Paul Brand

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

Recent content from Paul Brand

If your car runs well on lower octane, don't worry about it

Operate your vehicle on the lowest-octane fuel that provides good performance, driveability and fuel economy. Any additional octane is unnecessary and a waste of money.

Updated: March 23, 2012, - 03:37 PM

Flushing, replacing oil won't fix cause of consumption

The accepted standard for "normal" oil consumption is a maximum of one quart per 2,000 miles.

Updated: March 16, 2012, - 03:54 PM

If you have run-flat tires, you shouldn't need a spare

Run-flat tires are designed to do precisely that -- operate safely with zero air pressure for a reasonable distance at modest speed.

Updated: March 09, 2012, - 04:41 PM

Brand: Octane recommendations aren't written in stone

A The rule of thumb is to use the lowest-octane gasoline that will operate the engine efficiently. For the vast majority of modern cars and trucks, that means regular unleaded, which is typically 87 octane. The octane rating of gasoline is a measure of the fuel's resistance to ignition, meaning the higher the octane rating, more heat and pressure are required to "start the fire." If the recommended octane gasoline provides proper starting, power, drivability and efficiency, there's no benefit to using higher-octane fuel.

Updated: March 02, 2012, - 04:25 PM

Cold starts, short trips can be an unhealthy combination

An older Jeep Cherokee has starting problems that may be battery-related. Batteries can wear out after just a few years, so it could be the charging system.

Updated: February 24, 2012, - 04:06 PM

Brake light switch could be to blame for balky shifter

The 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe starts but then can't get shifted out of park unless the engine is shut off and the driver starts over.

Updated: February 17, 2012, - 03:52 PM

Chrysler's flickering lights could be programming glitch

When the car is started, the dash lights and headlights flicker, and the battery light illuminates, then goes off after a while.

Updated: February 10, 2012, - 04:11 PM

Pricey hybrid battery alters repair vs. replace equation

At what point do you throw in the towel and replace the car -- when the cost of the repair is about the same as the value of the car?

Updated: February 03, 2012, - 03:57 PM

Shutting off after 25 minutes defies do-it-yourself diagnosis

Despite desire to save money, a professional shop and its sophisticated testing equipment might be a good choice.

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

Confusion over brake fluids: Which is right for your car?

How do synthetic DOT 3 or DOT 4 fluids differ from the conventional DOT 3 or DOT 4 ones?

Updated: January 20, 2012, - 03:50 PM

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