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Paul Brand

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

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…

Brand: Grand Caravan unhappy when refueled

Q: My wife’s 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan will not let us add gas to it. At best, I need to fill it painfully slowly. I…

Brand: Keep all four tires the same size, please

Q: My co-worker had a flat left front tire on her 2002 Jeep Liberty. She had no spare and the service station didn’t have her…

Malibu fault code affected by which engine powers it

Q: Code P0172 came up in my 2010 Chevy Malibu. The dealer charged me $100 to troubleshoot the code. I was told that all…

Brand: Owner babies 2004 Corvette

Q: I own a 2004 Corvette coupe purchased new in 2003. It has only 6,000 miles on it and is driven once a month in…

Brand: Explorer's odd symptoms point to torque converter

Q: My 2000 Ford Explorer 4-liter Control-Trac 4WD has 120,000 miles on it. At 84,000 miles the O/D (overdrive) light began flashing randomly. The shop…

Tire pressure sensors, aerosol inflators don't jibe

Q: Last week I had a flat tire on my 2013 Buick Encore with only 4,500 miles on it. I got out my can of…

Brand: The tradeoffs of keyless door locks

Q: I was shocked to see a news broadcast of a man whose car caught fire and he couldn’t get out because the electric door…

Voltage to the starter is key to non-starting Focus

Q: I found a 2003 Ford Focus with 30,000 miles for my daughter’s transportation needs for a few years. After driving to a destination, the…

How to handle emergency with push-button ignition

Q: In your column you gave advice on what to do if someone experienced a stuck throttle. With a traditional key I understand the steps…

Cause of RAV4's whining noise baffles 3 mechanics

Q: I hope you can help us find out what is causing a loud whining on our 2013 Toyota RAV4. It started a month ago…

Three approaches for dealing with emergency

Q: I read a recent article discussing GM’s problems with their faulty ignition switch. You have given the advice in the past to turn…

Mustang needs a couple of tires – front or rear?

Q: I have a 2011 Mustang GT 5.0-liter with 36,000 miles. It has the Brembo brake package and Goodyear F1 tires on it. I’m ready…

When there's white smoke, check first for coolant leak

Q: I own a 2003 Honda Accord. In April a large amount of white smoke came out of the front of the car when I…

Suburban owner wonders: Why won't sunroof close?

Q: The sunroof on my 2005 Suburban will not close. I turned on the ignition switch to lower the windows and open the sunroof to…

Starting 2012 Chrysler van gives driver a jolting jump

Q: Recently I purchased a 2012 Chrysler Town & Country SXT V6 van with 39,000 miles. It is a one-owner vehicle with no Carfax issues.…

Diminutive driver's hubby worries about her safety

Q: My wife is 5 feet 2 and has a driving posture that places her about 12 inches from the steering wheel of her 2010…

Ford Focus' interior acts like it's a haunted house

Q: I have a 2004 Ford Focus. When my car sits in the garage for a couple of days some of the dash lights and…

Odyssey's air bag warning light needs to be checked out

Q: I have a 2005 Honda Odyssey. About two months ago the passenger air bag light started coming on. I took it in for an…

Brand: With ethanol fuel, no gas line antifreeze needed

Q: This past winter I added gas line antifreeze and water remover when I refueled my car. Is this really necessary since gasoline is 10…

Brand: Followup on RAV4 tire pressure light

Q: We have a 2010 Toyota RAV4 that had the same tire pressure light problem noted in your recent column. Took the car to the…

Paul Brand: Seatbelt warning chimes in

Q: I really appreciated your response to the non-seatbelt wearer! I wear my seatbelt all the time, but a number of months ago the driver’s…

What's causing RAV4's tire pressure warning to light?

Q: I have a 2005 Toyota RAV4 with 115K miles. Intermittently the dashboard’s tire pressure warning light comes on, even when all tires are within…

Driver who doesn't wear his seatbelt is asking for trouble

Q: I have an ’07 Sierra 1500 with 80,000 miles. The other day my radio went off for no reason and I also noticed that…

Driver wonders if antilock brakes are all that effective

Q: I have two cars with ABS — a 1999 Buick Regal and 2013 Toyota Corolla. I am wondering if ABS is really the best…

If brake account is accurate, dealer dropped the ball

Q: I have a 2003 Buick Rendezvous. After the dealer did a brake job, the red “Brake” warning light on the dash came on, along…

Buick is showing classic symptoms of vapor lock

Q: Here is a problem that I have fought for almost two years. My 2001 Buick Regal will not start after a shutdown and heat…

Volvo needs 20 minutes of highway driving to warm up

Q: I have an issue with my car warming up slowly when the temperature gets down around 0 degrees F. The car is a 2011…

Should owner fix sliding door or buy a new minivan?

Q: My 2007 Chrysler Town & Country minivan has 75,000 miles. The driver’s side passenger door has rusted through at the bottom. Three body shop…

Saturn VUE owner is tired of its shake, rattle and roll

Q: I have a 2004 four-cylinder Saturn VUE with 65,000 miles. It feels like the car will tear apart when I hit a large bump.…

Buying gas? Turn off your engine, don't smoke (duh)

Q: I was wondering if you could address a common occurrence — people fueling their vehicles with the engine running. I filled up this morning…

Owner of RAV4 isn't raving about 'Check engine' light

Q: I have a 2007 Toyota RAV4 I bought from a large car dealer. After two months the “Check engine” light came on. The Toyota…

Smoking out the rough idle and stalling of Expedition

Q: I have a 2001 Ford Expedition with the 5.4-liter V8 and 103,000 miles. At 98,000 miles it developed a rough idle and began stalling…

CVT transmissions perform as well as others in deep cold

Q: I live in Minnesota and am a first-time owner of a vehicle with a CVT — continuously variable transmission. It does act differently at…

Brand: VW teaches lessons about glowplugs

Q: I have a 2001 VW Golf TDI. It starts right up but after I drive a few feet, the “Check engine” light pops on.…

Malibu's loss of coolant turns into a torrent within

Q: My husband and I have a four-cylinder 2006 Chevy Malibu with 137,000 miles on it. Since the fall of 2012, the car has been…
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