A fuel and frank ap­praisal

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Ask Smithy -

I BOUGHT a 2008 four-cylin­der Ford Mon­deo LX in Au­gust. The next day with­out warn­ing it lost power at 100km/h on a ma­jor ar­te­rial road. The fuel gauge showed I had some 60-plus kilo­me­tres in the tank, so I pulled into a servo and put $30 of 95-oc­tane fuel in and then drove to our des­ti­na­tion. I drove the car over the next few days with­out any in­ci­dent, un­til one morn­ing it just would not start. The car was towed to a Ford dealer where it was found to have a faulty fuel pump, which was re­placed. I have no is­sue with the deal­er­ship but I am con­cerned this may be a com­mon fault with this model. I have re­quested some com­pen­sa­tion from Ford for the re­pair cost as I feel this type of com­po­nent fail­ure is not to be ex­pected on a ve­hi­cle that has trav­elled only 108,000km. I would ap­pre­ci­ate your feed­back.

Roger Parker, email You’ve got lit­tle chance of get­ting any com­pen­sa­tion from Ford. The car is four years old and out of war­ranty. I would sug­gest in fu­ture you don’t let the fuel level drop so low, to min­imise the chances of pick­ing up any rub­bish from the bot­tom of the tank that might dam­age the fuel pump or block the fuel fil­ter. MAT­TER OF TIM­ING My dealer has told me there is an oil leak from the tim­ing cover on my Toy­ota Aurion, which has done only 98,000km. I have been told it re­quires 13 hours’ labour to take out the en­gine, and with parts cost­ing $122 the bill will be $1767. I would not class this as nor­mal wear and tear and surely it would not hap­pen to Au­ri­ons, let alone Toy­otas. Why would this leak oc­cur so soon? Is this price real­is­tic as 13 hours to re­move an en­gine and re­place a seal seems high, and how long can I hold off be­fore get­ting it re­paired? An RACQ me­chanic has told me this part should not have gone at such an early stage and, not­ing the ve­hi­cle ap­pears to have been well looked af­ter and ser­viced reg­u­larly by a Toy­ota dealer, I should be ask­ing them to cover most if not all the costs. What do you sug­gest?

WayneEl­lis, email It does seem un­rea­son­able to have to re­move the en­gine to fix an oil leak at the tim­ing cover. I would get an­other quote. Oil leaks oc­cur in Toy­otas, as much as other models, so I doubt you would win an ar­gu­ment that it wasn’t wear and tear. If the leak isn’t bad then you could carry on for some time be­fore hav­ing it fixed. IDLE THREAT When I start my Mazda3 Neo sedan it moves for­ward, even though I don’t have my foot on the ac­cel­er­a­tor. I feel it is idling

TOP IT UP: With only a few litres in the tank,

a Mon­deo risks a blocked fuel fil­ter.

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