Man, that’s just so un­coolant

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Ask Smithy -

The ser­vice man­ual states that the en­gine coolant in my 2008 Toy­ota Corolla Seca Con­quest should be re­placed ini­tially at 96 months or 160,000km and there­after ev­ery 80,000km. Also, it does not spec­ify any re­quire­ment to change the au­to­matic trans­mis­sion fluid. I have no wish to spend more money on ser­vic­ing than nec­es­sary but the en­gine coolant change in­ter­val seems too long to me and the ab­sence of ad­vice to change the au­to­matic trans­mis­sion fluid is puz­zling. I in­tend keep­ing the car for a long time. Would it be pru­dent to over­ride the ser­vice sched­ule for th­ese items and change the flu­ids ahead of the times stated?

T. Bignell, email The ini­tial coolant change is at eight years, which would seem way too long. I would be look­ing to change the coolant ev­ery cou­ple of years, that’s 40,000-50,000km. As for the au­to­matic trans­mis­sion, car mak­ers now em­ploy a fill-for-life strat­egy, which means they fill the trans­mis­sion in pro­duc­tion and never touch it again. My view is that it’s a flawed ap­proach, par­tic­u­larly if you plan to keep your car for a long time— as you say you in­tend to do. I would have the fluid changed ev­ery 50,000km and have the trans­mis­sion ser­viced ev­ery 100,000km. STIR OF ECU I’ve got a 2005 RAV4 Cruiser au­to­matic. I’ve heard that there were some is­sues with the au­to­matic trans­mis­sion for some RAV4s due to the ECU (elec­tronic control unit). So far I have not had an is­sue with the car. What are the tell­tale signs of any im­mi­nent prob­lems with my auto?

Ric Lau, email There is a prob­lem with the ECU con­trol­ling the au­to­matic that can result in the clutches in the trans­mis­sion burn­ing out. It was so com­mon that Toy­ota re­called RAV4s in the US to fix them but Toy­ota Aus­tralia chose not to recall the cars here. Watch for rough shift­ing, re­luc­tance to shift, jerk­ing and rough run­ning. CONTROL HUB-BUB Re­cently the VVTi control hubs in the top of the en­gine in my 2007 Toy­ota Au­rion failed. The re­pair cost was about $3000. The deal­er­ship was help­ful and ne­go­ti­ated with Toy­ota to as­sist with the re­pair costs. My con­tri­bu­tion was about $900, as the car was out of war­ranty, even though it had only done 75,000km. I feel that the fail­ure of the parts was be­cause of a man­u­fac­tur­ing fault and wrote to Toy­ota seek­ing a re­fund of my costs, but Toy­ota has re­fused my re­quest. Do you know of this fail­ure with the 3.5-litre en­gine and is this out­come the best I can hope for? Robert Bri­ig­mann, email

We haven’t had any other re­ports of a fail­ure of the VVTi

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