The Hamilton Spectator

Answers to your car questions



Hello Dennis! I’ve got a problem with just the right front brake on my son’s F150. One of the brake pads wears out faster than the other brake pad which is like brand new. It even wore through the pad and started wearing away the caliper piston so we changed the ABS module, brake line, flex line, new caliper, new rotor and it’s still wearing the brake pad - just at the top of the rotor. We also changed the wheel bearing and a spindle, thinking that the spindle was bent by previous owners but we still have the same problem. I’m not a licensed technician but I have been servicing all my vehicles since I was 14, (sleds, dirt bikes and atvs). My only thought is that the aftermarke­t pads are the problem and if they are, why is it only the right front pad that is acting up? Thank you.

Kenny from Winona Ontario


I understand that you have replaced the calipers but you have not said anything about the slide pins. I would have hoped that the technician doing the job would have removed them, cleaned them and then properly greased them to allow the calipers to retract as intended. If the slide pins are sticking, it could either be the inner or outer brake pad that wears faster because of the restricted movement of the caliper housing or bracket when the brake pedal is released.


We are retired and are going to replace our vehicle with a used or off lease vehicle. We have always used snow tires on all four corners of our vehicles. With the climate changing and not having to travel in bad weather we are wondering about using all-weather tires year round. How do they perform in the winter and the summer? Please give us your thoughts on this product.

Chris from Burlington


All-weather tires are designed to do the job in a mild winter or warm summer but are not designed to do the job when the snowfall exceeds one to two inches. With this winter’s mild weather, one could have gotten away with all-season tires but you should check with your insurance company to make sure that you are not requested to put on snow tires.

When I was growing up on the farm, I could not afford to buy snow tires but I did take note that my friend, whose daddy could afford snow tires, eventually did get stuck in the snow but just a lot further down the road than me, which meant that I was unstuck before them.


Hello Dennis!

My mechanic recommends that I change the oil and filter on my 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee every 10,000 kms or every year, whichever comes first. I am now retired and I usually only travel around 5,000 kms in a year. Can I have the oil and filter changed once it reaches 10,000 kms which, for me, would be about every two years ? Does the oil degrade enough that I need to change it once a year, even though I haven’t reached the 10,000 kms mark? I appreciate your views on this matter.

Margaret from Ayr, Ontario


This may surprise you Margaret but your type of driving is considered as severe driving conditions according to the manufactur­er who requires that the engine oil be changed by the time in service rather than by the kilometers. Short and frequent driving trips cause the engine oil to become moisture contaminat­ed faster than if you were driving to Toronto every day. The short answer to this is that vapor contaminat­ion, in short and frequent driving trips, never allows the engine oil to get hot enough to boil out the moisture that accumulate­s in the crank case. In your case, I would change the oil every six months regardless of the kilometers that you have put on the vehicle.


Hi Dennis:

I am looking at a new vehicle (Subaru 2024 Crosstrek). My question is concerning the engine turn off/restart feature when the car is at a stoplight or idling in traffic. As a long-time senior driver, I was always under the impression that an unnecessar­y

number of stopping and starts puts a strain on the battery and starter motor leading to potential mechanical failures. Would it be wise to turn off this feature? Are there any real benefits to using this feature?

Peter from Ancaster


The benefit would be that you are not polluting the air when you are sitting at a stoplight with an idling engine. The battery and starter in your vehicle are designed to withstand the constant stopping and starting of the engine and since this feature was introduced, I have not had any complaints about premature battery or starter failures. I must admit that it took me a while to get used to this feature because a stalling vehicle at a stop light, years ago, would give me a small panic attack, wondering if the vehicle was going to leave me stranded.


I read your column weekly but your utilizatio­n of the words he/she causes anxiety to thousands of people who do not use either, so please consider their feelings when you write your column.

Jane from Burlington


Point taken! I will try to use your preferred words whenever I feel it is appropriat­e to do so.

To my readers: Please indicate the town, city or village that you live in. Be advised that unfortunat­ely not all emails can be answered. Send your questions (including address) by email to: dennis.osullivan6­

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