Paul Brand

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

Recent content from Paul Brand

Jeep's shift button is reluctant to get moving in wintry weather

Q Since it's been cold, I've had difficulty pushing in the button on the shift lever on my 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee. The Jeep starts fine, but I have to sit for at least four minutes before I can get that button pushed in. I'm concerned that someday I won't be able to get it pushed in at all -- and I'll be stuck somewhere. Any thoughts?

Updated: January 23, 2011, - 03:57 PM

Despite check-engine light, valve may not need replacement

QI have a 2007 Dodge Grand Caravan with the "check engine" light on. I checked it with a code reader and got a P0404 code: "Exhaust Gas Recirculation Circuit Range/Performance." A new EGR valve costs $80. Is there any way to clean or fix it and turn off the light?

Updated: January 16, 2011, - 03:46 PM

Sludge report: Change is good, especially for oil

Q I mistakenly followed the maintenance schedule on my 2006 Honda Pilot that extended oil change intervals upwards of 6,000 miles. I assume there's lots of sludge in the engine. Any suggestions on the best way to clean out the engine?

Updated: January 05, 2011, - 04:57 PM

Tester won't give a battery any extra life

Q I have a 2003 BMW Z4. The battery died twice without warning because of old age. I've been advised to check the battery regularly, especially after one year. I bought a $50 battery tester so I can check it myself every other week. Is this is a good plan in terms of battery reliability?

Updated: December 29, 2010, - 04:15 PM

Warning lights say two systems took the day off

QWe have a 2006 Pontiac Grand Prix with 38,500 miles. Out of the blue the service "ABS" and service "Traction" warning lights came on. I did check fuses and disconnected the battery for 30 minutes -- someone told me that would reset the computer -- but the problems are still there. Is it safe to drive? The brakes seem to work just fine.

Updated: December 22, 2010, - 05:27 PM

Despite work, Kia van keeps pulling to left

Q Two years ago, I bought a new set of Yokohama tires for my 2006 Kia Sedona van. After having the tires rotated and rebalanced last year, the vehicle developed a slight pull to the left. I took it in again and the shop rotated and balanced the tires again and tried an alignment. Now, the pull is a slightly more than it was. They rechecked the balance job and the alignment was all within their specs. I would like to see this fixed. Can you help?

Updated: December 15, 2010, - 05:05 PM

Runaway car can be stopped -if you practice

QI drive a 2009 Toyota and have a fear of a runaway vehicle. The dealer has test-driven the vehicle and told me it's OK. What advice do you have?

Updated: December 08, 2010, - 11:29 PM

Alloy wheels often at fault in tire leaks

Q My wife bought a used 2000 Subaru Legacy. All four tires keep losing pressure -- 15 psi or so from each tire every two weeks. The dealer blames it on the aluminum wheels, saying "aluminum wheels leak." Another shop noticed some small cracks on the tire sidewalls and says the tires may be leaking pressure through the sidewalls. Do you have an opinion here?

Updated: December 01, 2010, - 05:29 PM

Which advised repairs are worth doing?

QI recently brought my 2000 Nissan Maxima to the dealer for the 120k service. The list of suggested repairs included: broken engine mounts, broken lower control arm bushings, high pressure hose leak and engine timing cover leak. Should I have any of these fixed?

Updated: November 24, 2010, - 06:11 PM

Can he do right by his '96 Buick with 5W-30?

Q I am a stickler for following owner's manuals and scheduled maintenance. My '98 Sable recommends 5W-30 oil. I just inherited a beautiful '96 Park Avenue, and it calls for 10W-30. Should I stick with the recommendations, or can I use 5W-30 in both cars?

Updated: November 17, 2010, - 04:16 PM

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