litre is small. Think of one litre of milk. Then think of that container producing enough power to propel a vehicle and passengers down the road, and do it in a spirited manner. Unbelievable, but Ford engineering made a believer out of me when I took a one-litre Ecoboost …

    March 20, 2015

  • Question: I am having problems with our 2010 Nissan Sentra heater. Lots of heat there but it is the fan. It blows out great on the window and vents but when we select the floor, all hot heat blows out the vents only. I had it to our local garage …

    March 13, 2015

  • It's that time of year again, when battery problems start to show up more frequently. The first signs may be a starter motor that cranks over a little slower or headlights dimming when you pull up to a stop sign. If you are unlucky, the first indication may be a …

    February 27, 2015

  • Q. I would like your thoughts on the problem I am having with my truck. I have a 2010 Tacoma 4.0L with 106,000 kilometres on it and suspect there is gas in my engine oil. Two years ago at 30,000 km, I drained the oil and pulled out 7.5 litres …

    February 20, 2015

  • Variable camshaft timing boosts efficiency

    Making the automotive engine more efficient is the goal of many automotive aficionados, whether they're building a race car, working as an engineer on a new engine design or an everyday driver hoping to get more power and better fuel economy. While people who build cars can change design to …

    February 6, 2015

  • Question:When I was a youngster, wheel (a.k.a. rim) sizes were 12, 13, 14, and 15 inches. Nowadays, manufacturers have added five inches to each of these. Why?Answer:Part of the reason for bigger wheel and tire sizes is strictly appearance. Look at concept vehicles, and you will notice the wheels and …

    January 30, 2015

  • Driving can be a passion or a necessity - sometimes both. Good traction of the tires on the road contribute greatly to our safety and can also make the vehicle fun to drive, whether it be on a dry mountain curve, a slippery Canadian winter road or in the mud …

    January 23, 2015

  • Question: Last week somebody was asking about studded tires, and you wrote how you feel ice tires are superior. I was wondering if all winter tires are ice tires and if not, how can you tell the difference?Answer: Great question. The Canadian Rubber Association says "tires displaying the mountain snowflake …

    January 16, 2015

  • Porsche plug-in hybrid sends message

    Owning a Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid sedan isn't about saving money on fuel. Nobody buys a $110,000 car just to cut fuel costs. Rather, driving this plug-in hybrid car is about making a statement -- the future is about driving with alternative power sources, and it can provide performance, economy …

    January 9, 2015

  • Lightweight materials more common

    Vehicle weight is a "hefty" subject. Current vehicles include more features and equipment than ever before, which adds weight. The downside of this is a decrease in vehicle performance. It doesn't matter whether you are seeking quick acceleration, the ultimate cornering ability or the best fuel economy, adding weight hinders …

    January 2, 2015

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