The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

Dave Redinger's The Neighbourhood Mechanic 6/27/06

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)




In praise of the large car. Alot of my duties are performed in big city, downtown traffic. I’m the first to admit in this environment the subcompact is king. Easy to handle, easy to park and easy on gas. But, get that sucker out on the open road and hold on. All the inner city virtues are “blowing in the wind”. Literally! The subcompact is lethal on big city expressways and the surrounding highways. Face it the thing is light and small. There’s nothing more exiting than being able to count the number of insect hits, on that 18 wheeler’s license plate, as he fills your mirror or performing an involuntary lane change as a bus goes by. It just adds to the excitement. My solution? Two cars, little one for the city, BIG ONE for the hwy.

Just a thought..

I’m a new driver and my first Ontario winter is coming. Can you explain if I should buy snow tires. I have a Honda Civic and commute daily.


As we enter the digital age the word snow tire is no longer used. Tires are specialized and now referred to as winter-tires. Winter-tires are all about grip…(getting traction in adverse conditions) In the Canadian winter, driving conditions vary between deep snow to shear ice. Each condition is treated differently. Contact a competent tire installer and ask him the same question. One recommendation I can make, mount your tires on extra rims. This will avoid damage and simplify the installation. I would start shopping tires in the early fall when dealers will have more choices.

I have a 2000 Chrysler Neon which has 102,000 kms on it. I’m wondering when I must replace the timing belt. I read on the internet that 2000+ Neons don’t need new belts until they reach 100,000 miles. Could you please advise when I should be looking after this? Seems there are different opinions. However, I want to do what is best for the car.


Timing belt replacement is one of the good things you can do for your car. The belt is used to rotate the camshaft on overhead valve engines. Belts offered engineers a simple solution to what was a complex problem, keeping the cam timed over a long period of service. Timing belts have been in used in engines since the late 60’s. Belts are robust, however; if the belt should break the damage that results will destroy the engine. According to the service schedules I have, the belt should be changed at 168,000 KMS. However; we advise owners not to let the belts run past 6 years. The rubber has a tendency to degrade over time and use.

Dave Redinger a mechanic with over 40 yrs of experience. Dave operates his shop “DOCTOR H HONDA SPECIALISTS in Toronto for the last 25 yrs.

Email : ( we respond to every email)

LISTEN TO DAVE ON 1050 CHUM EVERY SATURDAY 9:00 am or on the web at" target="_blank">

Dave's Past Columns

July 14, 2005

July 22, 2005

July 29, 2005

August 12, 2005

August 19, 2005

August 24, 2005

August 31, 2005

October 12, 2005

October 19, 2005

October 25, 2005

November 5, 2005

November 16, 2005

November 23, 2005

December 4, 2005

December 11, 2005

February 14, 2006

January 3, 2006

January 11, 2006

January 18, 2006

January 25, 2006

February 1, 2006

February 8, 2006

March 1, 2006

March 8, 2006

March 15, 2006

March 22, 2006

March 28, 2006

April 4, 2006

April 17, 2006

April 26, 2006

May 2, 2006

May 23, 2006

May 28, 2006