ASK SMITHY

GOT A PROB­LEM WITH YOUR CAR?

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Readers Say - Email Gra­ham at ask­smithy@cars­guide.com.au Search our en­tire Ask Smithy ar­chive at cars­guide.com.au

SEE­ING THE LIGHT

Q THE low-beam head­lamp bulbs on my 2007 Subaru Out­back are con­tin­u­ally blow­ing. Last week the sixth bulb went on the right side and the sev­enth on the left. I’ve re­moved them and checked the fil­a­ment and it’s def­i­nitely bro­ken. All other con­nec­tions are good, clean and tight. Is there an in­her­ent prob­lem and, if so, is there a so­lu­tion?

J. McCormack, email We haven’t had any other re­ports of this is­sue at cars­Guide so we asked Subaru for help. They ad­vised that they ‘‘have found that up­grade head­light globes (brighter/ cleaner light) tend to have shorter lives’’. It seems there is a trade-off be­tween higher per­for­mance and longevity. This is true of gen­uine and non-gen­uine parts, though non-gen­uine parts are worse for longevity. The rec­om­men­da­tion is to buy stan­dard gen­uine globes from the dealer.’’ Subaru added: ‘‘Start­ing the car with the head­lights off will as­sist with longevity of the bulbs.’’ In gen­eral, Subaru said: ‘‘If there was a prob­lem with the car’s elec­tri­cal sys­tem, such as an al­ter­na­tor is­sue, the prob­lems would be more gen­eral.’’

COOL TOW­ING

QI

NO­TICE that deal­ers do not add a sep­a­rate trans­mis­sion cooler when peo­ple buy a tow pack. They think that hav­ing an in­te­grated trans­mis­sion cooler in the ra­di­a­tor is suf­fi­cient for tow­ing, but I know this is not good enough. I have a rear-wheel drive Ford Ter­ri­tory that has a four-speed auto and a dealer fit­ted a gen­uine tow­bar, and I had the is­sue with the trans­mis­sion light com­ing on while tow­ing that Toy­ota HiLux own­ers are com­plain­ing about. In my case the trans­mis­sion would go into limp-home mode stuck in third gear. The camp­ing trailer that I was tow­ing was nowhere near the max­i­mum limit. The dealer didn’t want to fit the cooler, say­ing it wasn’t needed, but I bought one through Ford parts and fit­ted it my­self and got them to flush the trans­mis­sion fluid, as it was al­ready burnt. When the trans­mis­sion fluid heats up, it burns and loses its ef­fi­ciency to cool the trans­mis­sion. That’s why a good-sized cooler needs to be added for tow­ing. High au­to­matic trans­mis­sion tem­per­a­tures are the No.1 cause of trans­mis­sion fail­ures. If any­one has had that light come up, fit a trans­mis­sion cooler and get your auto flushed and ser­viced.

Alek Nestorovski, email High trans­mis­sion fluid tem­per­a­tures are the fun­da­men­tal cause of the prob­lem and once the trans­mis­sion fluid is burnt it needs to be re­placed. Fit­ting an ex­ter­nal cooler will keep the tem­per­a­tures un­der con­trol.

WHAT’S IN A QUOTE

QRE­CENTLY

an in­ner­sub­ur­ban Honda deal­er­ship quoted for re­pairs on my daugh- ter’s 1990 Honda In­te­gra, which con­sisted of a head gas­ket re­place­ment and a new top ra­di­a­tor tank. All up the quote was $3600 — more than the car is worth. My lo­cal au­to­mo­tive en­gi­neer did iden­ti­cal work to a high stan­dard for $1460. What would the ex­tra $2140 have cov­ered?

Alan Smith, Trafal­gar It’s not pos­si­ble to say with­out ac­tu­ally see­ing a de­tailed quote of what the dealer pro­posed to do. It’s hard to jus­tify a dif­fer­ence of that amount, but I would guess they would charge a sub­stan­tially higher labour rate and a higher price for the parts. It jus­ti­fies the use of in­de­pen­dent spe­cial­ists who are of­ten fac­tory-trained any­way.

TURBO TROU­BLE

QI

HAVE been told the turbo on my 2000 Saab 9-5 might give trou­ble around the 100,000km mark and if it does it will re­quire an ex­pens-

A blow: a reader is hav­ing trou­ble with an Out­back’s low-beam light­bulbs.

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