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Q MOST times when I drive off in my 2004 BA Falcon XR8 manual I can hear a loud knock. What do you think it could be?
G&R Long, email Check the diff mounting bushes. They are a known problem and produce a clunk when the throttle is applied.
Q AFTER the last service on my 2006 Mazda6, which has done 24,000km, the dealer told me the auto transmission fluid was dirty and may need replacing at the next service due in February next year. They also advised the cost would be about $300. I was surprised to hear that the oil may need replacing at such an early stage and also surprised at the cost, which seems high. What is your view?
Don Midson, email Mazda’s maintenance schedule suggests that the fluid and fluid level be inspected every 20,000km, so the dealer has done the right thing and checked yours at the appropriate service. He’s also done the right thing in warning you it could need changing at the next service, and given you a possible cost. Some automatic transmission specialists, those of the old school anyway, are adamant that the transmission fluid should be changed every 20,000km to keep the transmission alive and well. It would seem the dealer has given you good advice on the possibility you might need to change the fluid, though the cost does seem a little high. Ask the dealer for a breakdown of the costs so you can see what the fluid costs and how much time you’re being charged for. That should tell if you are being overcharged.
CHANGE THE OIL
QMY 1997 EL Ford Fairmont has a sealed auto gearbox and the owner’s manual says you do not need to change the oil. But aftermarket service guides say you have to change the gearbox oil every 40,000km. What is correct?
Don Dissanayake, email Carmakers claim you don’t need to change the fluid or service the auto trans for ‘‘ life’’, but what ‘‘ life’’ means is anyone’s guess. Auto trans service specialists strongly suggest the fluid be changed as often as every 20,000km. It’s more critical if you are towing, but 40,000km on a car that is being driven normally would be a good guide.
QTHE driver’s seat in my 2003 BA Falcon has collapsed because four of the spring clips holding the wire base have broken. I phoned Ford and asked if they could supply new spring clips, which would cost about 20 cents each. I’ve been in the trade for more than 50 years and feel the springs were not tempered cor- rectly. I asked Ford for the name of the supplier but got the runaround. Can you get the supplier’s name for me. The car could be unroadworthy with a faulty seat.
Colin Cooper, Hastings The seat supplier i s Futuris Automotive Interiors and they can be contacted on (03) 9644 4222.
QTHE fuel consumption on my 1999 VX Calais V8 continues to creep up and now reads 17.1 L/100 km, even though it has been well maintained. Any ideas why?
Will Harris, Mt Gravatt, Qld You don’t say by how much it has crept up and whether it’s been a gradual increase or a sudden jump, but Holden’s claim for town running was 15.0 L/100 km for a 1999 VT V8 and 13.5 L/100 km for a later VX V8. If it’s running well and still packs a powerful punch you should look at items
High cost: a Mazda6 owner is worried about his auto transmission fluid.