Paul Brand

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

Recent content from Paul Brand

Could trouble with key fob and accessories be related?

A I'm glad you included the fact that the passenger door "always turns things off." That's a key piece of information. The VSM (vehicle security module) located in the passenger footwell individually controls the driver and passenger door lock/unlock relay. This module or its connections may be at fault.

Updated: November 16, 2012, - 04:40 PM

Extended warranties: Value is a matter of personal choice

Repairs from mechanical and electronic failures, and wear and tear over the 10-plus years of vehicle ownership, are virtually inevitable.

Updated: November 02, 2012, - 04:02 PM

Manual transmission died on low-mileage Toyota MR2

When the transmission was removed, the clutch was fine.

Updated: October 26, 2012, - 03:58 PM

Maxima should recover fine from accidental use of diesel

How concerned should I be about the possibility of issues developing later that would affect my car's performance or value?

Updated: October 19, 2012, - 04:04 PM

Today, extended warranty may be worth the money

A My perspective on extended warranties or service contracts, as they are often called, has evolved quite a bit in the nearly 30 years I've done this column. In fact, my position is exactly the opposite of what it was in the '80s. With the massive costs of purchasing, operating and repairing modern automobiles, I think extended warranty/service contracts are almost a no-brainer in many cases.

Updated: October 12, 2012, - 03:58 PM

Altima driver's window won't close in one touch

A It seems the window safety switch thinks the glass has hit something -- like fingers! -- before fully closing. This causes the window to reopen several inches to free any pinched pinkies.

Updated: October 05, 2012, - 04:52 PM

When it's time for a coolant change, does the type matter?

As coolants and engine technology continue to improve, I've softened my position on coolant changes. Assuming a long-life coolant and 15,000-25,000 annual mileage, I'm willing to go five years now -- a huge step for me!

Updated: September 28, 2012, - 04:07 PM

Plastic spray nozzle might be lost in Sea Ray's engine

The red plastic straw got sucked into a four-cylinder GM engine on a 1972 Sea Ray boat. Now what?

Updated: September 21, 2012, - 04:04 PM

Check Engine light is on, and mechanic's not helping

What's interesting about this question is that the mechanic is trying to pinpoint the problem by asking the car owner to do all the work!

Updated: September 14, 2012, - 04:04 PM

Nissan Sentra burns up oil, but only on the highway

A Ah, such fond memories. My old Jeep Grand Wagoneers used to suffer this problem. The engines were "tired" -- lots of miles on them on the big V-8's - so the excess combustion blow-by into the crankcase overwhelmed the PCV system's capability to draw these vapors into the induction system and burn them. The excess crankcase pressure also forced oil past the piston rings as well as into the PCV system, progressively choking it off and causing high oil consumption. Back then I had a simple fix: Replace the PCV valve every six months and "roto-rooter" out the PCV passages with part of an old speedometer cable.

Updated: September 07, 2012, - 09:22 PM

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