Ser­vice with a frown

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Ask Smithy -

THE first ser­vice on my 2010 VWGolf 118TSi Com­fort­line cost $450 at theVWdealer but the same ser­vice at a non-VW agent is $165, a dif­fer­ence of $255 for ex­actly the same ser­vice. How do you ex­plain it?

L. Wilkin­son

It’s not pos­si­ble to ex­plain with­out see­ing the in­voices but I would guess theVW dealer is charg­ing more for the parts and is al­most cer­tainly charg­ing more for labour. I have seen deal­ers, not nec­es­sar­i­lyVW deal­ers, charg­ing $140 and more an hour for labour. It’s outrageous and should en­cour­age own­ers to take their busi­ness else­where.

THIRSTY FUEL MIX My 1993 EB Fal­con dual-fuel auto sta­tion wagon is us­ing too much fuel, about 20L/100 km, whether on petrol or LPG. I have had it since near new; it’s in very good con­di­tion and has been ser­viced ev­ery 5000km. I have not wor­ried about it un­til now but, with the price of petrol and gas start­ing to hit the roof, I thought I had bet­ter ask some­one. What do you think could be wrong?

RonJames, email

Be­cause it’s us­ing too much on ei­ther fuel the prob­lem is not re­lated to one fuel sys­tem or the other. I would have the oxy­gen sen­sor checked as it de­ter­mines the mix­ture go­ing into the en­gine and it would seem the en­gine is run­ning too rich.

FOR BIG WHEELS By us­ing a GPS I have dis­cov­ered that the speedo in my 2007 Toy­ota HiLux SR5 is out by as much as 7km/h, which ex­plains why I was al­ways be­ing over­taken by other cars. It’s fit­ted with 255/70R 15 tyres, so could

No com­fort: Golf 118TSi

16-inch­ers make a dif­fer­ence?

DeanCloth­ier, email

It’s un­likely you would be able get a 16-inch set-up that would give you the in­crease in di­am­e­ter you need to cor­rect the speedo.

GAS SUC­CESS Do you know of a suc­cess­ful gas con­ver­sion for a Hyundai iLoad van?

Irene Morris, email

Impco has an ap­proved kit for the iLoad and it is one of the in­dus­try heavy­weights, so I would sug­gest you seek out

one of its deal­ers.

BROWNEDOFF We have had on­go­ing prob­lems with the diesel par­tic­u­late fil­ter in our 2010 Nis­san X-Trail. The DPF light comes on, then the en­gine mal­func­tion light comes on, and if left for even a few days, our car loses en­gine power. It has oc­curred about four or five times and each time when pick­ing our car up again the dealer tells us it has been fixed, as they have cleared the fil­ter or re­placed the fil­ter. The dealer tells us this will al­ways oc­cur with short trips and be­ing stuck in traf­fic and that we are not do­ing suf­fi­cient higher speed mileage. But our car is driven to and from work ev­ery week­day and in each trip, we reach speeds of 100 km/h when trav­el­ling on free­ways. We also do short lo­cal trips and drives to the coast on week­ends. Our cur­rent dealer and other deal­ers say they have had other com­plaints of this na­ture, but Nis­san sim­ply will not lis­ten or try to solve the

prob­lem. When it oc­curred the last time, just af­ter the 60,000km ser­vice, our Nis­san dealer told us to buy a new car. Can you be­lieve this? Clin­tonTownsen­dand

Sha­ree Bryen, email

Your driv­ing rou­tine doesn’t meet the re­quire­ments for the diesel par­tic­u­late fil­ter to con­duct an au­to­matic burn to get rid of the car­bon that ac­cu­mu­lates as part of its nor­mal func­tion. These ‘‘ auto burns’’ hap­pen with­out you know­ing. There is no ef­fect on en­gine op­er­a­tion while it’s go­ing on but if it doesn’t hap­pen the warn­ing light comes on, even­tu­ally the en­gine warn­ing comes on and the car goes to a limp-home mode that vir­tu­ally forces you to go to the dealer, who can do a forced burn to re­store the fil­ter to nor­mal op­er­a­tion. If it’s not done it can dam­age the fil­ter, and also dam­age the cat­alytic con­vert­ers and that can lead to a very large re­pair bill of many thou­sands of dol­lars. There isn’t much the dealer can do, other than what they have done on your car, and sug­gest you buy a new car. This is a sign of their frus­tra­tion. The so­lu­tion needs to come from Nis­san Ja­pan.

PLEAD THE FIFTH My 2005 Toy­ota RAV4 Cruiser popped out of fifth gear and now will not stay in gear. One me­chanic said I’d need a new gear­box, so did Toy­ota, but yet an­other me­chanic said I needed a fifth gear up­grade kit. When he gave Toy­ota the VIN of my car they told him an up­grade kit is not avail­able for it as they had fixed the is­sue in the newer mod­els and it doesn’t hap­pen any longer. I cur­rently have no fifth gear and would like to get it fixed. What are my op­tions?

Re­becca Chilcott, email

It would seem that the prob­lem might not have been fixed as Toy­ota claims. Go back to your dealer and de­mand it be fixed.

Costly warn­ing: Nis­san’s very par­tic­u­lar diesel X–Trail

Don’t take no: Toy­ota’s RAV4

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