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FEW weeks ago an en­gine mount broke in my 2005 Mazda 3 SP23. I could hear a bang­ing sound so went to my me­chanic, who told me to take the car straight home be­cause the en­gine could fall out. When I asked Mazda if they could tow my car to my lo­cal dealer they said no be­cause it was out of war­ranty. When I did get it to the dealer I was told it was my fault the mount had bro­ken and I was asked if I had hit a gut­ter. I haven’t and there are no marks or in­di­ca­tions that there has been any body dam­age. Do you think it fair that I had to pay? Maret Wrigley

email AI

AS­SUME you bought the car new, not used; if you did buy it used the dam­age could have been caused be­fore you bought it. If you have owned it from new and haven’t hit any­thing as you claim, I do think it’s un­fair you had to pay. Mazda has given you the stan­dard deal for a car that’s out of war­ranty, so they’ve come to the party by cov­er­ing half the cost of re­pairs, but I agree that in this case it isn’t enough. No one should have to pay even part of the re­pair cost for some­thing that shouldn’t hap­pen in the first place.


QI BOUGHT a Toy­ota Prado in 1998 and had LPG fit­ted. Re­cently I checked the econ­omy and found I was get­ting 20 litres/100km around town. My sys­tem is 10 years old. Should I buy a new one? John Law­son

email AOLDER

sys­tems gen­er­ally use up to 30 per cent more LPG than petrol, whereas a new in­jec­tion sys­tem uses a lit­tle less LPG, more like 20 per cent, so there would prob­a­bly be a sav­ing. A new in­jec­tion sys­tem typ­i­cally costs $4000-$4500. Is a switch jus­ti­fied?



SON-IN-LAW has a 1998 Mit­subishi Tri­ton V6 man­ual dual-cab ute, on which he has spent squil­lions, from a new diff, clutches, new motors et cetera. He uses it to tow a work trailer, but is wor­ried that it won’t last in the long term. He has $50,000 to spend on a dual-cab ute that can tow 2.6 tonnes, but has been ad­vised that Aussie dual-cabs are not strong enough for con­stant tow­ing of th­ese weights. He is not sure whether he should buy a tur­bod­iesel or a petrol en­gine, or man­ual or auto trans­mis­sion. I sug­gested maybe he could turbo his cur­rent ute, but he was told that the pis­tons et cetera would have to be changed. AI WOULDN’T rec­om­mend tur­bocharg­ing a 10-year-old en­gine without re­build­ing it first. It would need to have new pis­tons any­way, and I would err on the side of cau­tion and go through it from top to bot­tom to make sure it will be up the job. The best way for him, in my opin­ion, would be to buy a diesel. They’re all tur­bocharged th­ese days and have the torque to tow the 2.6 tonnes he needs to tow. Most will tow up to three tonnes, but if he were tow­ing that weight ev­ery day I would con­sider an af­ter­mar­ket heavy-duty Janet Hazeldene

Kil­syth clutch. We have heard re­ports of clutch prob­lems with the Toy­ota HiLux when tow­ing. The com­monly held view is that they’re geared for high­way use, which puts the clutch un­der pres­sured when it has to tow a sub­stan­tial load.



1997 four-cylin­der Toy­ota Camry is due for a cam tim­ing belt change and my me­chanic tells me it is leak­ing oil from the front seal. If we have the tim­ing belt changed, would the oil leak be au­to­mat­i­cally re­solved or are two jobs needed to fix it? Is it true that the oil could leak into the cylin­ders? Rit­wan Su­narjo

email AIT

DE­PENDS on the lo­ca­tion of the leak. If it is from the front cover it will be fixed when the belt is ser­viced, but if it’s from the front crank­shaft seal it won’t be and that will have to be an ad­di­tional job. It’s best to do them at the same time if you have to be­cause that should save you some money com­pared with do­ing them in­de­pen­dently. There’s not much chance of the oil leak­ing into the cylin­ders.

Bang on: what’s caus­ing that Mazda 3 SP23 bang­ing?

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