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Q THE rear brake pads and discs had to be machined after 27,000km on my 2009 Honda Accord. My dealer told me Accords were hard on rear brakes and 27,000km was not unusual. Honda told me the braking system on modern vehicles had undergone a lot of development, improving stability and safety. ‘‘The downside is that rear brake pad wear can be greater than we have been accustomed to and it is not unusual to require the replacement of the rear pads before the front.’’
The pads and machining cost $325, and if machining has to be done every 27,000km the rotors will need replacing. I have spoken to another Honda owner and he had a similar gripe. Have you had any reports of premature brake pad wear on late-model Accords? What can you suggest I do now. Honda Australia seems indifferent to the problem?
John Thurlow, email Yes, we have had other reports on Hondas, but it’s not restricted to Honda. The brake wear rate on today’s cars is much higher than on older cars, but the braking performance has also improved markedly and that’s the trade-off. About the only thing you can do is to consult a brake specialist, such as Howard Reynolds of Race Brakes Australia, ph: 9687 7222, and see if they can supply aftermarket discs and pads that will last longer.
LIGHT OF MY LIFE
Q AFTER the new car warranty on my Holden Astra expired last year I took out a three-year extended warranty, which was sold to me as ‘‘the same warranty as the first three years’’. After having $1000 worth of repairs my car’s tail-lights stayed on for hours while I was at work. I called RACV, who said the battery had gone flat. A new battery was $211.
Next morning, the same thing. I went to a Holden dealer only to be told they thought the sun was shin- ing on the lights. A mechanic was summoned and he said the same, the lights were off.
Even so, they could not look at it for at least a week, when I would have a flat battery again! But I was sent to another service place and they kept it for a couple of days. Surprise, surprise! There was a problem and the lights were indeed on. Then I found out it wasn’t covered by the extended warranty, which covers only mechanical problems. This time it cost $1035, and then I had to have the car serviced again the next week, which cost $210, plus it needed brake fluid for another $8.
Why do mechanics treat women as stupid? Why do Holdens breakdown soon after the warranty ex- pires? Why does the extended warranty cover only mechanical issues?
Mrs Savage, e-mail Phew, where to start. It’s always a good idea to read the warranty before you buy a car so you understand what it covers and what it doesn’t. The new car warranty is provided by Holden; the extended warranty is not. That is provided by an insurance company and sold to you by the dealer.
Personally I wouldn’t buy an extended warranty. I don’t believe they are good value for money. Like every profession there are good mechanics and dud ones. It’s a good idea to find a mechanic you can trust and stick with them. With regard to Holdens breaking down soon after the warranty runs out, I don’t believe there is any evidence that they do, certainly none
that says they break down more often than other makes.
As for extras charged during a service: you are perfectly entitled to get a quote before the car goes in, and Holden would be able to tell you how much each service will cost you. If there is anything else they find during the inspection they must get your approval before going ahead with the work.
It is not uncommon to find faults during a service inspection. That is why they inspect cars when they come in for service, I don’t think that’s unreasonable. Cars do break down. It’s a fact of life, and it’s not restricted to Holdens.
Q SIX months ago my 2001 Toyota Camry developed a problem I’d like you to help me solve. At traffic lights it would idle roughly and the tachometer would go up and down. If I switched the ignition off for three to five minutes it would return to normal.
This has happened at least seven times. A mechanic told me it’s hard to tell what the problem is. It could be many things unless it does it when he is there or at the workshop.
At the last service the timing belt and in-tank fuel filter were replaced. Can you tell me what the problem is?
Sam Koutsofta, Darley, Victoria
Your mechanic is correct. It’s very hard to fix if a problem doesn’t manifest itself when he’s there to observe it. But I would suggest you start by checking the ignition system, the coils and crank angle sensor.
Q LESS than half an hour after we picked up our new FG Falcon G6 we felt it wasn’t changing gears well; there was a shudder between gears. After checking it at 700km the dealer acknowledged there was a shudder and took it in to check it.
When we got it back we were told they couldn’t find the problem and that they drove two others and they did the same, so that’s the way it is. We have since found other owners who have had the same problem.
We have also heard through someone working at Ford that Ford knows of the problem and is working on it. So we took it a bit further and went for a test drive in an XR6 at another dealer and, guess what, at 1500 revs the shudder comes in!
When we took it back and told the salesman he told us it was a faulty car but we would get a good one.
He also invited us to drive his new XR6, which he said was a good one, but he was alarmed to find that his also had the problem.
We don’t know where to go next. I don’t think they should be selling it if it has a problem before you even pick it up.
Garry Haynes, email We’ve passed on your comments to Ford for their response. In the meantime we’d like other FG owners to tell us if their cars have this vibration.
MINE VIBRATES TOO
Q NOT long after I bought my 2010 FG G6 Limited Edition I began to notice a slight vibration through the car when it changed softly from fourth to fifth gear.
When the change is quick there is nothing noticeable. It is most prominent on hills in cruise control, when the car drops back a gear, gets up to the required speed, then drops out of fourth, vibrates for about a second, and changes into fifth.
When I took my car to the dealer I was told it was the way I was driving my car, and the adaptive gearbox hadn’t ‘‘adapted properly’’, and that a computer reset had fixed my problem. It hadn’t. I let this dealership know nothing had changed and they said they would call Ford.
When I was called back, the dealership told me Ford said, ‘‘It is probably a trait of the gearbox, and until it happens in another gear change, nothing needs to be done’’.
I decided to try my luck at a different dealership. Their response was that it was a slight vibration, but nothing abnormal.
I am wondering what my plan of attack should be. I feel they think that, now they have my money for my brand new car, their job is complete and they couldn’t really care less.
Craig Osborne, email We haven’t had much feedback , but by chance we’ve now had two in the past week, yours and the one from Garry Haynes. That suggests there could be a problem and we will follow it up with Ford.
Wearing out: a reader has problems with the Honda Accord’s brakes.