1984 Mazda 626 Backfiring PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 09 February 2012 05:43

Dear Barbara,

I recently changed my car oil etc (I have a 1984 Mazda 626), but it wasn't until I changed the spark plugs that I started getting a backfiring problem. I also replaced the plug wires immediately in order to not mix them up, but I am still getting a problem. I need a couple hints on a solution.



Dear Sharon,

A few possibilities here. Your car backfiring problem could be caused by an exhaust leak. If you have cold air getting into your exhaust, this can defiantly be causing a backfire.

If you are experiencing a “miss”, I would recommend that you have a compression test performed on your car to see if you have a bad cylinder. Also, have you double and triple checked that you have all of the plug wires on snug and totally tight?

Thanks for writing in,

Bubble on Tires PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 09 February 2012 05:32

Dear Barbara,

I noticed the other day that I had a bubble-like thing on one of my car tires. What is this; how did it happen; and is it dangerous?



Dear Mike,

Okay, the store where you purchased your tires should, without an argument, take the defective tire back and replace it at no charge, considering that it is still within the mileage limits of the warranty on the tire.

The bubble is a weakness in the tire, usually caused by an error in manufacturing or as a result of unusual contact (e.g., a curb that you might have struck while coming home from your favorite country and western dance hall on a weekend night). I have personally experienced this particular scenario once or twice. Oops!

As far as it being dangerous, picture this… you are on the highway doing 80 mph and the tire blows out because of the weak spot which has now formed the bubble in question. The chances of you losing control over your vehicle and seriously putting yourself or another driver on the road into danger are as high as gasoline prices right now.

This could be a life-threatening situation, so I strongly suggest replacing the defective tire ASAP.

Thanks for writing in and reading my Q&A in the ‘Houston Chronicle!’

Gas Mileage for 1951 Chevrolet 3100 Pickup PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 31 January 2012 14:00

Dear Barbara,

I have read a few of your articles and am impressed with your work. I was hoping you may be able to offer me some advice. I have completed a full body-off restoration of my grandfather's 1951 Chevrolet 3100 Pickup.

I have been playing with the timing advance trying to get optimum gas mileage without hurting the pistons and overheating the exhaust valves. My engine is a 235 I6 from a 1955 model. My timing is currently advanced 15 degrees from TDC and I get about 19 MPG highway. Would it be more beneficial to my wallet to advance the timing even further and switch to a higher octane, stay where it's at, or retard the timing?

I would greatly appreciate any knowledge you might be able to share with me about this and any other gas saving tips. I have already switched to a higher ratio ring gear and pinion as well as add a Spectre Performance air intake system. Hope you can find the time to reply.

Thanks a bunch!

Dear Chevy owner,

The 19 MPG is actually really good for this make and model heavy truck that you have. You need to put the timing where it is supposed to be and add an octane boost or try different octanes of gas to see which gets you the best gas mileage, and then while playing with the timing, I will suggest that you do not set your timing anymore than 2 to 4 degrees off of the factory specs.

You may also want to dig around on the internet and try and find some gurus that specialize in classic makes and models like yours and see what else they could suggest to you. Thanks for writing in and good luck with that 1951sweet ride!

You are very welcome.

4-Wheel Drive vs All-Wheel Drive PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 09 February 2012 05:04

Dear Barbara,

Is there a difference between 4-wheel drive and all-wheel drive?



Dear George,

Good question. OK. The term “4-wheel drive” usually refers to a system that powers all 4 wheels of your vehicle 100% of the time on an equal and proportionate power basis (e.g., 25% each) given a stable traction environment. Most 4-wheel drive vehicles provide a high and low 4-wheel drive option.

The “Low 4WD” option will give much greater torque to get you through those more challenging low-speed and usually off-road situations where the additional power and grip are needed to assist you with your feelings and urges to demonstrate some of your built-up testosterone to your peers, or for most off-roading or mudding!

The high setting is more appropriate for driving at higher speeds on payment, allowing your lead foot to exceed the speed limit racing to your favorite honky-tonk, car race, or family reunion.

The primary difference between 4-wheel drive and all-wheel drive is that there is no high or low option. The automatic all-wheel drive terminology refers to a system that is really a two-wheel drive system until the system senses that you need all-wheel drive (i.e., detects that your 2-wheel drive axle is losing traction) and then it kicks in to all-wheel drive to help you regain traction.

Thanks for reading and writing in,

The “Do not top tank” Notice PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 31 January 2012 13:53

Dear Barbara,

Why do all of the self-serve gasoline pumps have a notice "DO NOT TOP TANK"? When I am driving on a long trip, I want to get as much as possible as I can in my tank to avoid stopping along the way without hoping there will be a gas station at the next town/city.




Dear Elmore,

You cannot top off your fuel tank anymore unless you want to engage your check engine light and possibly wreak havoc on your evap system. Why do I say this? Well… it puts fuel in places where fuel is not supposed to be when you overfill your tank and this is bad for major components. So next time you are filling up your gas tank and as soon as it pops off the first time, leave it be.

Thanks for writing in again!

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