Frac­tion too much trac­tion

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Ask Smithy - An­drew Bain, email

I have a prob­lem with the an­tilock brakes/trac­tion con­trol in my 2010 Ford Fo­cus ac­ti­vat­ing at low speed. My dealer’s ser­vice fore­man said they have had a sim­i­lar report on some other cars but that it was very hard to get the cars to do it. It only hap­pens on one cor­ner, and when I took the fore­man for a drive over the road where I ex­pe­ri­ence this he was sur­prised as to how easy it was for the set-up to ac­ti­vate at be­tween 40-80km/h. The dealer then had the car for five days try­ing sev­eral things, such as re­set­ting sen­sors, dif­fer­ent tyres and driv­ing an­other sim­i­lar car over the same road with the same re­sult. It was agreed there were is­sues with the car but Ford Aus­tralia ad­vised af­ter all the test­ing that ‘‘it’s a char­ac­ter­is­tic of the Fo­cus’’. My ve­hi­cle was ‘‘op­er­at­ing to man­u­fac­turer’s spec­i­fi­ca­tions’’ and was ‘‘sim­i­lar to other ve­hi­cles in the model line’’. I travel 20km to Lis­more and can have the ABS/TC ac­ti­vate 10-15 times be­tween 40-80km/h. I don’t see this as a char­ac­ter­is­tic of my car. What do I do next?

We haven’t had any other re­ports of this hap­pen­ing on the Fo­cus, and from your re­ports it seems it only hap­pens on the one stretch of road. Go back to your dealer and ask for a Ford rep­re­sen­ta­tive to as­sess the car on the strip of road where you ex­pe­ri­ence the prob­lem. PLUG THE GAP My car is due for its two-year ser­vice, and the deal­er­ship has quoted $1000 for this ma­jor ser­vice due to the need to re­place the spark plugs and all fil­ters, ie pollen, oil and air. I have done only 7000km. Is it likely that th­ese fil­ters would need re­plac­ing at such a low mileage, and as my car is still un­der war­ranty would that be voided if I were to have it ser­viced else­where?

Cathy, email The war­ranty won’t be voided by hav­ing the car ser­viced else­where, so long as it’s done by qual­i­fied trades­peo­ple and ac­cord­ing to the man­u­fac­turer’s hand­book. Ser­vic­ing is im­por­tant. Oils and fil­ters need to be changed and it’s a good time to check the car look­ing for other is­sues that might need ad­dress­ing, although it’s very doubt­ful that you would need to change spark plugs at such low kays. BAD VIBES Over the past year my 2005 dual-fuel Toy­ota HiAce has had in­ter­mit­tent prob­lems. The en­gine runs very rough and vi­brates as if one of the in­jec­tors is not work­ing. The en­gine check light comes on and the car runs roughly for up to 20km. The prob­lem rec­ti­fies it­self be­fore I drive to my ser­vice bloke. I have re­placed the in­jec­tors and the coils to no avail. Can any­one help?

Richard Fisher, email It’s most likely to be an en­gine sen­sor, or a wiring con­nec­tion as­so­ci­ated with one, that’s the prob­lem. Un­for­tu­nately, in­ter­mit­tent prob­lems are hard to de­tect, be­cause they rarely oc­cur when the me­chanic is there to wit­ness it.

Bam­boo­zled by brakes: In­ter­mit­tent ABS

puzzles a Fo­cus owner

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