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Motormouth: Backup camera kaput?

Bob Weber, Tribune News Service on

Published in Automotive News

Q: We have 70,000 miles on our GMC Terrain. About a year ago, the backup camera stopped working. Every once in a while, the image would go to a fuzzy black and white background. If there is a simple fix and not too expensive, I would do it.

R.S., Crete, Illinois

A: More than likely the camera is kaput since it acted up prior to failing. Otherwise, I would have suggested checking the fuses. Get a few estimates because it may be more than you want to invest. Alternatively, you could install an aftermarket camera kit that simply mounts to the license plate bracket.

Q: I enjoy your column appearing in the Review-Journal every Saturday in Las Vegas, but I disagree with your response to B.J. in Minnesota (about his engine that keeps running). Having worked as a Buick Master Tech for 34 years, I remember Buick introduced the 455 CID engine in 1969 and phased out the 430 CID engine. Most of the time, the idle was set too high (550 to 600 rpm in drive was correct). GM added anti-dieseling solenoids in 1972 to tame the run-on problem. As long as the dwell and timing are set correctly, it should be OK.

J.B., Las Vegas

A: I had a hunch I would hear from an old-time mechanic or two. I was not disappointed. Dieseling refers to an engine that runs although there is no spark from the spark plugs. Diesel engines have no spark plugs, hence the term. When activated, the solenoid would hold the throttle open a little bit at idle. When the key was turned off, the solenoid shaft retracted, and the throttle closed. As my readers noted, many mechanics adjusted the solenoid to set the idle speed instead of correctly adjusting the carburetor’s idle screw. The fix is to replace the solenoid, set the idle the right way or both. Some day I may explain what dwell and timing meant, but probably not.

Q: I own a 2016 Ford F150 EcoBoost 4x4 with 45,000 miles on it. The owner's manual says do not change transmission fluid. My husband declares it must be done on any auto. Do you have any information or ideas on this? Please let me know. I appreciate your time and expertise.


K.K., Virginia Beach, Virginia

A: Automobile companies invest bucket loads of dollars and years of research into designing vehicles and their components. The holy grail is a totally maintenance-free vehicle. There is talk about sealing the hood. But you can’t stop some owners from over-maintaning their vehicles. That is not a bad thing, though. Modern lubricants do not break down as quickly as conventional lubes. If your pickup has a 6-speed or 10-speed transmission, it can go another 100,000 miles before the scheduled transmission fluid and filter replacement.

Q: At 60,000 miles maintenance on our 2017 Toyota Camry, the dealer recommended we service the fuel injectors at a cost of $180. We have owned three Camrys and never done this service, nor had any fuel injection problems. My ASE-certified mechanic said to put a can of Sea Foam in the gas tank every 10,000 miles to keep them clean. Is the dealer trying to clean my wallet?

C.H., Colorado Springs, Colorado

A: Sea Foam has been around for a long time. Despite its name, there is no foaming brine in it. An alternative product is Chevron Techron. Both keep the fuel system clean and clean the fuel injectors as you drive. When a service tech cleans your injection system, you are also paying the labor charge.

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