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Backyard Mechanic Articles

  • The average consumer will purchase a new set of tires every three to four years. But each of us drives on different roads in different vehicles and under different weather conditions, so one tire doesn't fit all. Given the hundreds of tire models available on the market, picking a new …

    April 12, 2013

  • QUESTION: My parents are in their retirement years and are looking to upgrade their vehicle. Having read the 'Autos' section for a number of years, I thought I had a clear idea of what their next vehicle should be. Most of my parent's errands are short drives. Five minutes to coffee …

    April 5, 2013

  • AUTO TECH: How Cadillac's automatic braking system works

    Brake systems have come a long way from the leather straps and mechanical rod actuators of the very first automobiles. Antilock brake systems started appearing in the 1980's and, since then, there's been a quiet evolution of braking systems to help drivers. Electronic brake-force distribution balances the braking force between the …

    March 28, 2013

  • QUESTION: I drive a 2000 Chevrolet Silverado 4 X 4, V8 automatic transmission 1500 extended cab truck, with 200,000 km. Lately, when coming to a stop, my antilock comes on at a very slow speed and I have to stand on the brakes to come to a complete stop. Could this …

    March 22, 2013

  • Driving a vehicle down the road should be a reasonably easy task. Pay attention to other traffic and signs, be ready to brake for unexpected occurrences such as a child, animal or another vehicle darting out from the side and point the steering wheel where you want to go. It's this …

    March 15, 2013

  • QUESTION: I purchased a new 2012 Nissan Altima 2.5 in spring and everything seemed normal until fall (approximately 5,000 km). At temperatures below freezing, the engine has a loud knocking/rattling noise (under load) for about five to 10 minutes and accelerating at r.p.m. from approximately 1,200 to 2,000 r.p.m. The …

    March 8, 2013

  • QUESTION: On one of the TV stations recently, they gave some tips regarding starting vehicles in cold weather, one of which I had not heard of before and had never implemented in my vehicle operation. The tip: When starting the vehicle in "Park", the transmission should "immediately" be place in …

    February 22, 2013

  • AUTO TECH: Water is your engine's enemy during short winter trips

    WINTER driving and short trips can combine to cause engine problems such as oil leaks or apparent oil consumption. A "short trip" can be defined as any time your vehicle is started without letting your engine's oil reach full operating temperature. Depending on outside temperatures, it may take only a few …

    February 15, 2013

  • BACKYARD MECHANIC: Choose enough vehicle to safely tow trailer

    QUESTION: I purchased a small travel trailer and require 4,000-pounds towing capacity. Do you think the Nissan Frontier rated at 6,000 lb. would be adequate to tow my trailer through the mountains of British Columbia? Would a rule of thumb be to use 70 to 80 per cent of any …

    February 8, 2013

  • AUTO TECH: Put the brakes on spinning your wheels

    If you live in Canada, you know what it's like to drive on slippery roads. Regardless of the type of vehicle or tire you have installed on them, you will sometimes find road conditions that just don't provide enough traction for your tires to grip. Many of us have become used …

    February 1, 2013

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