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Backyard Mechanic Articles

  • 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

  • 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

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