Up­hill bat­tle with brakes

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Ask Smithy -

Two weeks af­ter pick­ing up my 2012 Hyundai i20 in Jan­uary, I ex­pe­ri­enced a se­ri­ous brak­ing prob­lem when the car would strug­gle to main­tain speed, ini­tially on slight in­clines. The dealer couldn’t find any faults and said it lu­bri­cated them. In Fe­bru­ary I was nearly cleaned up by a semi when the car started to de­cel­er­ate from 100 km/h. Also in Fe­bru­ary the brakes locked when I turned off the high­way and I had to get towed to the dealer. The dealer men­tioned calipers/lu­bri­ca­tion and a switch and said it was fixed. Three days later it hap­pened again, this time Hyundai told them to re­place the in­let man­i­fold. But it hap­pened again in May, this time the fix was to re­move the brake mas­ter cylin­der and mea­sure the brake rod length. It was found to be out of spec 0.7 mm, and was ad­justed back in to spec. I have com­plained to Hyundai di­rectly as I reckon six at­tempts to fix a se­ri­ous brake prob­lem was too many and it should have a moral obli­ga­tion to re­place the car. Hyundai’s re­sponse was it will re­place the mas­ter cylin­der, and to quote its cus­tomer care as­sis­tant man­ager, ‘‘we are con­fi­dent this will fix the prob­lem’’. I don’t share his con­fi­dence. They seem to be clutch­ing at straws. At what point is the com­pany obliged to re­place a de­fec­tive ve­hi­cle, es­pe­cially where the de­fect oc­curs un­ex­pect­edly and could have dis­as­trous con­se­quences for the driver and other road users?

Stephen Crowe, email

The com­pany has an obli­ga­tion to fix the car, not re­place it. While your ex­pe­ri­ence must be frus­trat­ing it

CAR­BON CAP­TURE

My daugh­ter owns a used 2008 Peu­geot 308 XSE 1.6-litre turbo petrol auto, bought from a dealer in 2010 with 15,476 km. The car ini­tially per­formed well un­til May 2011 when it be­gan shud­der­ing while driv­ing. This shud­der­ing would gen­er­ally oc­cur when trav­el­ling up­hill, pos­si­bly un­der load, and it felt as if you were driv­ing over large rum­ble strips at the side of the road and would last from any­where be­tween one sec­ond to about three to four sec­onds. We were told it was caused by car­bon build-up in the up­per cylin­ders or in­let valves and the cylin­der head was re­placed un­der war­ranty. Sadly that didn’t re­solve the prob­lem. At one point we were told as it was be­ing driven in a stop-start en­vi­ron­ment the engine was not be­ing warmed up to nor­mal op­er­at­ing tem­per­a­ture and this may ex­plain the car­bon in the up­per cylin­ders, in turn caus­ing the shud­der­ing. It was also sug­gested the ve­hi­cle was not be­ing driven hard enough. We took it back and an­other head was in­stalled but it con­tin­ues to shud­der in­ter­mit­tently. When Peu­geot last checked, in March this year, the com­puter di­ag­nos­tics again pointed to car­bon build-up as the cause. We are now at a stale­mate. The car is now out of war­ranty but this shud­der­ing prob­lem ini­tially arose un­der war­ranty and when the ve­hi­cle had low mileage. We don’t know how to rec­tify this on­go­ing prob­lem. Peu­geot says there is noth­ing more it can do. Your ad­vice or does seem the com­pany is try­ing to fix the prob­lem. I would give it the car back and tell it you don’t want it re­turned un­til it is fixed. Mean­while, ask for a loan car while yours is off the road. If that fails, then you could ask for a new car.

In­clined to slow down: Areader has con­cerns about brak­ing on his Hyundai i20

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