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Backyard Mechanic Articles

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • QUESTION: I was wondering what your thoughts were on ABS brakes when driving on icy roads? I live in a town with several streets on steep hills and when trying to stop or slow down when going down when they are covered with snow or ice there’s no stopping. All …

    September 2, 2016

  • Improve performance, fuel economy by getting rid of engine knock

    Question: Recently, I had a discussion with another Buick owner. I have a 2008 Buick Allure Super and the other party has a 2010 Buick Lucerne Super. Both have the V-8 engines with added performance built by the GM Performance Division. Although the Lucerne has the Northstar engine, in both …

    August 26, 2016

  • Question: I recently purchased a new 2016 CRV Honda — four cylinder — and found out it comes with synthetic oil in the engine. I have always had regular oil in all my cars and would like to know which is better or should I switch back to regular oil at my first oil change. …

    August 12, 2016

  • Perhaps your vehicle is getting tired, in need of some maintenance, or just plain worn out. If the body is in good shape, it may be worth putting some repair money into keeping it on the road, but putting a lot of money in an old vehicle can also be …

    July 22, 2016

  • Question: I just bought a 1998 Toyota Camry with a 2.2-litre, four-cylinder engine. Now that the previous owners air freshener has worn off, I noticed a strong mould odour in the interior, even though there is no mould visually present. I since noticed that water has collected in the spare …

    July 8, 2016

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