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Backyard Mechanic Articles

  • QUESTION: In 1999 we bought a new Chev Astro van ('98 model). It has the 4.3 Vortec engine. Shortly afterwards it would take spells of 'hitching' while driving at highway speeds. It was more prominent when the engine was not pulling hard, just at the coast point. It would never …

    October 19, 2012

  • AUTO TECH: Ford provides a Great Escape

    Have you ever wanted to escape for a day, do some fun things and learn some new skills? Well, that's what Ford provided with a day of driving the new 2013 Escape SUV. But this wasn't your typical test drive. This was a day spent with regular folks who rarely test …

    October 12, 2012

  • QUESTION: I have a 2004 Kia Rio that has served me very well and normally runs flawlessly, but this weekend I had a very unusual experience. I was on a ferry, and when it was time to drive off, I had difficulty getting the engine started and it idled roughly. I …

    October 5, 2012

  • AUTO TECH: Electric power steering offers advantages

    Power steering, once an option, is now standard equipment on almost all vehicles, evolving from a simple control valve and external hydraulic ram on the regular steering mechanism to integrated rack-and-pinion systems with variable assist under different driving conditions. Now, electric power steering is making major inroads into the marketplace, offering …

    September 28, 2012

  • QUESTION: I had a new 2005 Ford 500 LTD with all-wheel drive. The owner's manual recommends changing "transaxle fluid and high-pressure filter on vehicles equipped with CVT transmissions" at 100,000 km. The Ford dealer did this job on another Ford 500 and told me that they had a very hard …

    September 21, 2012

  • AUTO TECH: A lot of technology goes into electric cars

    While most of us have a general sense of what a hybrid/electric vehicle is and how it gets power either from an internal combustion engine or electric motors and a battery pack, there's a lot more technology that contributes to the operation of a hybrid vehicle. Let's see what it really …

    September 14, 2012

  • QUESTION: I have a 2004 Prius with 300,000 km on it and the problem is with the rear tires. Both tires have flat spots on them in a pattern all around the tread. The car rides and drives fine and the front tires are good, but if I switch a …

    September 14, 2012

  • AUTO TECH: Nano-technology used to protect car finishes

    Atomic Force Microscopes. Nano-particles. It sounds like science-fiction adventure instead of paint technology, but nano-technology has been utilized in paint clearcoats on several models of Mercedes-Benz cars since 2003. Other carmakers have tried nano-technology paint as well. Nissan used it to provide scratch-healing clearcoat paint on the 2008 Infiniti EX35. While …

    September 7, 2012

  • BACKYARD MECHANIC: Broken timing belt can mean costly engine repair

    QUESTION: My question concerns the timing belt. I've been told that if it breaks it will be very expensive to repair. The opinions that I have gotten so far are if you change it at 144,000 km, the installation will be $600. If you wait until it breaks, it will …

    August 24, 2012

  • QUESTION: I have a 2001 Honda Civic with an automatic transmission. The automatic transmission fluid was due to be changed. The owner's manual said to only use official Honda fluid, so I picked up three litres and took it to my local oil-change shop. He said what I needed was …

    August 10, 2012

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