In Summary
  • A damaged CAT will block your exhaust and can cause poor engine performance or damage.
  • Your mechanics need to closely examine the factory sealed CAT by looking at the ends to determine that it has not melted to form solid pieces.

Hi Paul, I drive a Raum 2000. For about two months it has been having intermittent power (speed). Meanwhile there has been a dashboard light that I have failed to understand. It has arrows with a red illuminant light. What could be the problem? Besides, I have been experiencing irregular fuel consumption. Hadijah

Hello Hadijah, that symbol stands for possible damage to the catalytic converter in the exhaust system. The Catalytic Converter (CAT) is a device fitted in the exhaust system to chemically breakdown pollutants in the car’s exhaust smoke.
This device is shaped like a honey comb and made out of a ceramic like material with tiny holes that allow exhaust smoke to pass through as it is chemically rendered less harmful to the environment. The catalytic converter can be damaged when your engine does not burn fuel completely either because your spark plugs are worn out or fuel injectors are damaged.
Faulty oxygen sensors fitted to the exhaust may send wrong information to the engine management computer about efficient burning of fuel in the engine.
Any of these faulty conditions can lead to delivery of more fuel than can be burnt in the combustion chamber. The excess fuel is emitted with the exhaust and dumped in the very hot CAT which tends to meltdown because of the fuel deposits. A damaged CAT will block your exhaust and can cause poor engine performance or damage.
Your mechanics need to closely examine the factory sealed CAT by looking at the ends to determine that it has not melted to form solid pieces.
Shaking the CAT housing will help you tell if there are pieces of the damaged CAT. If you are lucky and this condition has not prevailed for long, you may be able to arrest the CAT damage by fixing the above factors which cause delivery of excess fuel.

What is the difference between a super and ordinary Premio?

Hi Paul, what is the difference between Super Premio and an ordinary one? Simon Kwikiriza

Hello Simon, Toyota builds their cars with grades which the first owners or dealerships select when placing orders.
For Premio or other models, super stands for superior grade. There are other grades such as F, L or EX or MX. The difference between superior and the standard grade is the extra comfort features and finishes. Superior is designed with heated power adjusted leather seats and steering. It comes with an electrically adjusted multi-function steering for easy control of your entertainment and cruise control, traction control and remote keyless entry. Superior can be identified by its unique gold badges, nickel door handles and front grille garnishing.

Why do I have an ABS light on my dashboard?

Hi Paul, my Mitsubishi Pajero GDi has a problem with the brakes. The dash board continuously displays the ABS light and whenever I step on the brakes the pedal shakes a lot and the car takes long to stop. What could be the problem? Can you recommend a solution? Natukunda

Hello Natukunda, your Mitsubishi Pajero may have a faulty Anti-lock Brake System (ABS).
This system is designed to prevent wheel lock and skidding when you brake on a slippery surface, during an emergency.
The ABS system on your Pajero relies on an electronic modulator and the brake fluid master cylinder to deliver brake fluid in pulsating motions when you apply brakes on a slippery surface.
Ordinarily the ABS should not engage when you apply brakes on a dry firm surface.
It should only engage when the wheel speed sensors detect that the road surface is slippery.
Continuous engagement of the ABS and the severe murdering of the brake pedal every time you apply the brakes is a sign of ABS system failure.
A computer diagnosis, prior inspection, would help to determine whether the fault is caused by failure of the ABS relay, electric modulator or sensors.
In your case the Pajero ABS modulator is attached to the brake master cylinder.

How can improve my fuel economy?

Hi Paul, I read about a Shell Fuel Save race last week where the winner used a 1.0 litre Toyota Vitz to cover a distance of 78 kilometres to Entebbe and back to Kampala using only 3.5 litres of fuel. Which means the fuel economy was 22 kilometres per litre. I drive a similar car but my best fuel consumption has been 18 kilometres per litre. How can I achieve the same? F Kamulegeya

Hello Kamulegeya, the winner of last weekend’s Shell Fuel Save challenge Ms Rosie Amodoi attributes her good fuel economy to three factors which could help you too: First and foremost she uses Shell Fuel Save Unleaded main grade fuel which is designed to last longer and take you further per litre.
Secondly she made a conscious decision to make adjustments to her driving habits in order to stretch the fuel gains and do more with her fuel saving. Ms Amodoi practiced the Shell Fuel Save driving tips: engine oil service and tuning to ensure that the engine runs light and burns fuel optimally; smooth driving with gentle acceleration and braking to avoid fuel costly high engine revolutions, avoiding excessive idling during hold ups in traffic jams by turning off the engine since you are going nowhere, careful journey planning to avoid slow traffic or repeat journeys, avoid overloading your car because this increases engine load and energy or fuel demand, use air conditioning minimally.
Use of air conditioning adds an extra load (fuel demand) to the engine and as such is a tradeoff between comfort and fuel economy, driving on well inflated tyres with good treads provides ample traction which reduces energy demand to move the car forward. Worth mentioning is this is Ms Amodoi’s second consecutive win of the grand prize having improved from her result for last year’s challenge where she covered 20 kilometres per litre of Shell Fuel Save Unleaded petrol.
I am sure she will continue to improve her personal fuel economy result as she continuously perfects the Shell Fuel Save driving tips.