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Backyard Mechanic Articles

  • 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

  • AUTO TECH: AutoStop saves money while you idle

    We all like to save money, and being able to drive farther on a tank of fuel is a very visible way of saving money. With fill-ups now costing in the $60 range for economy cars and well over $100 for larger trucks and SUV's, saving five per cent on fuel …

    February 28, 2014

  • QUESTION: I have questions regarding additives, such as gas line antifreeze and fuel injector cleaner. Premium gas line antifreeze has isopropyl alcohol, and the cheaper ones do not (they contain methyl alcohol, I believe). Does the isopropyl do a better job of absorbing water from the tank and burning it …

    February 21, 2014

  • AUTO TECH: Beware pitfalls of improper battery boost

    With the latest cold snap, the number of vehicles seen on the back of tow trucks has been astounding. Talk with the tow truck drivers and you will find many of these vehicles needed a tow to a repair shop because they wouldn't start. Usually the problem is related to the …

    February 14, 2014

  • QUESTION: I have a 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited with a 318 engine and full-time all-wheel drive. I have maintained the vehicle in "as new" condition since I purchased it new. Recently, it has developed a whine on coast, which can be made to come and go by feathering the …

    February 7, 2014

  • AUTO TECH: Welcome to the new age of aluminum

    While there were many interesting and substantial announcements at the recent Detroit Auto Show, one of the more interesting was Ford's presentation of its 2015 F150 pickup with a new aluminum body. Ford has forged a solid reputation for building "Tough Trucks" -- witness its years of sales leadership with the …

    January 31, 2014

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