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Backyard Mechanic Articles

  • 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

  • Mountain air robs horsepower

    Q. A few years back, I went on a trip to Colorado with a Ford Windstar with a V6 engine. I drove up to 14200 foot elevation. This year, I'm planning on renting a car with a 1.6L engine for the same trip. Do you think I will have a …

    January 23, 2014

  • Toyota has introduced a new variable-valve technology, and unlike most new technologies that first appear on higher-priced vehicles, Toyota is introducing this on their Corolla Eco models. They call this new feature Valvematic. In almost all vehicles, engine speed is controlled by the throttle. Open the throttle to let more air …

    January 10, 2014

  • Question: I have a 2007 Accent GS. I bought it from a dealership about 2 months ago and I'm having pretty awful gas mileage, half a tank will give me about 70km; 80km if I'm lucky. Mind you I am driving almost exclusively in town so there is a lot …

    January 10, 2014

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