Q: I need your advice on tires. I was told by my local mechanic that I desperately needed two rear tires. I’ve been shopping around and was told by one dealer that I should match my front ones, which are Pirellis. Someone else said it was OK not to match the front tires. So, I’m getting quotes as my car is getting older, and I figure I may only have a year or two left with her. Can you advise me if I have to match the front tires?
A: You should match the rears to the front or you will have a handling problem. If the fronts are almost gone, you may be better off buying four lower-priced tires, which may be less expensive than just getting two Pirellis.
Q: I have a 2001 Taurus that continually loses heat. The heater core seems to be working fine, and I use a compressor and blow it out. It works for a couple of weeks, then goes cold again. Any suggestions?
A: If blowing out the heater core temporarily repairs the problem, it indicates the coolant system is very dirty. I would try to have a professional cooling system flush performed on the car. To test for a blocked heater core: After the car is warm, check the two heater hoses. If one is cold and one is hot, it means the core is blocked. If both are hot, but the air is cold, it is more likely a blend door issue.
Q: My friend has a 1996 Mustang with a 3.8-liter, six-cylinder engine. He wants to put a 5.4-liter engine from a Ford Expedition in it. I say it won’t fit; he says it will. Can you settle this dispute between us?
A: If the ’96 had a 5.4-liter engine as an option from the factory, then it will fit. If not, modifications will have to be made. You will also need to change the computer.
Car Care Tip: Take a walk around your car to make sure all lights are working properly. With the car turned off but the key turned to position one, check the turn signals, brake lights and backup lights, as well as four-way flashers, license plate lights and rear running lights. I do the same at the front of the vehicle.
Larry Rubenstein is a master technician who owns a North Shore service station. His column appears every Saturday. Write to Larry at The Salem News, c/o Auto Scanner, 32 Dunham Road, Beverly, MA 01915, or send an email to email@example.com.