Hello Paul, What would make a 1KZ Super Custom engine lose power and acceleration (shows check engine), especially when it rains? Nsubuga

Hello Nsubuga, your Toyota with the 1KZ engine may be experiencing fuel supply restriction. This is when fuel pressure drops. Diesel engines use compression of fuel for ignition.

The pressure of fuel at the delivery injectors is crucial for prompt ignition. The key components you need to inspect are fuel filter in case it was not replaced at service and is clogged or choked.

A suitable fuel pressure testing tool can be used by a competent technician to confirm a drop in fuel pressure. Inspect fuel lines for leaks which can reduce fuel pressure.
The fuel pump generates fuel pressure.

Its performance can be evaluated with some tests. Finally, dirty fuel injector nozzles, will reduce engine power and affect acceleration or performance. An injector pump specialist can help to service the pump and fuel injectors.

Diesel fuel injectors whose diameter is as thin as human hair can get blocked by dirt from the soot when fuel is burnt in the engine. This will alter the pattern of fuel spray into the combustion chamber.

This is critical for efficient atomisation or prompt ignition. It is similar to how a limescale-blocked shower head affects the performance of your shower. Use of reputable differentiated diesel with powerful cleaning additives and regular fuel filter service will help to prevent dirt buildup in your fuel injectors.

Hello Paul, my car steering shakes at speeds of 75 KPH and above. What could be the cause? Darius

Hello Darius, steering wheel severe shaking at speeds above 75 KPH can be caused by damaged wheels or tyres. Unevenly worn out tyres or bent rims will cause a wobble or vibration which increases with speed. Tyre surfaces should be inspected for damage or uneven wear.

Poor wheel alignment can cause steering shaking at high speeds as the wheels do not move unilaterally.

This can be ruled out at a wheel alignment centre. Occasionally, excessively worn out brake discs can cause steering judder or shaking at high speeds. Have them looked at if the other points check out fine.

Hello Paul, whenever I start my car, it indicates stop engine oil pressure.....what do I do? It is a 2004 model. Sara.

Hello Sara, you ought to engage a technician or mechanic to check the oil level and confirm the condition of the oil filter to rule out low oil level or blockage.

Confirm the condition of engine cleanliness or absence of severe sludge which could restrict oil flow through the oil pick up tube from the oil sump as well as the oil pump. Examination of the sump to rule out presence of sludge.

Hello Paul, I will travel abroad for an extended study tour early next year. What can I do to keep my car safely at home? Anita

Hello Anita, there are steps you can take to prevent damage of the car battery, paint, interior and internal equipment or tyres which can get damaged if not properly protected against elements or small animals.

Here are a few important steps you can follow. Get secure parking for the car with ample ventilation and protection from burglars or playing children. Remove valuables. If indoors, ensure the car is free of excessive dust and there is no grain or food stuffs nearby which attract rats or small animals. These can damage wire harnesses or engine insulation as they build nests in the car. Attend to important fluids.

Change engine oil and coolant using reputable products to prevent buildup of corrosion in the engine and ensure their fidelity when you next start the car. Wash and wax the car to prevent damage of paint work by dust or dirt. Vacuum clean the interior to remove food particles which may attract cockroaches.

Clean the interior with protective fabric cleaners not corrosive soap and water. Inflate the tyres to correct pressure to avoid finding a flat tyre. Where possible, with more technical help, you can jack up the car and keep it on axle stands. This prevents harmful flat patches on tyre surfaces parked on the floor for prolonged periods.

Do not apply the hand brake to avoid corrosion of brake shoes. Instead use chocks and park in gear (manual transmission) or select parking (Automatic). Block the air intake tunnel before the air cleaner, and the exhaust tail pipe with suitable covers to prevent intrusion of small animals such as rats.

Park the car on a vapour proof plastic sheet to prevent under ride, axle and suspension corrosion. If outdoors use a breathable car cover to avoid buildup of moisture or humidity which can damage the paint work. Place a plastic wrap around the wipers to prevent their damage due to sticking to the windscreen. With technical help from your mechanic or guidance from the car user manual, you can disconnect the car battery negative terminal.

To avoid damage from extended draining or no charge, ensure that you do not lock the bonnet, trunk or doors securely when you disconnect the battery as you may not be able to gain access to the car. There are battery saver or automated charging devices which can be used with guidance of your car dealer, mechanic or user manual to avoid harmful power surges.

Finally, note down all measures taken, which may require adjustment or reversal before you attempt to start the car upon return. Stick this note on your steering wheel.

If that checks out then test the oil pressure switch which can give a false alarm if its faulty.

Hello Paul, I drive 2001 VW Golf which I have been maintaining diligently. It has been running well until a couple of overheating episodes fixed recently.

Over the last two or three months the Golf has developed excessive exhaust smoke first black and now white and loss of pulling power.

I have to top up coolant and oil. Two different mechanics have suggested engine overhaul but cannot explain why the car has lost power and smokes yet I serviced it regularly. Can you explain why this car has deteriorated and what you think I ought to do? Sam.

Hello Sam, from the recent history you have shared, your VW Golf engine may be burning engine coolant and engine oil. This means you have oil and possibly coolant leaking into the engine combustion chamber where it is burnt.

This explains the white and blue smoke. Leaking oil also causes loss of compression when the pistons rise (compression stroke) to compress the fuel air mixture for combustion. The loss of compression, reduces the combustibility (ability to burn completely) of fuel and air in the cylinders hence the loss of power.

The mechanics have a point, you need to overhaul or replace the engine.

The overheating episodes could have caused a damage of the cylinder head gasket and cylinder head which led to leaking coolant into the engine, hence the white smoke, typical of burning coolant.

Coolant in the engine will affect the lubrication of pistons and damage piston rings which can lead to oil infiltration into the combustion chambers.

An overhaul of the engine with new genuine parts is recommended after dismantling to assess the extent of damage. A quality used engine imported from the UK or Japan is another alternative. The replacement engine has to get a compression test before you feel comfortable.