Paul Brand

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

Recent content from Paul Brand

When car air conditioners, and marital peace, go bad

He says using the recirculate button helps your air conditioner last longer. She says it just makes the air inside the car stale. Who's right?

Updated: June 22, 2012, - 05:13 PM

Lease is up on low-miles car: Turn it in, keep it or resell it?

A How about a round-trip vacation this summer? Alaska to California to Florida to Maine and home. A nice long summer vacation drive would use up some of those miles, but you'd still have miles to spare on the lease.

Updated: June 15, 2012, - 03:49 PM

Alternator won't pipe down when engine is revved up

Engine-related whistling noise is still there after alternator is rebuilt.

Updated: June 08, 2012, - 03:46 PM

When driver hits the brights, windshield wipers turn on

Also on this 2005 Dodge Caravan, everything but the rear tailgate lock will quit working. It takes unhooking the battery to reset everything to work for a while.

Updated: June 01, 2012, - 03:58 PM

These days, replacing rotors is standard maintenance

Your reply to the lady buying a used, low-mileage vehicle included: "The vehicle may need routine tire and brake replacement." Tire replacement is a given and a no-brainer. What is your meaning as to routine brake replacement and especially the rotors?

Updated: May 25, 2012, - 03:50 PM

When your car goes clunk over a bump in the night

I am a bit anal about noises and squeaks, so it is really annoying. Upon inspection, the dealer found that the strut plates are worn, causing the problem. The struts are fine, but they want to replace the plates and struts for about $1,200. An independent shop said they could replace the plates only for $500. How can I be assured that this is the problem before making the investment of changing the plates? Is there any reason to replace the struts at the same time if they are just fine now?

Updated: May 18, 2012, - 05:43 PM

With a new transmission, SUV won't go into overdrive

A Is the transmission failing to engage overdrive? Or failing to lock up the torque converter clutch? Start with the simple possibilities. Any of the following could cause either of these issues: a faulty thermostat preventing the engine from reaching full operating temperature, a faulty or disconnected coolant temperature sensor or a faulty or disconnected vehicle speed sensor.

Updated: May 11, 2012, - 05:23 PM

Excess brake dust could be mismatch of pads, rotors

The front pads and rotors were replaced about a month ago, but the amount of dust does not seem to be decreasing with use.

Updated: May 04, 2012, - 04:10 PM

Synthetic oil may cost more, but it's a good investment

With two oil and filter changes per year, the additional cost for synthetic oil is nominal and insignificant in the overall total cost of owning, operating, fueling, maintaining, repairing, licensing and depreciating the automobile.

Updated: April 27, 2012, - 03:47 PM

An overheating engine has long list of possible suspects

No steam appears when the engine is overheating, so I assume the radiator cap and hoses are not leaking. What tests I can do to rule out the simple problems like a worn radiator cap, malfunctioning thermostat, plugged radiator, or air in the cooling system? Your advice is greatly appreciated.

Updated: April 20, 2012, - 04:08 PM

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