Inclined to roll
HAVE you received any complaints regarding clutch problems with the 2012 Ford Focus auto? Up until about six weeks ago my car was running perfectly but then the ‘‘Stop Engine’’ light came on. Ford did a computer upgrade but that didn’t resolve the issue. Two weeks later they replaced the clutch, still to no avail. I didn’t even know it had a clutch. Last week I returned the vehicle to Ford and was advised to do another 1600km and see what happens! All these directives have come straight from Ford Australia. I think my vehicle is unsafe to drive and I’m putting my family and myself at risk by driving it. The faults are as follows: the vehicle takes too much time to slow down; it does not drive at low speed comfortably without shaking and vibrating and jerky gear changes; it only drives comfortably at speeds higher than local and metro speed limits; it will roll backwards in Drive if stopped on only a slight incline. I have no confidence in this vehicle. I require a safe and reliable vehicle.
Lee-Ann Woods, email
Your car has a doubleclutch automated manual gearbox, not a conventional automatic that you probably thought you were getting. One of the differences between these transmissions is that they roll backwards on an incline if you don’t keep your foot on the brake, as you would if you were driving a manual. Several brands use similar transmissions, from the same maker or other producers. VW was one of the first to use one of the new-age automatics and it has been plagued with issues, essentially the same ones you complain about. The clutch packs appear to be the cause of the shuddering etc that you report. The electronics can be another source of trouble. We have spoken to Ford and we know that a representative has been in contact to arrange a test drive of your car and the company has arranged a loan car while yours is evaluated.
CRACK THE CODE
I have complained to the dealer and to Honda of a cracking sound when starting my Civic VTi-L. It does it intermittently, predominantly on the first start-up, and on occasions it lurches forward. At all times if I immediately turn the ignition off and restart the car, it ignites sweetly with no noise, as you would expect. The dealer and Honda have been fairly good in trying to find the fault but the bloody thing has not done it when they have had the car. Under warranty they have replaced the starter motor twice and they have removed the transmission, checked the driveplate and starter and ring gear condition, found no obvious fault but replaced all the above parts. They started the car repeatedly and all was OK! That was done in March 2012 and I have not taken the car back since then, thinking that it is my imagination and I would just live with it. But it is still doing it and it is very noticeable when I start it with the airconditioning on. The last time I spoke to the dealer they advised me that Honda had said that before they proceed they would have to experience the fault themselves, although my mechanic of 26 years and my niece’s husband, an exfranchisee of the NRMA, have both experienced the noise. This is a tricky one. Any suggestions as to what the fault may be?
Bill Jackson, email You’re right, it is a tricky one, one that would be hard to diagnose if you couldn’t observe it yourself. That someone else has observed it doesn’t really help if it won’t do it while you are present. That appears to be what Honda is saying and I would be asking for a Honda representative to go for a drive with you in the hope it does it for all to hear.
My 2010 Nissan Patrol turbo diesel has begun to overheat when towing our caravan or when travelling up a steep hill without the caravan. I have towed the caravan halfway around Australia with no problems until recently. I have
Crisis of confidence:
An owner queries the safety of her Ford Focus automated