Ask the Mechanic

Thursday April 29 2021
By Paul Kaganzi

Maintaining a Toyota Wish

Hello Paul, I recently bought a Toyota Wish and would like to know how to maintain it, especially since I will be driving it on the highway. Also, can I raise it a bit for comfortable driving while upcountry?


Hello Kasumba, for proper maintenance, the important considerations include engine and gearbox oil, other fluids, choice of fuel and maintenance of suspension, tyres and brakes. Toyota recommends use of semi synthetic or fully synthetic engine oils for the 1ZZ-FE (1.8L) and 1AZ-FE (2.0L) engines.

These two Toyota engines in the Wish have chain driven camshafts and variable valve timing, which rely a lot on prompt delivery of oil pressure regardless of the weather or performance demand. Mineral multi-grade oils provide good all round performance enhancement through cleanliness and protection against corrosion, dirt, sludge, metal sheer and combustion acids.

However, semi synthetic and fully synthetic oils surpass the protection and performance enhancement levels and maintain the superior standard for longer oil drain intervals. This is critical for the timing chain kit and VVTI solenoid operation. Gearbox maintenance should take into consideration whether you have the CVT (continous velocity transmission). This gearbox uses special CVT fluid, which works differently from the ordinary ATF. Accidental service with ATF will damage the CVT gearbox.


Other considerations are use of genuine parts for service filters, brakes and suspension whenever the need arises. Avoid raising the car with spacers in order to improve ground clearance. This alters its stability on the road and damages the suspension. You can, however, alter tyre size to slightly improve ground clearance.

Where can I get air suspension for a Nissan?

Hello Paul, my mother owns a 2007 Nissan Skyline 250GT Four and recently changed to bigger tyres. However, since this did not improve its ground clearance, spacers were installed which unfortunately damaged the car suspension kit and made the car unstable at high speeds and while turning corners. So, I did some research and found out that there are aftermarket suspension kits that can be installed with controls that allow a driver to manually control the car’s height. Is there any chance that such a system is available locally or can be ordered online?


Hello Timothy, it is true that raising the conventional suspension of a saloon car with spacer lugs can damage the suspension and make the car unstable. There are aftermarket air suspension kits. One of such kits found in the US is the D2 Racing air suspension struts and control unit suitable for your Nissan. You can buy this online from Amazon or


How much is a steering rack?

Hello Paul, my car has had a steering issue for some time now. How much will it cost to replace the steering or rack as my mechanic suggests?


Hello Judith, the cost of a steering rack replacement depends on the model/ make of your car and whether you are buying a new or used one. On average, a quality used steering rack may cost between Shs500,000 and Shs2m. A brand new steering rack costs between Shs3.5m and Shs4m. There are also remanufactured steering racks which will cost about Shs3m.

A steering rack is the gearing that helps to carry the load of the wheels to make the steering lighter in conjunction with the power steering fluid.

The steering rack works overtime, especially when you drive a car with big tyres or frequently drive on uneven terrain. The steering rack will fail due to frequent aggressive driving on bad terrain, use of heavier than recommended tyres, leaking steering fluid due to damaged seals or damage from accidents.

Signs of steering rack failure include hard steering as well as noise and leaking steering fluid. Replacement of the steering rack with a quality used, remanufactured or brand new one is the best way forward.

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