By Paul Kaganzi.

Hi Paul,
I drive a Toyota Prado, model 1996 and the steering system is giving me a headache. It started by the steering pump leaking then it became hard when I steer on one side. My mechanic has changed the steering pump twice but the problem persists. What should I do?

Hello Kenneth, the steering system is a combination of hydraulic and mechanical components which work together to ease the load of steering the heavy axle and wheels as you drive your car.

The key hydraulic component is the power steering pump while the key mechanical components is the steering gearing or steering box as well as the steering linkages or tie rods.

When the steering is hard, the ‘usual suspect’ is the steering pump which primarily delivers the hydraulic fluid which builds pressure or force to move the load of the axle and wheels.

It is very easy to dismiss the mechanical components in the quest to solve the hard steering problem.

In your case, there is a need to revisit the Prado steering system and examine the steering box.
The leaking steering pump and delay to renew steering fluid may have caused a seizure or damage of steering gearing or steering r assembly.

Hi Paul, I need to be advised on the performance of my forester; It is an ordinary model which I have owned for two years. Its performance was undoubted until it started losing energy lately. After ejecting, as I ascend a hill, it loses energy and almost gets to a complete stop. I lately replaced the timing belt, but it has since not been the same. Please help, I still love this car.

Hi Joanne, there is a need to confirm whether the engine timing was done correctly during the timing belt replacement procedure.

Incorrect timing can even be a slight retard but cause a huge difference in engine performance.

Once the timing is confirmed to be okay, then your mechanic can consider other potential performance robbing factors such as: an overdue fuel filter replacement, worn out spark plugs and dirty air filter or throttle potentiometer.

Hi Paul,
I have heard tales where you can have the vehicle fuel intake reduced manually by the mechanics. What is the impact of this on the vehicles performance in the long run? Secondly, how can I access a service/maintenance Manual for a 2003 Caldina that is in English?

Hi Birungi, there are all sorts of fuel reducing devices or interventions both electrical and mechanical sold around the world.
Whilst these interventions may seem to improve your fuel economy in the shortrun, the down side is the uncertainty about their long term impact on your vehicle engine performance.

To appreciate the potential negative effects of mechanical adjustments in the fuel system, you need to understand that the post 1990 vehicle engines have factory preset fuel supply pressure values and engine self-adaptation fuel systems.

These fuel delivery systems are run by engine control modules which operate within certain parameters and values to deliver an optimum and efficient engine performance. Adjusting any of the preset values by fitting mechanical or electrical gadgets will interrupt the system and cause malfunction.

Four decades ago, one could tinker around with the old carburetor engines by replacing fuel jets to reduce or increase fuel supply and get away with it because the mechanical fuel supply system was more tolerant.

The post 1990 engine electronic fuel systems will not tolerate interruptions or adjustments not built into their design and value range.

I suggest you improve your fuel economy by driving more sensibly and avoid aggressive acceleration. Keep time and choose your routes more carefully.
Keep your engine well serviced and tuned and fuel your car with additive fuel designed to keep the engine clean and free of economy and performance robbing gunk and corrosion.

About the manual, you can download a user manual and maintenance schedule for your Toyota vehicle from this dedicated Toyota website:

Hi Paul, I would like to know the fuel economy of Honda CRV 2.0I-VTEC Engine and how you can improve the same.
Ephantus Ndegwa.

Hi, I assume you are inquiring about the second generation Honda CRV 2.0 litre petrol iVTEC. Official statistics indicate that fuel economy on the highway is about 12.9 KM/ Litre. Driving in slow start-stop city traffic will drop it down to about 10KM/L.

The Honda CRV engine is designed with the iVTEC — intelligent variable valve timing technology which makes it economical to run. The iVTEC on CRV adapts to different driving demands through the automated manipulation of the timing and duration of engine intake and exhaust valve lift.

This allows improved lean air fuel mixture atomisation (burning) and guarantees efficient engine running.

This impressive technology will only work if you make the effort to maintain the engine with the manufacturer recommended high grade engine oils and use detergent additive gasoline (petrol) to keep the hard working but sensitive valve train sufficiently lubricated and free of gunk, corrosion and after fuel burn deposit.

You can improve the fuel economy statistic by avoiding aggressive driving and overloading your vehicle.

Plan your journey route to avoid crawling traffic and use shorter routes. Ensure that the engine is regularly maintained or tuned with good genuine spark plugs. Renew dirty air and fuel filters and ensure that your tyres are in a good working condition.

Hi Paul, I am based in Kabale and I need your advice. When driving my Toyota G Touring lately, I have noticed that it does not have power. This car has 250,000 kms. What could be the problem?


Hello Mark, the high mileage suggests that you need to examine serviceable components. Start with the engine fuel filter.

It’s located in the engine bay. Often it’s ignored by some technicians. Like all serviceable components it has a lifespan of about 100,000kms if it’s a petrol engine.

The clogged fuel filter will reduce fuel delivery pressure as well as cause backpressure which damages the fuel pump.

Ask your mechanic to clean the throttle valve and idle air control valve. I am assuming that your engine spark plugs and air filter service is up to date. A combination of fuel and spark quality are crucial for good combustion and engine power.

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