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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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