Paul Brand

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

Recent content from Paul Brand

Cavalier's flashing lights could be the alternator

My daughter asked me why all the lights -- headlights, tail lights and dash lights -- pulsate at about two pulses per second on her 1997 Cavalier. Sometimes it's very noticeable, other times not so much. About the only time they don't pulsate is when it's at a stop with the foot on the brake. Any thoughts on how to fix this?

Updated: June 10, 2011, - 04:15 PM

Sorting out confusion on transmission flushes

This question asks: I've seen where you recommend a transmission flush every 30,000 to 50,000 miles, and your Alldata automotive database even shows this at 15,000 for some vehicles. How is that reconciled with what the owner's manual says?

Updated: June 03, 2011, - 04:07 PM

A recurring problem requires a bigger fix

The improved Quest will satisfy minivan fans who want maximum space and lots of cup holders.

Updated: May 27, 2011, - 04:04 PM

Service engine soon? Check the code first

Q I took my 2000 Cadillac DeVille in for an oil change, and at the time there was a notice on my dashboard saying "service engine soon." They changed my oil and recommended a list of services in order to get the light to go off, including an air filter, cabin filter, motor mount, front and rear brakes, transmission torque converter or overhaul and a side marker bulb. The car still runs fine. What should I do to get the notice to go off on my dash?

Updated: May 20, 2011, - 04:04 PM

Problem with turn signal could be just grounding

Q I have a 1996 Geo Tracker that I stored outside last summer. When I started to drive it in the fall, the driver's side turn signal worked fine until I turned on the headlights. With the lights on, it's only half as bright and blinks twice as fast. I cleaned out a mouse nest and found a loose black wire. Any idea which one of the six ports in the harness connector this wire goes into?

Updated: May 19, 2011, - 04:55 PM

Electrical gremlins rob cars of power over time

Q My question has to do with our 2005 Acura RL and 2008 Acura TL. When we travel and leave one or both cars parked in our garage or in a long-term parking lot, we always return to find the car with a dead battery. The most recent episode occurred in February when we left the '05 for a week in Florida when we went on a cruise. We returned to a dead battery and had to call AAA. The dealership said there is nothing we can do about this because the battery has to power the car's computer even when the car isn't in use. Does this mean that we will always return to a dead battery after leaving the car for a few days?

Updated: May 19, 2011, - 04:55 PM

Paul Brand: Rodents and automobiles not a good combination

This spring I went to replace my air filter, only to discover that mice had chewed out the entire section leading into the throttle body. Did it affect my engine by driving it over the entire winter this way?

Updated: April 29, 2011, - 09:52 PM

Paul Brand: What does manual mean by 'severe' conditions?

Q Not being a motorhead, I have a couple of maintenance questions for you. My wife drives a '99 Lexus...

Updated: April 29, 2011, - 09:43 PM

Paul Brand: A clunker before its time, but it's not the shocks' fault

Q I accidentally backed my 2004 Buick LeSabre into a concrete curb on the passenger side. While driving home, I...

Updated: April 22, 2011, - 09:34 PM

Timing belt at 22K? You can hold off on that one

QI have a 2004 Toyota Highlander with 22,700 miles on it. I took it in for service and was told the water pump is cracked and I should think about replacing the timing belt at the same time.

Updated: April 08, 2011, - 12:35 AM

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