ASK SMITHY

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Special Report - with Gra­ham Smith

PA­TROL AIM­ING HIRE

QAREADER wrote ( Septem­ber 12) re­gard­ing his ex­pe­ri­ence with a Nis­san Pa­trol in the Kim­ber­ley. I had a sim­i­lar prob­lem. We hired two 2008 model Pa­trols, one with 2000km on it, the other with 7000km. On day one, af­ter about 100km on dirt roads, all four bumper-bar tail lights on one Pa­trol had fallen out. Each clus­ter had been held by only two self­tap­ping screws. We fixed this our­selves and made it part of our daily rou­tine to check th­ese lights. The rear shock ab­sorbers in the sec­ond ve­hi­cle failed com­pletely, caus­ing it to bounce un­con­trol­lably. We had them re­placed and the hirer re­im­bursed us. At the time we were told there was to be ‘‘a high-level meet­ing’’ be­tween the hire com­pany and Nis­san. It would be fas­ci­nat­ing to know if this took place and, if so, what was the out­come. John Vardill

email SOUNDS as though Nis­san needs to do some work. The Pa­trol has a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing tough and able to stand up to the rigours of the bush. Maybe it’s gone soft.

AITSHAKY SHADES

QIN­THE past few weeks my 2000 Mazda 121 Metro Shades has started to run rough when at idle and when slow­ing in traf­fic. My me­chanic says it is a prob­lem with the en­gine­m­an­age­ment sys­tem. In the past few days I have no­ticed the ex­haust pipe is be­com­ing very sooty and par­ti­cles of soot are ap­pear­ing on the boot door, prob­a­bly from the ex­haust. I have been told the man­age­ment sys­tem con­trols the mix­ture ra­tio, but could this cause the rough run­ning? H.G. email SOUNDS as if the en­gine is run­ning too rich, which could be caused by a faulty oxy­gen sen­sor in

AITthe ex­haust. It’s there to mon­i­tor the air-fuel mix­ture and send sig­nals back to the en­gine-man­age­ment com­puter. If it’s faulty it could be send­ing the wrong mes­sage.

FAREWELL, FAIR­MONT

QWHATmight I rea­son­ably ex­pect for my 2003 Fair­mont sedan? It has done 24,300km and is in very good con­di­tion with leather trim and tinted win­dows. It has been rust­proofed and the paint has a pro­tec­tive coat. Joyce Welsh

email is the sort of car pri­vate buy­ers seek and are of­ten pre­pared to pay a lit­tle ex­tra for, but don’t ex­pect to get any more from a dealer than you would for a high­er­mileage car in lesser con­di­tion. If you ad­ver­tise it pri­vately, try for $17,500 — a dealer would prob­a­bly of­fer you $12,000 as a trade-in.

AYOURSSANTA CLAWS

QIHAVE just bought a 2001 Hyundai Santa Fe V6 auto with 120,000km on the clock. It is in good con­di­tion, has had reg­u­lar ser­vic­ing and has done 120,000km. I plan to tour in it. Is there any­thing that could cause me trou­ble?

Don Scott, Cam­per­down SEEMS you’ve bought a well­main­tained car in good con­di­tion — a great start. It’s im­pos­si­ble to say noth­ing will go wrong with it, but the Santa Fe is a gen­er­ally re­li­able and ro­bust car so the chances are min­i­mal. I strongly rec­om­mend you have it ser­viced.

AITAERIAL WAR­FARE

QWHYdo ra­dio aeri­als fit­ted in car win­dow glass be­gin to fail af­ter five or six years? I own a 2002 Volvo S60 and have pre­vi­ously owned two Subaru Foresters. All have in-glass aeri­als and all the ra­dio AM bands have de­vel­oped se­vere in­ter­fer­ence af­ter about that time. The FM band ap­pears un­af­fected. Tom Arm­strong

email

AWINDOWaeri­als aren’t as ef­fec­tive as the old type and it seems the re­cep­tion is al­ways worse on the AM band. I’m not aware of any so­lu­tion to the prob­lem.

Prob­lems: the Nis­san Pa­trol strug­gled in the Kim­ber­ley.

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