Ask the Mechanic

Thursday April 08 2021
By Paul Kaganzi

Why is my car overheating?

l own a Peugeot convertible 204. It has had no major issues until recently when the engine started overheating. When it does, the car stops abruptly and a warning light shows up on the dashboard. There is no garage in the city centre for Peugeot cars. Should I take it to any garage?


Hello Jimmy, there are a couple of garages in town which fix European cars that will be able to repair your Peugeot. You need to find them. Any good mechanic can find the cause of overheating in your Peugeot engine and you can get the parts from Kampala City centre, Nairobi, Kenya or Dubai.

Abrupt engine stall during severe overheating is the engine computer’s design to prevent engine damage during severe overheating. The common causes include a blocked or seized thermostat. This component regulates flow of coolant into the engine. When it fails, coolant flow is restricted.

The failure of an engine water pump or engine cooling fans are two other causes of overheating. These can be confirmed during inspection by a mechanic. Cooling fan performance can be monitored using a diagnostic tool. Occasionally, they fail to activate the second stage and run without cooling the car when engine temperatures exceed 80 degrees centigrade.


Lastly, the cooling system should be checked to rule out leaking points such as aging hoses, radiator or the water pump itself.


Why does my car cut power?

I recently bought a Mark II grand 2002 model. Before buying, a diagnosis check was carried out and everything was fine except a little issue with the AC sensor which I was told was not much of a problem. However, my car cuts power while driving. It goes off for a second and then picks up again by itself? Kindly advise.


Hello Bright, intermittent loss of engine power or acceleration can be caused by fuel starvation or a leak on the air intake system. Fuel supply maintenance for your Mark II requires renewal of the fuel filter every 100,000kms. Often, this is overlooked. A dirty or clogged fuel filter will cause erratic performance or intermittent engine power loss.

Worst case scenario is damage of the fuel pump and injectors, which will cause a no start condition. The air intake system is crucial for acceleration and steady engine idling. A leaking or clogged intake system, especially between the air filter housing and throttle can cause intermittent engine loss of power or stalling when you load it during steering or use of consumers such as the AC.  Have the intake tunnel inspected and your air cleaner maintained. A dirty air cleaner will allow soot and dust to penetrate and damage the throttle unit. This will prevent smooth acceleration or steady engine idling. These recommendations should be considered after inspection of the said components by a qualified technician.


Why is my instrument cluster not working?

Hello Paul, I have a Toyota Regius Wind Tourer. The battery was acting up so a friend opted to install his to start up my car but mistakenly reversed the polarity. Now only the battery and engine lights on the dash appear and nothing else responds on ignition. What could be the damage and how much will it cost to fix?


Hello Andrew, Misaligning polarity (RED +ve/ BLACK -ve) of battery leads (cables) while connecting to your car’s battery terminals must have caused a short circuit. This could have burnt a fuse for a circuit to the instrument cluster. In some extreme cases, this kind of mistake can damage electronic control modules for the engine, transmission, SRS or ABS modules. In newer cars it can damage electronic keys.

A good mechanic or technician should be able to establish the extent of damage and resolve the problem by replacing the burnt fuse to restore the circuit of this instrument cluster.

How much will it cost to buy a Nissan pick-up truck?

Hello Paul, I am interested in buying a Nissan pick-up 2.5D,1995-2000 with a petrol engine. My budget is between Shs10m and Shs15m. Is this possible?


Hello Daniel, you can find the D21 1995 Nissan Datsun pick-up on car selling websites such as checki Uganda or jiji Uganda. A recently imported ex-Japan used D21 will cost about Shs25m while locally used ones cost between Shs7m to Shs15m. The D21 with a petrol engine comes with a 2.4 litre KA24E line 4 engine. The 2.5D is the TD25 turbo diesel engine.  Your preferred 2.4L petrol engine will give you a moderate output of 134 horsepower (HP) and torque of 206 Nm. The diesel 2.5 TD gives an output 159 HP and 338Nm because of the slightly bigger cubic capacity and turbo charging.

This is a no frills, no thrills solid pick-up truck also nicknamed the ‘ Nissan Hustler’ in Australia. A perfect test bed for the development of the hard body and Navara pick-up trucks.

Solid frame and body, which combines with the leaf springs to create a strong and versatile vehicle akin to a workhorse in the Wild West. D21 has manual door latches, handles and window winders. The D21 has a softer side with a tape deck, air conditioning and heater to make you a little comfortable while you hassle with the hustler.

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