Ask the Mechanic


Hello Paul, I am a new motorist and I have just bought a used Toyota Vitz. The most recent owner says it is so robust that sometimes he used to delay engine oil service for financial reasons and the car would keep going. Is that possible?


Hello Annet, as a new motorist, know that your vehicle engine oil delivery or lubrication system is so similar to the human blood circulatory system. Infact, well blended reputable motor oil is the life blood of your engine and carries out similar protective and performance enhancing functions such as transportation of detergent molecules, lubricating to prevent metal sheer and premature damage, delivery of anti-corrosive molecules and cooling of the engine which improves efficient performance.

There is a close comparison with your body’s blood circulatory system which transports nutrients, oxygen and other elements required to detox, maintain and improve the performance of your body. Like the quality of food we ought to eat to determine our blood quality and efficacy, it is important to choose a reputable and suitable engine oil type to ensure that the important engine protective and performance enhancement functions will be carried out.

The car engine lubrication (oil) system needs periodical maintenance or removal of aged oil, like your body needs to eliminate waste. If you delay to carry out oil service, the engine will suffer damage from sludge and corrosion build up, metal sheer or premature wear of fast moving metallic components as well as overheating to some extent.

This is similar to how your body reacts when the circulatory, renal or excretory systems collapse due to failure to eat a good diet on time.


Dear Paul, my Toyota Premio 2006 has a persistent problem that my mechanic has failed to fix. When I put it in the reverse gear followed by the drive gear, the dashboard displays both R & D and the reverse beeping sound stays for some time even when the car is moving forward. This is common in the morning. What could be the problem?


Hello Josephine, your Toyota Premio automatic gearbox park/neutral position switch is not working well. This switch detects the gear shift lever position and communicates this information to the engine computer. Corresponding signals are relayed to the instrument cluster where you will monitor your shift lever position and to the reverse light when you engage reverse.

When the signal is not sent from the park/neutral position switch to the engine computer, it will detect when the shift lever is in position ‘D’ (Drive). It may be necessary to replace the switch. Before replacing this part, check the wire harness to this P/N switch in case the circuit is broken. You will need a good car electrician to get this sorted out.


Hello Paul, a mechanic says my Toyota Raum gearbox is not changing gears because it is faulty and has to be changed. Servicing it has not helped. Is this the right diagnosis?     


Hello Muhamudu, without all the facts at hand, such as a full diagnostic or defect report, I can only suggest. Generally, when an automatic gearbox fails to shift gears, causes could range from failure to service the gearbox oil and filter on time, a sudden loss of gearbox fluid due to a severe leak, mechanical damage of internal components (usually due to gearbox oil quality or quantity) or electrical failure.

Whichever the cause, I presume your mechanic has inspected the gearbox to rule out the above before drawing the conclusion to replace it. Automatic gearbox repair would be another option but it is usually defeated by lack of genuine spare parts to do the job or in the event of severe mechanical damage rendering it not cost worthy to repair. Ask your mechanic to share a detailed defect report and discuss with you clearly why he decided to replace the gearbox.


Hello Paul, where can I get original headlamps for my Toyota Corolla Fielder 2009 model from? Emmanuel Oluka

Hello Emmanuel, you can order for brand new genuine Toyota headlights for your Corolla Fielder 2009 from Toyota Uganda/CFAO motors. In case they do not have them in stock, then they can be ordered by Toyota from abroad.

An even cheaper/less cumbersome option is to find quality used headlights from approved and legitimate importers in downtown Kampala. These are original ex-Japan and should work as well as the new ones.

Send sms: mycar (space) your comments and questions to 6933 or email them to: [email protected]


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