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Herald Sun - Motoring - - Readers Say -

KNOCK KNOCK

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.

DIRTY FLUID

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.

LOOSE SEAT

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.

THIRSTY CALAIS

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.

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