Paul Brand

Columnist | Cars
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Paul Brand writes about autos for the Star Tribune.

Recent content from Paul Brand

It's not easy to bring back tires once uneven wear starts

The rear tires are cupping, and the fronts are becoming louder and louder. What is going on?

Updated: August 31, 2012, - 04:00 PM

Finding source of Tracer's stalling will take sleuthing

A When dealing with drivability issues, always remember the "KISS" principle -- start with the simple stuff first. In this case, the reason the engine continues to idle with the air conditioning engaged is the step-up in idle speed commanded by the powertrain control module (PCM). The first things to try would be to clean the injectors and decarbonize the induction system with a fuel system/fuel injection cleaner like Sea Foam or GM's Top Engine Cleaner. Then check for any type of vacuum leak that could lean out the idle. And check for splits or tears in the rubber boots and hoses downstream from the throttle body and MAF (mass airflow sensor). The idle speed should be 780 rpm (plus or minus 50 rpm) with the air conditioning off.

Updated: August 24, 2012, - 04:08 PM

Speedometers can reach stratosphere for a reason

Most new cars and a lot of used cars have speedometer gauges that go as high as 120 to 160 miles per hour. Why so high?

Updated: August 17, 2012, - 03:53 PM

Found under Buick's hood: Free addition to your toolbox

When a broken serpentine belt got changed, there was a pair of Vise-Grips with pieces of rubber hose over each end pinching off the overflow hose just below the radiator cap.

Updated: August 03, 2012, - 03:59 PM

An intermittent 'stumble' could be the spark plugs

When the 2003 Hyundai Sonata with the 2.7-liter V6 engine and 110,000 miles is idling in drive, it feels like the engine is randomly stumbling, one sharp stumble at a time.

Updated: July 27, 2012, - 04:00 PM

Get out your stethoscope to get to the bottom of noises

The 2006 Mercury Mountaineer with a 4.6-liter V8 makes a screeching noise along with a tapping noise upon a cold start.

Updated: July 20, 2012, - 04:13 PM

F-150 died twice on freeway but started after it was towed

The engine died as though running out of gas. It took maybe 5 to 15 seconds before I lost my power steering. While waiting for a tow I cranked the engine -- it would start roughly and die immediately.

Updated: July 14, 2012, - 04:54 PM

Keeping your budgetary cool while getting A/C replaced

Can a compressor be repaired? Or, where can I find a used compressor that will keep me on a $500 budget including installation?

Updated: July 06, 2012, - 03:53 PM

Brand: Sometimes, a car's worst enemy is driver ignorance

A An ignorant motorist. I can't imagine the driver not feeling the vibration from that wobbling tire at that speed. Unfortunately, I've seen more than enough evidence of major problems that potentially affect vehicle safety being completely ignored by the motorist -- primarily because nothing had happened yet.

Updated: June 29, 2012, - 04:42 PM

When car air conditioners, and marital peace, go bad

He says using the recirculate button helps your air conditioner last longer. She says it just makes the air inside the car stale. Who's right?

Updated: June 22, 2012, - 05:13 PM

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