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lou's garage

I drive a 2008 Toyota Yaris hatchback with 170K kilometres. It’s a great vehicle, and I have no desire for something new. I’ve kept up with the major repairs (it has updated brakes and a new clutch and muffler). It is getting a little loud (I think I need to remove the heat shield), and I’d like to take it to a mechanic for a non-specific once-over. What do you think needs to be tweaked or replaced in the near future so that I can keep this lovely car on the road for years to come? – Lori R

If you are following the Toyota maintenance schedule, your next milestone service will arrive at 192,000 kilometres. That service will include changing the spark plugs, inspecting the engine valve clearance, oil and all filter replacement and inspecting a whole host of other items. You should also go into this service knowing when all your fluids were last replaced. This information will help the inspecting mechanic determine what fluids need to be replaced at that time. Other than that, your vehicle is approaching what I refer to as the as-it-breaks stage of its life. A good thorough inspection can catch most items, but not everything. Given the age of the vehicle, expecting and being prepared for the occasional unscheduled breakdown would be smart. Having a roadside assistance package for this vehicle is a wise investment, in my humble opinion.

1. How do I know which pressure gauge to trust? I have several, including pen-style, round dials and gauges built into manual and electric pumps, and they don’t agree at all. In fact, for the same tire the highest and lowest differ by about 8 PSI.

2. Owners’ manuals always give the recommended pressure for a “cold” tire. Often the instructions will say to add 2 PSI if the car has just been driven any distance. But they don’t mention weather. Surely the temperature difference between a tire parked in the dead of winter and one in direct sunlight in July is much greater than the difference between parked and just driven. How should one correct for ambient temperature when deciding what pressure to use? Thanks. – Michael B., Toronto

I think we can assume that the tire-pressure gauge attached to the service-station air-fill machine is going to be the least accurate. Other than that, you get what you pay for. A better-quality gauge is surely going to produce more reliable results. I’m sorry, but I’m not exactly sure what you are asking in Question 2. However, for every 1 degree Celsius of temperature variance, tire pressure changes a corresponding .19 PSI. So, if you have been adjusting your tire pressure throughout the year, ambient temperature correction is a relatively minor factor. Just set you tire pressures when cold to the spec on your door jamb. Be rest assured that over the course of your days journeys it is not going to change enough to worry about.

Lou Trottier is owner-operator of All About Imports in Mississauga. Have a question about maintenance and repair? E-mail, placing “Lou’s Garage” in the subject line.

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