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Backyard Mechanic Articles

  • 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

  • QUESTION: I own a Ford F150 4x4 and need to replace its tires. Right now I have original-equipment LT 245/75 R 16 load range D tires on the truck. The maximum inflation pressure on the tire sidewall is 65 PSI. The door sticker recommends an inflation pressure of 42 PSI. I …

    January 25, 2013

  • Nobody wants to be part of an automobile accident, but it's a fact of our environment: Accidents happen. Some are small fender-benders, with no more than a little damage to paint, metal and pride. I hope for nothing worse. In the 1950s and '60s, cars were solid, built like tanks. Heavy …

    January 18, 2013

  • QUESTION: I have an '07 CTS that from the start has used synthetic oil. On my last oil change they put in regular oil (at half the price) by mistake. Will this cause damage and should I change back right away or is it okay to use regular oil? Thanks   ANSWER: …

    January 11, 2013

  • 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

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