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Dave Redinger's The Neighbourhood Mechanic 7/24/06

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the Neighbourhood Mechanic” is available on the radio “1050 CHUM” & “” Saturdays@ 9 am EST, join us on air, 866 444 8326 toll free

Six years and 6.5 million tires after the fact, the Firestone tire company is back in the news. It seems that after Ford and Firestone voluntarily replaced all those defective tires, on all those Explorers, they forgot to swap out the spares. That means there are still 10’s of thousands of biodegradable tires out there. The fallout of this event triggered several changes in the tire business. Manufacture’s shortened the service life of tires to 5 years and the government mandated that vehicles be equipped with low tire pressure warning devices. Good stuff. However; if the tire is under inflated, your on your own. Check your tire’s pressure at least once a month or prior to any long trips. For information: Contact (800) 465-1904 to or go to" target="_blank"> size="3" face="Arial">

I read where you said the four wheel drive doesn't cost much more for maintenance. I think you are right. My 92 Ford Explorer seems to get the front end out of line more than usual. I don't notice it until the tires start to wear. Could it be that they don't stay in line like a 4x2 or am I not rotating the tires enough.


Fords have always been tough on front ends... The Explorer is a truck, based on the Ranger series and shouldn't be compared to the Hondas, Mazdas etc. These mini-utes are car based. The truck based vehicles are more rugged and heavy. They require regular tire pressure testing and rotation. So if fact, you are correct in your diagnoses. Lack of tire pressure was the main reason for all those Firestone failures in the late 90's .....lack of pressure will overheat the tire and reduce it's life.

I read your article in 24hrs every week. I have a question about my Suzuki Vitara (2000, 2L). The "service engine soon" light came on a few months ago and I got it checked and was told that there is a EGR system flow malfunction (P0400). I had the control cleaned and the system reset but now the light is on again. The control valve cost $400, I was told that I don't need to change it unless I am going for an emission test. Would there be any damage to the vehicle if I continue to drive it or should I change the control immediately?

bad advice....

Any time the "service engine light"

is lit the car's computer switches to "back up" mode. In this mode the car will not react to it's environment. It will use more fuel, hard start and finally start to damage other emissions components.

First off; change mechanics and secondly fix the thing

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