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Herald Sun - Motoring - - Readers Say -

BRAK­ING POINT

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.

IDLE RID­DLE

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.

MYS­TERY SHUD­DER

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.

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