ASK SMITHY

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

Don’t take it as gospel that the car­maker’s of­fi­cial fuel fig­ure is what you’ll get in real life. Smithy says the fig­ures are given mainly as a guide to use when com­par­ing one ve­hi­cle to an­other

PETROL DRA­MAS

I BE­LIEVE my 2009 Mazda BT50 dual-cab4WD uses ex­ces­sive fuel. It av­er­ages 12L/100km in com­bined use and 11L/100km in high­way use, with no load and stick­ing to speed lim­its. I com­plained to my dealer and at first they told me to wait till the ve­hi­cle had done at least 10,000km. It was still us­ing the same amount of fuel at 15,000km so I again com­plained and they checked the fuel sys­tem but could find no fault. I wrote to Mazda, but they gave me the brush-off by say­ing the dealer had checked the fuel sys­tem and found no fault. A neigh­bour has an al­most iden­ti­cal BT-50 and his ve­hi­cle uses less than 10L/100km. In des­per­a­tion I had him drive my ve­hi­cle for a pe­riod, and the best he could do was 11.9L/100km. I again ap­proached my dealer. He sug­gested I do an­other 8000km to see if it got any bet­ter. What could be the rea­son?

Morris, via email

As Mazda pointed out, the fuel con­sump­tion fig­ure­sare the re­sults of lab­o­ra­tory tests man­dated by the gov­ern­ment. Ev­ery car­maker has to pub­lish the re­sults on a sticker on the wind­screen of the car.

Don’t take it as fact that you will get the same fuel fig­ures when you drive it in real life. The fig­ures are a guide and help com­pare one ve­hi­cle to an­other.

Many things af­fect fuel use, so you need to check ev­ery­thing and en­sure you are do­ing ev­ery­thing in your driv­ing to min­imise your fuel use.

But it does seem that your ve­hi­cle is us­ing too much fuel, as you say. I would ask your dealer to set up a fuel con­sump­tion test that mea­sures the ac­tual amount of fuel you are us­ing so that both of you agree. You will then have a com­mon ba­sis on which to dis­cuss what ac­tion you and the dealer could take.

BRACKET BLUES

Have you had any com­plaints about the right-side seat bracket on the driver’s seat on the VE Com­modore SV6? Mine has cracked. Holden was good and re­placed it af­ter only 22,000km, but it is start­ing to crack again.

Robert, via email

We haven’t had any other re­ports of an is­sue with the seat bracket. One pos­si­ble way of get­ting around the prob­lem would be to slide the seat back be­fore get­ting out. That way you might avoid sitting on the bracket while get­ting in or out.

WHEELWORRY

I re­cently bought a new Toy­ota Au­rion, which was fit­ted with al­loy wheels, and was sur­prised to dis­cover that the spare was a steel one, rather than al­loy as I had ex­pected. Given that I bought the car for tour­ing, is the ve­hi­cle safe to be driven a longish dis­tance with this odd spare wheel fit­ted? And do I have any come­back on Toy­ota?

Michael Hoare

Mazda BT-50: Fuel use fig­ures just a guide

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