Paul Brand

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

Recent content from Paul Brand

U.S. drivers still haven't embraced diesel cars

QSome years ago I traveled to England and saw many small, diesel-powered cars. I have read that most of the new cars sold in Europe are diesel. Considering that diesels get significantly better fuel mileage than gasoline-powered cars, why haven't the car manufacturers offered the diesel option over here?

Updated: March 13, 2011, - 03:27 PM

Town Car owner unable to get cruise under control

QI have a 1990 Lincoln Town Car with a 302-cubic-inch V8 engine. The car is in near-showroom condition and well-maintained. When I hit the brake to disengage the cruise control, 50 to 70 percent of the time it reengages when I take my foot off the brake pedal. If I brake until I'm under 35 mph, I know it can't reengage. Often, I don't want to brake that much, especially if cars are behind me, so I've gotten in the habit of hitting the "off" button on the steering wheel each time it happens. Any ideas?

Updated: March 06, 2011, - 04:01 PM

A balky cooling fan can land you in hot water

QMy brother has 1995 Corvette he is restoring in Florida. He recently rebuilt the engine and transmission. During his last test drive, it seemed that the car was overheating. He opened the hood and did not see the fans working. He was able to drive it home without overheating, but the temperature gauge was much higher than normal. We have cleaned the fuses to make sure that they are making good contact, and replaced the temperature sensor in the water pump. It looks like the fans are controlled by the ECM. Is there anything else that might be causing the problem?

Updated: February 19, 2011, - 03:44 PM

Engine oil consumption: How much is too much?

Q My daughter shopped, purchased and financed her first vehicle on her own. It's a 2000 Nissan Pathfinder. She bought a warranty through the dealer. No complaints, except this rig goes through a quart of oil every 500 miles. The warranty folks don't want to spend any money because nothing is broken. Is there any way to resolve this short of just letting the engine run out of oil and seize up? I'm not sure they would honor the warranty in that case anyway, and it would be pretty irresponsible.

Updated: February 06, 2011, - 04:38 PM

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

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The Drive: Metro traffic

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