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I am having an issue with my vehicle, a 2006 Chevy Trailblazer that I bought in March of 2019 with 146,000 miles on it. My tank was halfway empty, so I went to fill up. I was filling it up, and it stopped. I thought there is no way it would only take $14. I have had issues with another vehicle at this pump, so I hang it up and go to another station, and the same thing happens. I am pumping, and it stops at $1, when it normally costs around $30. Everytime I push the pump, it stops after a few seconds. What exactly could be going wrong?

Leah E

Your vehicle has a fuel-tank venting issue. Here are a few likely repairs. Firstly, there is GM Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) #04-06-04-003A, which stipulates replacement of the fuel tank upper filler pipe and lower hose. Without knowing the specifics of your vehicle, I can’t say if the TSB directly applies to you, but you can research it.

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Secondly, the fuel-pump sending unit, which sits directly in your tank, may have a restricted vent. Your service provider might be able to clear any blockage, but complete replacement may ultimately be required.

The last – and simplest – repair is the EVAP vent-valve solenoid and vent valve located underneath your vehicle, beside the fuel tank. I would start with this item first, as it is relatively easy to get to and replace, requiring only minimal DIY skills and tools.


I have a 900-pound dry-weight teardrop trailer. I pull it with a 2006 1.8-litre 4-speed automatic Toyota Matrix, which has a towing capacity of 1,500 pounds. I was advised never to use overdrive when pulling the trailer, due to the possibility of overheating the transmission. On long flat highways and only at highway speeds, I do put it in overdrive. I do not let the engine under-rev or shift back and forth from third-gear to OD. I only shift in and out of OD manually and only when there is no excess load on the engine. Is this okay, or am I damaging my transmission?

Thanks.

Grant P

Towing in overdrive is generally not advised, but this is the real world where people tend to do what they want and think about the consequences later. It’s good of you to double-check. Vehicles with a dedicated tow/haul mode are much more suitable for a set-it-and-forget-it tow experience. Those vehicles will have elevated pressures within the transmission that keep the vehicle’s torque converter from going in and out of lock-up. As you have mentioned, heat is the enemy of automatic transmissions. This is especially true for you, as I’m sure you can easily load up that trailer and be right at, or over, your tow-weight limit. Hilly roads, where you are on and off the throttle, cause the torque converter to lock and unlock and will also cause the transmission to cycle through the higher gears. This repeated locking and cycling generates a generous amount of unwanted heat. So as long you are aware of the nuances of the transmission’s shifting patterns, you should be just fine on flat, level highways in overdrive.

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

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