Winnipeg Free Press: Backyard Mechanic

Your tires know that not all road surfaces are created equal

BY Jim Kerr. Jan 12 04:00 am

There are several factors that determine how fast the tires wear on our vehicles.

A smooth driving style, lowering vehicle speeds, keeping tire pressures correct and getting wheel alignments done as part of your vehicle’s routine maintenance can all aid in extending...

Cadillac leads the way in vehicle communication

BY Jim KerrAuto Tech. Jan 05 04:00 am

It’s here. Cars can talk to each other! It is currently very limited — presently the only vehicles on the road able to communicate with each other are 2017 Cadillac CTS models built since March 2017 — but this is an important first step in improving safety for...

Lincoln taking it another step forward with new Nautilus

BY Jim KerrAuto Tech. Dec 22 04:00 am

What do you consider luxury? Perhaps soft, heated leather seating and a smooth ride?

Each of us has an idea of what luxury is — and so do the auto manufacturers.

Lincoln has a long heritage of building luxury vehicles and, according to Lincoln president Kumar...

Ignition timing likely cause of reduced power in '71 Duster

BY . Dec 08 04:00 am

Question: I have owned a 1971 Duster 340 since 1973 and it has been parked for 25 years. I am now rebuilding it.

Before I parked it I knew it didn’t have the same power it used to. I had the motor rebuilt and they installed a used piston but still...

High-tech oils keep up with automotive change

BY James KerrAuto Tech. Dec 01 04:00 am

The selection of the correct engine oil can make the difference between long engine life and premature engine wear. But don’t fear. There are specialists working behind the scenes to ensure the right oil for your vehicle is on the shelf, waiting for your next oil change.


Mustang's digital dash display is a visual feast

BY Jim KerrAuto Tech. Nov 24 04:00 am

The world of computer technology is one of the fastest-changing technologies in the world, and right along with that is the rapid change in automotive technology. Most of the time, the changes are behind the scenes, where changes to engine, transmission, suspension and braking...

Brake line flush helps reduce corrosion

BY Jim KerrBackyard Mechanic. Nov 10 04:00 am

Question: I have a 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe. The dealer is recommending a brake line flush. I have never heard of this before. I’ve never had one recommended by Honda for my 2004 Accord. Is this required/necessary maintenance? If so, can you explain why?


Loud motorcycle noise can prove exhausting

BY Jim KerrAUTO TECH. Nov 03 04:00 am

This summer I visited one of the world’s largest collections of unmuffled motorcycles — the Sturgis, S.D., motorcycle rally.

Most of the motorcycles were Harley-Davidson models, but there were many other makes too. To be fair to Harley, their bikes are the most...

Fuel pressure could be leading to starting problem

BY Jim KerrBackyard Mechanic . Oct 27 04:00 am

Question: I have a 2003 Subaru Legacy GT 2.5L with 190,000 kilometres. It had been working great until Sunday, when it turned over but would not start. Eventually, by putting pedal to floor (as if flooded), it would start. First time this happened, it was a rough...

Plug-in hybrids offer an easy way to go electric

BY Jim KerrAuto Tech. Oct 20 04:00 am

Am I ready for electric vehicles? Perhaps, but my home isn’t quite ready yet. I tried out one of the latest, and perhaps most versatile, family oriented plug-in hybrid vehicles, Chrysler’s Pacifica Hybrid, for a couple weeks of everyday errands, highway trips and hauling...

Car's been sitting for a year, so check rubber parts first

BY Jim KerrBackyard Mechanic. Oct 13 04:00 am

Question: My wife owns a 1994 Plymouth Acclaim. The vehicle is in showroom condition, but has not been started for about a year. It is stored in our unheated, attached garage. We wish to start the car up to move it around a bit, but I’m not sure about starting it after its...

2017 Ford GT touted as supercar in the here and now

BY Jim KerrAuto Tech . Oct 06 04:00 am

The 2017 Ford GT is being delivered to owners and this supercar — although Ford doesn’t call it that — is all it has been touted to be and more. Enthusiasts around the world have been following the Ford GT since the surprise introduction of a show car at the...

Constant gear shifting shortens the life of a transmission

BY Jim KerrBackyard Mechanic . Sep 29 04:00 am

Question: A few years ago we were in Quebec and the cab driver, when he came to a traffic light or any other lengthy stop, would put the gearshift into neutral. We asked why he did this and his reply was that it was easier on the transmission. Have any comment...

Today's vehicles defy categorization

BY Jim KerrAuto Tech. Sep 22 04:00 am

There used to be a day when you could classify the type of vehicle you were driving or looking to purchase. Most drivers drove sedans — they had four doors, a trunk and were very practical family cars.

Some drove station wagons, some with even three rows of seats!...

Avoid transmission troubles with proper gear choices

BY Jim KerrAuto Tech. Sep 08 04:00 am

Electronics are amazing. They enabled this article to be filed from the middle of a scenic mountain pass. Electronics have also made amazing improvements in our automobiles.

Automatic transmissions are almost all electronically controlled now. They last longer, react to...

Can't escape shudder and growl when braking

BY Jim KerrBackyard Mechanic . Sep 01 04:00 am

Question: I have a 2006 Dodge Caravan. I’ve replaced the front brake rotors and pads. I’ve also replaced the rear drums, brakes, wheel cylinders and park brake lines. Every corner is brand new, yet when the brakes are applied, the pedal shudders...

Mazda brings diesel tech to gasoline engines

BY Jim Kerr Auto Tech. Aug 25 04:00 am

This past week Mazda announced it will introduce its next generation engine called SKYACTIV-X in 2019. While all manufacturers make similar announcements for new products, Mazda’s announcement was something special.

This new engine will be the first commercial gasoline...

The right fuel

BY Jim Kerr. Aug 18 04:00 am

Our vehicles are perhaps the costliest single item we purchase next to our homes, so keeping them in good shape makes sense to ensure they serve their purpose for many years.

Regular maintenance of our vehicles helps keep them going, but there is a surprisingly easy way...

Maintenance key to minimizing engine noise

BY Jim KerrBackyard Mechanic . Aug 11 04:00 am

Question: Is there a product that quiets worn or older engines that actually “works”?

Answer: If you are looking for a mechanic in a can, the answer is no, as I...

Fixing your own air conditioning is timely, but doable

BY Jim KerrBackyard Mechanic. Aug 04 04:00 am

Question: I have a 2010 Toyota Rav4 Limited and there is a problem with the air conditioning. The automatic system works but the driver’s side temperature is fairly warm while the passenger side temperature is cool. I have tried adjusting the temperature settings for both...