Paul Brand

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

Recent content from Paul Brand

Cleaning additive can't restore a failed catalytic converter

Q My '03 Mazda MPV with 125,000 miles has the Check Engine light going on and off the past few weeks. The parts store's scan tool found a code for catalytic converter issues. The manager suggested I try a couple cans of Sea Foam or a product called Cataclean, which I've never heard of. It's about $25 for a 16-ounce can. Do either of those products do anything to revive a tired catalytic converter? Hate to spend foolish money on a long shot. The vehicle runs perfectly and has no unusual sounds or smells.

Updated: January 11, 2013, - 03:58 PM

Need for rustproofing has fallen off, but it can be useful

The build quality, alloys and galvanized steel used in modern automobiles has reduced the need for additional rustproofing.

Updated: January 04, 2013, - 03:55 PM

2001 Lexus transmission catches while in reverse

It is quite possible that the symptoms of delayed engagement and slippage are the result of using incorrect transmission fluid.

Updated: December 28, 2012, - 03:52 PM

Tire pressure warning light is constant annoyance

It comes on every time the car is started.

Updated: December 21, 2012, - 03:48 PM

Taurus' oil pump unlikely to 'fail without warning'

The only way an oil pump could "fail without warning" would be if the drive shaft or impeller suddenly broke or if the oil pump pickup tube fell out and dropped into the oil pan.

Updated: December 14, 2012, - 04:01 PM

A few jerking episodes with 2003 Murano's engine

Typically, the flashing "check engine/service engine soon" light points toward multiple misfires and a significant amount of excess unburned fuel reaching the catalytic converter.

Updated: December 07, 2012, - 03:49 PM

Front-seat floor of pickup gets soaked when it rains

If it's not the windshield, the most common source of water collecting on the front floors is a plugged drain for the HVAC evaporator housing.

Updated: November 30, 2012, - 03:53 PM

Power steering goes out when SUV maneuvers at slow speed

This is an irritation, if not a hazard, but an experiment shouldn't also need $250 to $300 in parts plus labor.

Updated: November 23, 2012, - 04:12 PM

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

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