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Backyard Mechanic Articles

  • AUTO TECH: Watch for wonky wheels during pothole season

    Spring has sprung and along with it comes potholes. This year's crop of potholes seems particularly bad, probably due to the extra-cold winter and the extended freeze/thaw cycles of this spring. Canadian drivers have become very adept at dodging these menacing obstacles but there are some that just can't be avoided. When …

    May 9, 2014

  • QUESTION: I have a 2005 Vibe all-wheel drive. I want to replace only two tires as I have one tire out of round (or scalloped) and thought I could get away with just replacing two to correct my scallop problem. I bought two used tires that have a bit more …

    May 2, 2014

  • AUTO TECH: Get changes in engine performance checked pronto

    Many of the questions I have from drivers over the years fall into the vague area of vehicle performance. I say vague, because performance can mean many things, depending on who's talking about it. For the economy-minded driver, it's all about fuel economy. For the luxury-car driver, it's more about smooth, …

    April 25, 2014

  • QUESTION: We have a 2010 Tucson and recently experienced issues with the vehicle in the snow. We had about a 400-kilometre highway drive and it was blowing snow for the last half of the drive there, when I experienced a loss of power. I parked the vehicle and went to …

    April 17, 2014

  • AUTO TECH: New tests aim for greater fuel-use truth

    New cars and light-duty trucks come with a window sticker that lists options, features, price, fuel economy for city and highway driving and the estimated annual fuel costs for that vehicle based on average kilometres driven each year. Anyone who has tried to match the fuel-economy figures listed on the label …

    April 11, 2014

  • BACKYARD MECHANIC: Bringing idle-surging problems into Focus

    QUESTION: I have a 2009 Ford Focus SES with 75,000 km that I purchased from a local Ford dealership a couple of years ago. In the last year I have noticed that is has a rough/rolling idle problem, whether cold or warm, the vehicle in gear or not. It will …

    April 4, 2014

  • AUTO TECH: Ford F-150 lights the way with LEDs

    LED lighting has had a higher profile lately. With incandescent bulbs for household lighting being discontinued, other lights such as Halogen, Xenon and LED bulbs are being offered as replacements. LED lighting has become common in the automotive industry too, used in park, tail, brake and running lights on many models. …

    March 28, 2014

  • QUESTION: I have a 2006 Dodge Ram pickup with ABS. The amber light on the information panel comes on intermittently. When the ABS light is off, the ABS system works properly. When the ABS light is on, the ABS system does not work at all. When I start the car, the …

    March 21, 2014

  • Increased fuel economy compensates for additional cost of cutting-edge system

    Gasoline direct fuel injection (GDI) has become common on many new cars. This type of fuel injection sprays the fuel directly into the combustion chamber on top of the piston at high pressure. The other type is port fuel injection, which sprays the fuel behind the intake valve and takes it …

    March 14, 2014

  • Extended warranties not always worth it

    QUESTION: I purchased a 2010 Mazda 3 GX from a small used car dealer, which has only 69,000 kilometres on it, seems in very good condition, hasn't been in any collisions and is locally owned. The price was $9,700 plus tax, which is very hard to find here in the …

    March 7, 2014

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