TROUBLE AND SQUEAK
I have a Toyota 86 GTS Limited Edition with Brembo brakes that squeal when applied at low speed, hot or cold. The problem has been evident since I bought it new and it has done only 9000km. The dealer says they’ll charge me for an inspection, as brakes aren’t covered under warranty.
Geoff Ford, email
It may be acceptable for cold brakes on racing cars to squeal but not on a new road car. The problem’s been there since new, it’s not gone away and the dealer must take some responsibility. A Toyota Australia spokesman (whose own 86 GTS Limited Edition doesn’t suffer brake squeal) says your dealer should look at the problem, then perhaps machine the rotors or re-bed the brake pads to fix. If they won’t do this free, I’d suggest taking your business and loyalty to another Toyota dealer.
I drive a 2017 Toyota Prado GXL and am wondering whether Toyota can retrofit a switch to activate the burn cycle for the diesel particulate filer?
Rod Stubbings, email
There’s much interest in retrofitting a DPF switch and there’s also good news. Toyota says a dealer can retrofit such a switch but “only on a case-bycase basis to ensure the switch will be beneficial and that there are no other underlying issues”.
UP THE RATINGS
I’ve just bought a brand new Hyundai i30SR and see the recommended fuel is standard 91 RON. But Hyundai staff suggested I use 95 RON, 98 RON or even a blend of the three during the year. What would you use if it were your car? Colin Forsyth, via email
Cracking car, the i30SR, and its 1.6-litre turbo engine will run fine on 91RON. It will enjoy 95 or 98 more with their lower sulphur content, detergents to help it run smoother and, possibly, improve fuel economy and performance. Mixing all three seems reasonable advice to me. If it were my car? I’d use 95 mainly, 98 before a blast in the hills, but never E10.
Re premium diesel and engine performance. Premium generally has a higher cetane rating (its combustion and compression indicator) than standard diesel. Our Audi A6 3.0-litre diesel runs smoother and, I believe, exhibits more power using BP Ultimate with cetane rating of 53. I’ve found other diesel rated at 46 to 53. It would be useful if service stations declared cetane ratings of their diesel fuel. Glen Mickan, email
I’ve tried all brands of diesel and found no evidence of improved performance from any of them — but have seen a difference in fuel economy. A specialist diesel workshop told me you don’t need premium diesel for cleaning and instead recommended Flash Lube each time I fill up. At an extra 20c-30c per tank, the cost is negligible.
Ross Gardner, email
Using premium fuel in my Mercedes-Benz E270 CDI has stopped it blowing smoke and given better economy on the highway. Graeme Baird, email
Mixed reviews on premium diesel being worth it. A few diesel experts I spoke to suggest you’ll see no performance improvement but the premium’s detergents and corrosion inhibitors make it worthwhile to put in your tank occasionally. Some diesel owners report gains in performance, economy and smoothness, so if it works for you …
I’m in the market for a new SUV as my older legs need something higher off the ground. I’m considering a Mazda CX-5, Toyota RAV4 or Subaru Forester but I’m concerned about continuously variable transmissions. My research suggests some owners don’t like them and they’re expensive to repair. What are the pros and cons?
Don Gamble, email
CVTs are typically lighter, cheaper to produce and help improve fuel efficiency. Negatively they can be whiny, unsatisfying to drive and yes, very costly when they go wrong. I reckon Subaru’s CVT is a good thing, at its best working quietly and smoothly so many drivers love them. For me, a conventional torque converter auto still trumps all CVTs. Buy the very good Mazda CX-5 if you agree but test its CVTequipped rivals to form your own opinion.
RACK AND RUIN
I own a 140,000km 2014 Holden Commodore Sportswagon that is losing power steering. The dealer told me it needs a new steering rack at a cost of $2352. My research shows this to be an ongoing concern with this model. Should it be covered under warranty? I thought GM cars were superior and I told my dealer I expect a lot from a quality car.
Paul Rankovic, email
Your car is out of warranty, so it’s frustrating when such an expensive fix is needed after just four years. If you’ve serviced the car with Holden its whole life, remind your dealer you’re a loyal customer and ask them to consider covering labour costs if you pay for parts. If you feel the steering rack has failed in advance of reasonable expectation, and don’t consider your Holden dealer’s response adequate, you could take your issue to the ACCC.
“There’s not enough demand for a right-hand drive Atlas — it’s petrol-only so South Africa won’t have it, and it’s too big for the UK — but we’d take it tomorrow. A right-hand drive prospect is remote but we never give up hope.” From sibling brand Skoda, the seven-seat Kodiaq is a decent alternative, even if it’s not quite as big and imposing and American-y as the Atlas, plus there are petrol and diesel options.