GOT A PROBLEM WITH YOUR CAR?
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.’’
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
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.
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.