Ask the Mechanic

Thursday January 21 2021
By Paul Kaganzi

My car does not pump fuel properly

Hello Paul, my Mercedes Benz 230E does not pump fuel properly. Even if there is enough fuel, at times it behaves as if it has run out. What could be the problem?


Hello Lydia, it is always useful to start with the basics. Have you replaced your fuel filter since your car’s fuel system started failing? If you haven’t, it may have damaged your fuel pump. However, before you replace the fuel pump, make sure the fuel lines from the pump are not damaged or leaking. A computer diagnosis does not harm, to confirm that an engine management sensor like the crank angle sensor is not faulty.

The crank angle sensor keeps the engine control module updated with the running status and speed of the engine. When this sensor fails, the engine control module will withhold fuel supply on the assumption that the engine is not running. This can create a false impression that the fuel pump is faulty.

Why is the key remote not opening my car doors?


Hello Paul, my Mercedes E240 key sometimes fails to open the doors remotely. At first it happened when the car battery was faulty but it persists even after getting a new car battery. Please advise.



Hello Hellen. Whereas a bad car battery can cause failure of remote key opening, in this case, your key batteries have most likely failed. The progressive failure of the remote key opening function confirms key battery ageing. Your key has two three-volt batteries that will age overtime.

To confirm that these batteries have failed, the key cover has to be carefully opened following manufacturer guidelines to avoid damaging the casing.

After accessing the batteries, they can be tested to confirm voltage or need to replace them with new batteries. It is important to match the size of the batteries, which is indicated on the batteries for correct fitting.

What is the meaning of some warning lights?

I have a Toyota Vista Ardeo 2000. Whenever I drive on the highway, the engine and ABS lights come on at the same time but when I drive short distances they never do. What could be the problem? Also, when the engine warms up after driving it for some time, the engine takes long to start, could it be the spark plugs? 


Hello Reeves, ABS fault lights are usually flashed if there is something wrong with the ABS system, usually the wheel speed sensor. An intermittent check engine could be an engine emission fault caused by a faulty sensor such as an oxygen sensor or crank angle sensor. A car computer diagnosis will confirm my remote symptomatic diagnosis.

Can I cover my car one week after a paint job?

Hello Paul, is it okay to cover my car a week after painting it?


Hello Alice, it may be okay to cover your car one week after a paint job.  However, the choice of car cover material or how and when you use it can cause damage to your car paint, however old it is. Car covers are one of the options used to protect a vehicle or its paint against extreme weather elements such as rain, storms, the sun, dust, tree branches or leaves and even bird droppings.

Car covers are sometimes used as a security feature against petty thieves who snatch mirror glasses. Car covers available on the market are made of neoprene, plastic or tarpo canvas material. The common hazards posed by car covers to car paint are damage of paint due to heating of trapped moisture or dust and debris scratching of paint during fitting, use or removal of the car cover. Here are some useful tips:

Avoid putting a clean cover on a dirty or dusty car. The dust and debris will scratch the paint surface. First wash the car.

Do not cover a wet or moist car. On a hot day, the moisture build up under a plastic cover can cause water spots and white milky permanent stains on the car paint. To avoid this, dry the car and use a breathable car cover to allow evaporation of moisture.

Choose a car cover with the right material. Recommended covers should have an internal lining of a gentle felt material to prevent scratching. Outdoor covers should have zippers or strings to secure it against flapping, which lets in dust.

To protect against rain, ensure that the car cover is waterproof. Sun protection can be ensured by choosing a cover with built in ultra violet protection. The car cover should be the right fit on your car to provide ample top to bottom protection.