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Dave Redinger's The Neighbourhood Mechanic 9/13/06

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Mechanics have car problems too. For years I have lived with the fear that my wife’s car will break down. Money was tight when we started off and we drove old cars. Heaven help me if that sucker ever let her down. I would never hear the end of it. Funny thing, I noticed early in my career, how break downs are always the mechanics fault. I didn’t design it, build it or sell it. It was me, who

didn’t have the time to service it, and it wasn’t me, that broke the thing in the first place. Cars do wear out. So, how’s that my fault? One more thing “Why do most customers ask for a discount”. I tried asking for a discount at a local big box store, they threw me out! By the way I bought the wife a new car. Now she has the dealer to blame.

My 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee has a tendency to stall out and sputter. I shut it off and wait for twenty minutes and then it’s OK. I have 365,000 kms now and drive mostly in the city shopping and work. My husband “the mechanic” was supposed to fix this !

Jen, Cambridge

The fact that everything is OK after twenty mins leads me to suspect the fuel system. I would think that the fuel filter is plugged or that the gas tank has water / dirt in it. Foreign material will clog the fuel pump strainer. Don’t blame hubby too much. We actually need more information on this one...

When I stop at a red light with the transmission in drive and my foot on the brake, the car vibrates and shakes. There are times when the engine stalls. I recently had a "tune-up" to see if it would help. The car does run better but it did not help with this problem mentioned above. There are times when it vibrates only slightly but most of the time, it vibrates quite a bit, enough to see the hood shaking. Do you know what the problem is and what is causing it?


It sounds as if the engine is not running on all cylinders. The problem could be as simple as a plug that is fouled or more serious such as a sticking valve. Have a dynamic compression test performed. This test cuts out individual cylinders and measures the load they are sharing. The results will lead you to the next step.

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