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 front brake pads were at 80 per cent and that the rear pads were down to 10 per cent and would need re­plac­ing at the next ser­vice. This concerned me great

GLOBE PROB­LEMS QMY

FRIEND and I are hav­ing prob­lems with light globes on our Camry Hy­brid taxis. They have been on the road since March and have done 80,000km. In that time we have re­placed the low-beam globes six times. Ev­ery ex­te­rior light globe has been re­placed four to six times. The Prius taxis do not have this prob­lem. One has been on the road for three years and done 300,000km and has needed only three low-beam globes. Any­one us­ing a Camry Hy­brid as a per­sonal car might not have these prob­lems be­cause they wouldn’t do the night hours we do.

Kevin McArthur, email Toy­ota has told us that they will con­tact you to in­ves­ti­gate the is­sues on your Camry Hy­brids. CLUTCH STRAIN QAFTER

30,000km my car­pen­ter son has re­placed the clutch in his 2009 Nis­san D40. Nis­san didn’t want to know about it, so he had an in­de­pen­dent me­chanic fit a heavy-duty clutch and fly­wheel. I be­lieve the prob­lem is that first gear in mod­ern utes is too high for a tradie want­ing to pull a heav­ily loaded trailer. Will some­body pro­vide an al­ter­na­tive-ra­tio gear­box for 2WD tradie utes, and in­deed for the 4WD utes, so that peo­ple who work for a liv­ing can drive off the mark with­out tear­ing their clutches out?

Peter Young, email You could well be right. We have had quite a num­ber of re­ports of peo­ple hav­ing to re­place clutches in utes at ridicu­lously low kays, so low you have to think the clutches are not up to the task. Hav­ing a lower first-gear ra­tio would cer­tainly make it eas­ier on the clutch at get-away. RARE PARTS QTHE

driver’s door latch on my XG Fal­con ute failed and my Ford dealer told me he wouldn’t or­der one from Ford be­cause the

Short-lived: a reader says globes don’t last long on Camry Hy­brid taxis. com­pany wasn’t sup­port­ing that model any more. I have man­aged to get it re­paired, so I’m out of trou­ble, but while I un­der­stand it makes good fi­nan­cial sense not to carry a load of parts for older ve­hi­cles at the dealer level, surely the man­u­fac­turer should be do­ing some­thing to sup­port the brand. I know Holden sup­ports Rare Spares to pro­vide parts for older mod­els and I won­der if Ford does any­thing sim­i­lar.

Michael B, email To my knowl­edge they don’t, but it would be worth your while next time to con­tact Rare Spares be­cause they carry a lot of parts for makes other than Holden. The XG is now 14 years or so old and the doors date back even fur­ther to the XE/XF model, so it’s prob­a­bly a big ask for Ford to be car­ry­ing parts for it, par­tic­u­larly to­day when, like all car­mak­ers, they are strug­gling to make a quid. GEAR DROP-OUT QRE­CENTLY

I found the gear­box in my 2007 Nis­san X-Trail STS was drop­ping out of fifth gear and back to neu­tral above 80km/h. It has done only 45,000km, but is out­side the three-year war­ranty pe­riod. I have an ex­tended three-year man­u­fac­turer’s war­ranty with NWC, but they don’t want to pay the $4720 I have been quoted for the re­pairs. In­stead they have ar­ranged for a sec­ond­hand gear­box to be in­stalled. Have you heard of any other X-Trails with this prob­lem?

John Gra­ham, email It’s the first re­port we’ve had of this prob­lem and I wouldn’t ex­pect a gear­box to fail at such low kays. UN­EVEN WEAR QWHEN

my 2008 Honda Ac­cord was re­turned to me af­ter its 30,000km ser­vice I was told the

It’s not un­usual to­day to see rear brakes wear­ing faster than the fronts. There’s noth­ing wrong with the brakes as such. Our brake spe­cial­ist, Howard Reynolds of Race Brakes, says it is quite com­mon on some Ja­panese and Euro­pean cars, and ap­pears to be a re­sult of man­u­fac­tur­ers try­ing to ex­tract as much brak­ing power from the rear brakes as they can. It seems to be worse in low-speed city driv­ing and ap­pears at about the kays your car has done.

CAPTIVA CAM­BER

QYOU

may re­call my ques­tion to you about my Holden Captiva pulling left and badly wear­ing out tyres. At 13,000km I had to fit two new tyres and have the wheel align­ment done. Even af­ter that it wasn’t any dif­fer­ent. Well, fol­low­ing your request to Holden to in­ves­ti­gate my com­plaint I have now re­ceived a phone call from them ba­si­cally telling me that it is the way I drive. They are say­ing the wheel align­ment has never been done prop­erly and have sent me a wheel align­ment sheet with the spec­i­fi­ca­tion it must be set to. I have asked them to pay for the tyres and the wheel align­ment with the con­di­tion that if the car drives fine af­ter that I will pay, but they have re­fused. What should I do? I feel you are right, and there are lots of other Captiva own­ers out there who feel the same way. The tyre wear is a cam­ber prob­lem and there isn’t enough ad­just­ment on the front end to cor­rect it. You can go to a com­pany such as Ped­ders and they can fit cam­ber pins to the front end and do an align­ment, which will fix the prob­lem. The cost will be in the or­der of $250. The pulling prob­lem is a dif­fer­ent one and re­lated to caster. Right now there is no fix avail­able for it, but sev­eral sus­pen­sion spe­cial­ist com­pa­nies are de­vel­op­ing ec­cen­tric bushes that can be fit­ted to al­low the caster to be ad­justed to rid it of its ten­dency to pull left. You could also fol­low Holden’s ad­vice and have the wheels aligned to the spec­i­fi­ca­tion you have been given, and see how it goes.

WHEEL WOES

QAFTER

read­ing about a Holden Captiva pulling left and hav­ing to have its tyres re­placed, I re­alised that it wasn’t You are not alone. Your ex­pe­ri­ence is quite com­mon, but it’s a prob­lem that Holden doesn’t seem keen to own up to. Con­tact Holden di­rectly and reg­is­ter your con­cerns. You could also con­sult a sus­pen­sion spe­cial­ist who should be able to fix the prob­lem for you.

LET THEM KNOW

QI

Ni­cole Wal­ter, email

DRIVE a 2008 Captiva LX that has done 58,000km and it has pulled to the left from day one. I have of­ten raised the is­sue with my Holden dealer, but have never re­ceived a sat­is­fac­tory ex­pla­na­tion. Tyre re­tail­ers I spoke with were more than forth­com­ing, let­ting me know that the Captiva was well known to have poor tyre wear, which was a re­sult of the align­ment. I would urge all Captiva own­ers to lodge com­plaints di­rectly with Holden so that they un­der­stand the mag­ni­tude of the prob­lem. I would also urge own­ers who have the same prob­lem with their Cap­ti­vas to con­tact Holden and reg­is­ter their con­cerns. There is lit­tle doubt that the Captiva has a prob­lem.

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