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Backyard Mechanic Articles

  • 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

  • Acura takes all-wheel drive to a new level

    Acura introduced super-handling all-wheel drive (SH-AWD) in 2007; it is an innovative approach to combine stability control with vehicle performance. Instead of braking one wheel to control the directional stability of the vehicle, the SH-AWD accelerates one of the rear wheels to provide steering torque for vehicle stability, without braking …

    December 12, 2014

  • Hub-centric rims better bet for winter tires

    Q. I'm shopping for winter tires and steel rims for my 2010 Toyota Matrix XR AWD. I currently have 17-inch alloys with 215-44-17 all-season tires and TPMS. I'm looking at 16-inch rims with 205-55-16 winter tires. Would you recommend hub-centric rims? Would TPMS be recommended for the winter tires?A. When …

    November 21, 2014

  • Small but mighty Powerall can safely boost up to 20 vehicles on a single charge
    Getting a charge out of a booster pack

    It's that time of the year again: The nights are getting longer, the days are getting colder and your vehicle uses a lot more electrical energy to operate headlights, heaters and defrosters, wipers and seat heaters. Even if you have a good battery in your vehicle, a combination of short …

    November 14, 2014

  • Q. My 1989 Dodge half-ton truck 318, three-speed standard transmission works great, except for a miss that only happens in third gear. A lot of electrical parts have been changed, including plugs, ignition wires, computer etc. The fuel pump has been replaced. Any suggestions would be appreciated.A. The hardest time …

    November 7, 2014

  • For the past five days I have been test-driving vehicles. I normally do this every week, but the past five days have been exceptional. I was attending the annual "Test Fest" held by the Automobile Journalists of Canada and we were there to evaluate and vote on the best new …

    October 31, 2014

  • Question: I have a 2008 Chevrolet Impala with a V6 engine. This vehicle has ABS. Generally the brakes on this vehicle operate very well and if I come to a stop and want the vehicle to stay, I simply hold the brake down firmly and it will hold forever.The problem …

    October 24, 2014

  • Beneath the shiny exterior of new vehicles there are a lot of components, systems and features that make the vehicle dear to our hearts, or in the odd occasion a pain somewhere else! Ford's new 2015 F150 pickup is an all-new truck with so many useful features it will no …

    October 17, 2014

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