Tow­ing taxes a one-ton­ner

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Ask Smithy - GRA­HAM SMITH

A grind­ing, rat­tling noise comes from diff area on my 2008 FG Fal­con one-ton­ner, It’s done about 161,000km. I’ve changed the diff oil twice but the noises are still there. How reg­u­lar would you ser­vice the auto? David, email If you’re not sure whether it’s com­ing from the diff or the auto trans you need to get some help to iso­late it be­fore you have any chance of find­ing the cause. Chang­ing the diff oil would be the first thing to check. Next look at a bear­ing, but that needs a spe­cial­ist to sort it out. An auto trans­mis­sion ex­pert would say you should change the trans oil ev­ery 25,000km or so, or ev­ery year, and there’s good rea­son to do that if you do a lot of tow­ing. They would also say you should do a full ser­vice ev­ery 100,000km or so, and again it’s more im­por­tant to do that if you tow a lot.


The bat­tery in my Nis­san Navara died two weeks short of 12 months af­ter I bought it. Road­side as­sist tested the bat­tery and said it was faulty and needed to be re­placed. I tried in vain to tell my Nis­san dealer about the bat­tery but they just kept fob­bing me off, say­ing there was noth­ing wrong with it. The bat­tery failed again, and again road­side as­sist came to the res­cue, same re­sult, the bat­tery was faulty. I left for the US the next day, re­turn­ing three weeks later. When I re­turned to the dealer they ac­cepted the bat­tery was faulty but re­fused to hon­our the war­ranty, as it had ex­pired. As a first-time Nis­san buyer, rest as­sured it will be my last. As they won’t hon­our the war­ranty on a bat­tery, I think I’ll be in trou­ble if some­thing se­ri­ous goes wrong. Paul White­man, email That’s a tricky one. Nis­san’s war­ranty doesn’t cover the bat­tery be­cause it’s re­garded as a con­sum­able but the bat­tery it­self is cov­ered by a war­ranty is­sued by its man­u­fac­turer. So, who’s re­spon­si­ble when the bat­tery is faulty? I would sug­gest it’s Nis­san in the first in­stance be­cause they sold you the ve­hi­cle, the bat­tery maker next as they pro­duced it. Nis­san should have re­placed the bat­tery and got their money back from the bat­tery maker in­stead of putting the re­spon­si­bil­ity back on you as the cus­tomer.


I bought a 2006 Holden VZ Crew­man in 2010 and had LPG in­stalled. For the past year my pow­er­train light keeps com­ing on and my me­chanic said it’s to do with the gas. The gas in­staller said it was the in­jec­tors and I had them done, they then said it must be the oxy­gen sen­sors but never got back to me. An­other me­chanic said it was run­ning lean and ad­justed it. But the light still comes on. My me­chanic says it’s the LPG ECU, but the light comes on when run­ning on gas or petrol. Nei­ther me­chanic n or gas man can con­firm what it is, so l’m pay­ing for their guess­work. What could it be? Who would I take it to? Melissa Francis, email A: It’s hard to sug­gest what might be wrong without see­ing the car. Have an LPG spe­cial­ist look at it. Ask Im­pco (03 8788 1000) to check the car for you.


My wife was un­able to start our 2009 Ford Ter­ri­tory in De­cem­ber as the key turned around com­pletely in the bar­rel with no resistance. Af­ter it was towed to the dealer I was told that the whole steer­ing col­umn needed re­plac­ing, and the cost would be $2700. I have since been told that this is not an un­com­mon prob­lem in Ter­ri­to­rys and Fal­cons. I feel ld­is­grun­tled at our “mat­ter of fact” treat­ment in what could be a safety is­sue. Is there an­other course of ac­tion? Steve Chap­man, email A: It is a com­mon prob­lem on the Ter­ri­tory and Fal­con and Ford will only sup­ply the full col­umn as­sem­bly. Crazy. It’s out of war­ranty, so you will have trou­ble get­ting Ford to fix it at their cost — you could try get­ting them to pay for part of the re­pairs. Other than that, go to a Ford wrecker and have them in­stall a used switch for you at a much re­duced cost.

Feel­ing flat: The dead bat­tery in a Navara sparks a com­plaint from the owner

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