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Backyard Mechanic Articles

  • QUESTION: I have a 2004 Chrysler Intrepid and when it is cold outside there's an occasional high-pitch whine while driving. This can occur at any speed but generally above 80 km/h as I do a lot of highway driving. I'm not a mechanic but believe it has something to do …

    January 4, 2013

  • AUTO TECH: Corrosion: silent killer of vehicles

    With our busy lives, it's easy to overlook some vehicle maintenance items, such as changing the engine coolant. If it's still working, everything must be OK, right? Wrong. Corrosion is a silent killer of vehicles. By the time we can see cooling-system corrosion, costly repairs are often needed. A cooling system …

    December 28, 2012

  • QUESTION: Last winter I replaced the T350 automatic transmission with a rebuilt 700-4R in my 1940 Ford. In the spring I put on a few hundred miles and the transmission worked perfectly. Upon my return, I let the car sit for a few days while it rained cats and dogs. …

    December 21, 2012

  • AUTO TECH: Good things can come in small packages

    Like the cartoon character Mighty Mouse from the 1940s, Ford's new 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine is small but very mighty. This compact, three-cylinder engine (the engine block will fit in an airplane carry-on bag!) is already available in Europe. In a continent where the diesel engine is king, about 30 per cent …

    December 14, 2012

  • QUESTION: I own a 1996 Toyota Camry DX and it’s a high miler but it’s been the most reliable and economical car I’ve ever driven until recently. It now has an intermittent electrical problem. The 10-amp gauge fuse blows when the car is put in gear. Sometimes the fuse will …

    December 7, 2012

  • QUESTION: I own a 2001 Honda Civic automatic sedan, and so does my friend. This past summer, his A/C stopped working and, shortly after, his car died and he had to have it towed and had about $1,000 work done to the A/C system (condenser and pump replaced, he said). …

    November 23, 2012

  • Stormy weather hit again this past weekend. Rain, a little snow and cold weather put a treacherous sheen of ice on the roads. As typically happens every fall, the morning drive to work was an adventure in traction as drivers who had been used to summer road conditions took awhile to …

    November 15, 2012

  • QUESTION: We have a 2006 Toyota Tacoma Sport 4x4 with 100,000 km. We purchased it new. Of late, we have not been driving it as the problem that exists is annoying, if nothing else. When driving the vehicle, there is a sound like that of a whistle from a kettle …

    November 9, 2012

  • QUESTION: I am having a problem with my 2003 Pontiac Montana van. The fuel gauge suddenly started acting up -- the reading is not always right on the gauge. Is there an easy fix that I can do myself? I have checked the connectors underneath just below the driver's seat …

    November 2, 2012

  • AUTO TECH: Weight reductions lead to brake pulsations

    Brake pulsation has become a common concern on many newer vehicles. The vehicle stops smoothly when new but, after a few thousand kilometres, the brake pedal starts to pulsate when stopping, the brakes feel like they're grabbing and releasing, and smooth stops are impossible. Sometimes the problem starts after the wheels …

    October 26, 2012

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