Too long be­tween drinks

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Ask Smithy -

I have re­cently bought an awe­some VW Golf R, but I’m a bit wor­ried about the oil. I have al­ways been a bit par­tic­u­lar when it comes to oil changes. With all my pre­vi­ous new cars, I have changed the oil and fil­ters at least three times be­fore the first sched­uled dealer ser­vice at 1000km to make sure any new engine swarf has been re­moved. With the Golf, I have been ad­vised not to change the oil at all and wait for the first dealer ser­vice at 15,000km be­cause the oil has ‘‘runin’’ ad­di­tives in it. Oth­er­wise it will burn oil. Is this true? Or, is it pos­si­ble to buy more of the ad­di­tive so I can change the oil and fil­ter my­self be­fore the first ser­vice? I do not want to have all that swarf float­ing around in my oil, pos­si­bly do­ing more dam­age to the in­ter­nals. And I don’t be­lieve any oil, no mat­ter how ex­pen­sive it is, lasts for 15,000km.

Bruce Edwards, email Like you I be­lieve the ex­tended oil change in­ter­vals be­ing rec­om­mended by all car­mak­ers to­day are too long and not good for the health of en­gines. I be­lieve it’s best to change the oil fre­quently, say


The SRS airbag warn­ing light in my 2011 Mit­subishi Tri­ton stays on con­tin­u­ally. It has been back to my lo­cal dealer four times to have it fixed as I re­ally do want my airbags work­ing when re­quired. The last time it went back was two days ago and it didn’t even last the drive home be­fore it came on and stayed on. The dealer said Mit­subishi would be re­plac­ing the wiring har­ness but it doesn’t have any at the mo­ment. The dealer has been told to just ap­ply the fix it has been do­ing un­til the har­nesses are avail­able. I find this lu­di­crous. This has been go­ing on for more than six months. Three months ago I was in­volved in an ac­ci­dent with an im­pact speed of about 40 km/h and the airbags did not de­ploy. At the time the SRS airbag light was not on. When I asked the dealer what im­pact speed should set off the airbags he said he couldn’t tell me as he had no idea and I should ask Mit­subishi. I have no faith in this car, or in Mit­subishi. I can­not just sell the car as it is leased and there would be a fi­nan­cial penalty for do­ing so. I pur­chased and paid for a car with airbags as a prime safety fea­ture and right now no­body can as­sure me they will work when re­quired.

David Moore, email

You’re per­fectly en­ti­tled to ex­pect the airbags to work, and Mit­subishi must ad­dress the prob­lem to en­sure they do work as they’re de­signed to do. Ask the dealer for a full re­port on the prob­lem and how it in­tends fix­ing it. Most im­por­tantly, ask it for a timetable of when it will be fixed, and re­quest a let­ter from Mit­subishi stat­ing your car is safe to drive. If it won’t pro­vide you with that let­ter, de­mand a re­place­ment car un­til yours is fixed.


Re the oil burn­ing in the V6 Com­modore. From my ev­ery 5000km, to keep the oil fresh. We con­tacted VW for an an­swer, but what we got wasn’t very use­ful. The re­sponse:

‘‘ Volk­swa­gen-ap­proved oil is used in the ve­hi­cles from new. Volk­swa­gen does not ad­vise chang­ing the oil un­til 15,000km or 1 year.’’ I would be loath to rec­om­mend chang­ing the oil be­fore the first ser­vice be­cause do­ing that would give VW an ex­cuse to void your war­ranty should you have prob­lems with the engine. Per­haps the best would be to wait un­til af­ter the 15,000km ser­vice and then go to more fre­quent oil changes.

Fil­ter tip: AGolf R owner be­lieves oil changes should oc­cur be­fore 15,000km

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