Don’t step on it
I have recently bought a 2013 Audi A3 and I’ve been having trouble with the accelerator pedal. I find that when I put my foot down harder than usual, I feel there is a lag of 1-2 seconds and it takes a little while for the car to take off. When it eventually takes off, it sometimes takes off so fast that I think I’m going to get whiplash. At an Audi dealership, a service person took it for a drive (with me in it) and he said that’s just how these cars are built and I have to modify my driving. Have you heard this before regarding these vehicles or should I ask for a diagnostic check? Michelle Camilleri, email There is nothing wrong with the car. What you are experiencing is called “turbo lag” and it happens as it takes time for the exhaust gases to spin the turbocharger that boosts power in the engine. The best way to adjust is to push the accelerator a little earlier than you might normally think but ease into it instead of stomping it to the floor.
My wife has a Mercedes-Benz ML350d that you recommended three years ago. It is becoming too big for her now so I was wondering whether the Mercedes GLA 200d would be a good changeover. I did look at the BMW X1 but it is also bit large.
Peter Foster, email The GLA (pictured above) is actually my favourite of all the baby Mercedes-Benz models and I reckon it should suit her fine. It gets The Tick from me.
You are right to advise not to drive around Australia on run-flat tyres. I have a BMW 7 Series. Three years ago I hit a pothole while travelling between Warrnambool and Hamilton in Victoria and it split the sidewall of the front run-flat tyre. I made it to Hamilton and contacted BMW. I was supplied with a rental vehicle but my car had to go on a tilt-tray to the dealer in Ballarat, where it stayed for almost a week while a tyre was shipped from Sydney. Apart from the time lost, the cost, including wheel inspection and alignment, was almost $1200. I’ve since had a similar incident, however it just needed another new tyre. So I wouldn’t travel around Australia on run-flat tyres. Neil McArthur, email Great advice from someone who knows.
Ford Australia finally came through and, thanks to your help, agreed to replace the gearbox on my Fiesta. I picked it up last Friday and so far so good. I only had to pay $550 and change for the labour costs, which is a great result for us.
Shaun Bird, email
Glad to assist.
CLUTCHING AT FLAWS
Re clutches being regarded as wear-and-tear items and so not covered by warranties. Why, then, does Ford repair clutch packs in Festiva and Mondeo Powershift gearboxes? Why has VW given warranty cover to people with DSG clutch issues? I was told when I bought my Renault Clio RS that the automatic, the Efficient Dual Clutch, is covered under factory warranty. There seems to be some inconsistency here. Can you shed any light on this?
Anthony Lucca, email There is no inconsistency. The clutch in a regular manual car is operated and controlled by the driver but the clutch pack in a doubleclutch setup such as those used by Ford, Renault and Volkswagen is controlled by the car’s computer. So any wear or damage in a doubleclutch is a fault in the car and not down to the driver.
CRICKET BUGS ME
I‘ve had my new Mercedes Benz C250d Estate for three months and I love it. Having dropped it off for a small warranty repair, I asked about an annoying “clicking” noise — seven small clicks that come from within the dash area or from under the passenger seat — which happens three to six times an hour. I was told it’s the Keyless Go, with the car looking for the remote key. They say nothing can be done. Really? I have owned other cars including another Mercedes-Benz, and test driven other Benzes before purchase, and this did not happen. Can you help in getting rid of the “cricket” that lives in my car?
Nick Andjelic, email Mercedes-Benz Australia admits there is a problem but has no timeline yet on a solution. I’m not a fan of the Keyless Go in any case and my solution is to plug the electronic key into the slot beneath the silver start button. Remove the plastic cap first.
I drive a 2015 Mazda CX-9. Last week on the Ring Road in Melbourne the sunroof exploded. It went off like a bomb but there were no vehicles within 150 metres of me when it happened. I rang my Mazda dealer and they said must have been a rock. So no warranty claim. Then my brother-in-law, who is in the car trade, told me to google “spontaneously exploding sunroof” and I found the web was full of the same scenario. Can you give information or assistance?
Colin Hibberd, email I’ve heard of this from time to time, including a BMW roof that exploded during a press preview drive. Mazda Australia will do a full assessment of you car and provide a loan vehicle for you.
I signed a contract for a new Mazda2 in mid-December which stated the delivery date was the end of January. But I’m still waiting. And when I call the dealer there is always an excuse. Is this delay common? What do you suggest?
Jim West, email Mazda Australia tells me your car will arrive this week and, as a goodwill gesture after the delay, you will be getting free window tinting and three years of free roadside assist coverage.
LEXUS FOUR SURE
Would you go for a top-ofthe-range Toyota Kluger AWD or a a top-line Lexus RX 350?
Rick Holst, email I am not a fan of the new Kluger, so it would definitely be the Lexus RX for me.
SHED SOME LIGHT
Now that car makers are adding “daytime running lights”, why don’t they have them illuminate the tail-lights as an added safety feature?
Ron Geisler, email I’ll ask a few brands but the likely answer is that DRLs boost visibility in potential frontal and side-on crash situations. Brake lights, particularly since the introduction of high-mounted stop lights, already do the job in cutting the potential for rear-end crashes.