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Paul Brand

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

Paul Brand: Real world take on nitrogen-filled tires

As a follow-up to my column regarding nitrogen use in tires, this from John MacBain, Ph.D.:"Nitrogen obeys the same universal gas law as oxygen, hydrogen,…

Brand: EVAP leak may be triggering Charger's 'Check' light

Q: My 2013 Charger R/T has a recurrent issue with the "Check engine" light. I was advised to open and close the gas tank door…

Brand: Did car buyer get all the tire nitrogen that was promised?

Q: I purchased a new car with nitrogen-filled tires as part of the dealer's accessory kit. The next morning after driving the car home I…

Brand: Grand Cherokee shimmies down the highway

Q: I have a problem with my 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee with 154,000 miles. While driving at speeds greater than 45 miles per hour I…
Marijuana industry tries to build buzz around brands

Marijuana industry tries to build buzz around brands

Wild West environment has emerged amid halting steps to go mainstream.

Brand: Finding the key to Mazda's maladies

Q: Please help! Neither my local Mazda dealer nor independents can come up with a solution to the problem with my 2006 Mazda Tribute. Not…

For a change, let's wrench on some grammar issues

For the first column of the new year, let's shift gears and hear several of the better responses to the pressing question of whether an…

Brand: No time like the present to switch to synthetic oil

Q: I just purchased a new car — a 2016 Honda HRV. How soon can I switch to synthetic oil?A: At the first oil change,…

Brand: Several possible causes for Honda Pilot's noise

Q: I have a 2004 Honda Pilot with 92,000 miles. Over the past year or so, I hear a momentary (1 to 2 seconds) whirring/rumbling/vibration…

Brand: Dexos oil standard a reliable sign of quality

Q: Could you please bring me up to speed on the different oils now used in car engines? The oil fill cap on my new…

Brand: Check solenoid on Buick's torque converter clutch

Q: I have 2002 Buick LeSabre 3800 V6 with about 126,000 miles. When stopped at a stop sign it will die (infrequently so far). It…

Brand: Let transmission perform its main mission

Q: I always enjoy your columns but the one on downshifting confused me a little. We have a 2013 Toyota Corolla with 7,000 miles and…

Brand: The upside and downside of downshifting

Q: I have a 2011 Subaru Outback with the 2.5-liter engine. I want to know if it is harmful to downshift often without using the…

Brand: 'Shaky' minivan needs a thorough inspection

Q: We have a 2009 Chrysler Town & Country with 63,000 miles on it. It has a relatively violent shake when you apply the brakes…

Brand: Why not disable cellphones in cars? It's complicated

Q: For years I have wondered why the use of cellphones is not jammed when the vehicle’s wheels are in motion. The U.S. government has…

Multiple explanations for Impala's scraping noise

Q: I had my 2012 Impala LTZ in the shop for a noise. The rear struts were replaced along with front rotors and pads. The…

Brand: Something's not adding up in Honda's fuel capacity

Q: The stated fuel capacity of my wife’s 2013 Honda Pilot is 21.0 gallons. This morning I filled it with 22.147 gallons of gas, even…

Brand: Owner rattled by Accord that rattles at start-up

Q: I purchased a 2012 Honda Accord with 39,890 miles. It now has 41,458 miles. The first few hundred miles I heard a slight and…

Gasoline with nitrogen poses no risk to engines

Q: The other day I stopped at a Shell station and found their higher-octane gas contained nitrogen. I believe it said it was an additive.…

Brand: Reader suggests jamming cellphone signals in cars

Q: In response to the question about cellphone use while driving, there is a simple, relatively inexpensive solution. Insurance companies lobby the federal government to…

Comprehensive approach would train drivers best

Q: A lot of lives could be saved if carmakers devised a system where your car wouldn’t run if your phone was on or vice…

Paul Brand:

Q: I would like to hear your opinion on flex-fuel vehicles. I assume these vehicles can use regular gasoline with 10 percent ethanol or E85…

Brand: Dashboard light is out – time for a new car?

Q: I have a 2002 Buick Century with 58,947 miles. The indicator light for the gear position and odometer is out (dark). I was told…

Brand: Foot on brake essential to shift out of Park

Q: Our 2007 Buick Rendezvous at times will not shift from Park. It seems frozen there. If we turn on the ignition and put it…

Brand: The way we drive, safety systems are a blessing

Q: What is your opinion regarding the rapid introduction of “driver aids,” from simple warning systems up to but not including driverless cars? A: Thanks…

Brand:

Q: My 2004 Buick Park Avenue Ultra with 60,000 miles misses when restarted hot. The missing lasts for no more than 30 seconds. My mechanic…

Brand: GM heat/ventilation troubles could be linked to ... the radios?

Q: In April I leased a Cadillac ATS. I run the HVAC system in the “Auto” mode with the temperature set the same on both…

Brand: Is something in the air triggering Ford's warning light?

Q: Several times when I’ve been driving my 2004 Ford Taurus I’ve been zapped at a highway patrol scanner point. There was a loud beep…

Brand: S-10's warning lights an on-again/off-again thing

Q: I have a 2003 Chevrolet S10 with 70,000 miles. A month ago the ABS and brake warning lights came on. The next time I…

Needs vs. wants in choice of 4-wheel or front-drive

Q: I would like your opinion on the advantages of 4WD vs. FWD vehicles. I loved my first front-wheel-drive vehicle, an early ’80s Chevy Citation,…

Some Nissan warranties extended due to defect

Q: Can you tell me if you have any information on radiator fluid getting into the transmissions of 2005+ Nissan Xterras? Is there a service…

Brand: Will tire with low pressure place stress on drivetrain?

Q: You’ve spent a lot of ink on tire diameter differences caused by unusual tire wear. How about describing the impact of one low-air-pressure tire…

Brand: Two choices for addressing Caravan's starting woes

Q: My wife has a 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan with 76,000 miles. We are having an ongoing problem over the past two years with the…

Brand: Keep car or trade it in?

Q: I own a 2005 Chevy Malibu with 75,000 miles on it. I have kept up with oil changes religiously since buying the car new.…

Brand: Revisiting tire diameter on 4/AWD vehicles

Q: While I agree that tires are an important safety component, I mildly disagree that they are relatively low-cost (new tires on my 2003 Expedition…

Brand: Tale of two vehicles is a noisy story

Here are two completely different vehicles with a very similar problem.Q: I have a 2010 Chevy Cobalt with just under 50,000 miles on it. It…

Brand: Tire diameter crucial with AWD, 4-wheel drive

Q: I have 50,000 miles on my 2010 Acura MDX with all-wheel drive and 18-inch Dunlap tires. I have been informed that one of the…

Brand: Cougar was dormant; now it won't run

Q: I have some questions regarding the fuel pump on my 1995 Mercury Cougar with the 4.6-liter V-8. The car was garaged for about three…

Infiniti owner balks at $2,600 part replacement

Q: I have a 2010 Infiniti EX35. Last December my engine light went on and I had the codes checked at AutoZone — P0014 and…

Dead Cadillac battery may be linked to heated seats

Q: My 2006 Cadillac DTS has had a battery problem ever since I purchased it used in 2010. The morning after I bought the car,…

Brand: Odyssey's gas pedal has dead spot

Q: I bought a 2013 Honda Odyssey Touring with all the gadgets I could think of. And while I love the van, there's one thing…

Brand: Odyssey's gas pedal has dead spot

Q: I bought a 2013 Honda Odyssey Touring with all the gadgets I could think of. And while I love the van, there's one thing…

Ignition key in Chevy Sonic is acting demonic

Q: We are having trouble with our 2012 Chevy Sonic. The key gets stuck and won't come out of the ignition. And now, the key…

Inflating tires with pure nitrogen has some benefit

Q: This has been bugging me too long. The first time I heard about nitrogen in tires I thought it was a joke. When I…

Stethoscope can be used to diagnose car troubles

Q: I have a 2005 3.8-liter Chrysler Town & Country with about 152,000 miles on it. It has a constant engine noise like a diesel…

Which tire pressure rating should motorists heed?

Q: My mother has a 2011 Honda CRV with 13,000 miles and original tires. She just got back home after two months away and her…

'Dartboard approach' is not hitting the right target

Q: I have a 2006 Dodge Dakota that has a whirring nose that appears to be coming from the gas tank area. One mechanic diagnosed…

Brand: Lights out time for owner of CR-V

Q: I have a 2006 Honda CR-V which I purchased new. I have replaced the driver's side headlamp eight times and the passenger side six…

Brand: Aging Infiniti could use some new struts

Q: We have a 1999 Infiniti I30 with 122,000 miles that runs well but has one issue — at highway speeds the car noticeably "jumps"…

Repair shops unable to find source of van's 'clunk'

Q: I have a nice '93 GMC conversion van that has been stored winters since new. There is a clunking sound when moving forward or…

Durango's HVAC blower may have bad connection

Q: I have a 2002 V8 Dodge Durango. For the past five years we have been having issues with the HVAC four-speed blower control. We've…

Stored Honda CR-V picks up a bad case of rotor rust

Q: We stored our 2013 Honda CR-V in our detached garage last winter. When we drove it last spring there was a loud grinding when…

Brand: Subaru's braking behavior may just be ABS

Q: While searching the Web to try and figure out what's wrong with my '03 Subaru Baja's brakes, I came across your article on braking…

U students work with Rosemount to boost resident involvement

Rosemount wants more of its citizens to join in, stay involved.

Spark plugs at 100K miles (and more wintry advice)

Q: I have a 2001 PT Cruiser with 100,000 miles on it. Would you recommend a spark plug change? Also, I keep hearing that…

Brand: You, your car and winter

A few answers to common questions about motor vehicles and cold weather. Q: There have been numerous articles recently about warming up vehicles before driving…

Brand: Today's cars 'break in' all on their own

Q: I was very interested in your comments on "engine break-ins." I would not be quite so quick to dismiss break-in as obsolete.I am…

Brand: Storing a car? Use an automatic battery charger

Q: I am the proud owner of a restored 1969 GTO Pontiac GTO. This past summer I purchased a new battery from Sears. The salesman…

Brand: Buick is squealing – how to silence it?

Q: I purchased a new 2013 Buick LaCrosse with the six-cylinder engine in January 2013. It currently has only 10,300 miles on it. During…

Brand: Pickup plays radio – whenever it wants to

Q: I have a 2004 Ford F-350 dualie diesel. One night at 2 a.m. I heard my radio blaring from inside my house. When…

New radiator for Frontier a precaution worth taking

Q: I have a 2008 Nissan Frontier with the 4-liter engine, automatic transmission and 88,000 miles. In checking the Internet, apparently 2005-2010 Frontiers, Pathfinders and…

Brand: Defer some (but not all) of Kia's maintenance

Q: My 2006 Kia Optima has 50,000 miles and the dealer has recommended maintenance that is over $2,000. Do you think it is a good…

Brand: Clearing up confusion over transmission fluid

Q: I recently purchased a 2008 Chevy Equinox with 81,000 miles. It has the non-GM Aisin AF33 five-speed transmission. The owner's manual states to use…

Brand: Avoid inflated repair costs

Q: I recently had my car repaired at a dealership. A service manager said it would take about an hour and a half, another service…

Honda not likely to recall Civic's wiper motors now

Q: Our problem is with the windshield wipers on our 2007 Honda Civic. They've recently developed a problem — stopping and starting at different times…

Brand: Malibu's rattle could be from cracked heat shield

Q: I have a 2008 Chevy Malibu with 72,000 miles. Last week I heard a rattle on the driver's side, the same side where the…

Brand: Periodic flushing of brake fluid is a good idea

Q: Is it necessary to flush the brake fluid after 20,000 miles, as my Mercedes dealer recommends?A: I recommend this routine service for every motor…

Brand: Several options for Corvette brake module

Q: My C5 Corvette has the "Service ABS system" and "Service Traction Control" lights on in the DIC. It has 43K on it and these…

Brand: Minivan loses fluid and dashboard lights up

Q: We have 184,000 miles on our 2005 Chrysler Town & Country van with 3.8-liter engine. The other day my wife drove it down the…

Brand: Guidelines suggest when tires should be repaired

Q: I have a car that I drive only a couple of thousand miles a year. It had a slow leak in a tire more…

Brand: Balky Suburban may have problem with low fuel pressure

Q: I have a 1999 Chevy Suburban 1500 V-8. Frequently the car won’t start. The engine turns over but won’t catch. The odd thing…

Brand: Buick owner questions need for 100K service

Q: I have owned a 2008 Buick Lucerne since new. It is now approaching the 100K mark. It has been driven probably 80 percent freeway.…

Brand: Jeep's brake rotors seem to be failing at warp speed

Q: I have a 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee with 160,000 miles on it. The problem is with the brake rotors warping. Every time I've had…

Brand: Hyundai's onetime brake lockup is puzzling

Q: Last week I parallel-parked my 2003 Hyundai Sante Fe. I came out to drive away and went about 3 feet before the car stopped…

Brand: For some cars, tire dimensions are crucial

Q: I just read your article "Wrong tire size is not a solution," where you advised that tires should all be the same size on…
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