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Last year I bought a 2016 Mazda MX-5 man­ual with 18,500km on the clock. At its 30,000km ser­vice this year, I men­tioned there was clutch shud­der at park­ing speeds. Mazda said they prob­a­bly wouldn’t do any­thing as clutches weren’t nor­mally war­rantable items. I’ve been ad­vised it is $1620 to sup­ply and fit a re­place­ment if, when they re­move it, they find no me­chan­i­cal is­sue. I don’t agree a shud­der­ing clutch is wear and tear and not war­rantable.

James Schiemer, email

Un­for­tu­nately, you may be the vic­tim of the MX-5’s first owner abus­ing the clutch. The shud­der­ing will drive you mad so you’ll need it fixed. Mazda may find there is a ma­te­rial or man­u­fac­tur­ing de­fect and you’ll be cov­ered un­der war­ranty. If not, ask to take away the old clutch for a sec­ond opin­ion from a spe­cial­ist if you’re not sat­is­fied. Bad driv­ing habits are more likely re­spon­si­ble and the clutch, which is deemed con­sum­able, won’t be cov­ered by war­ranty.


When will Toy­ota Aus­tralia put Ap­ple CarPlay in its ve­hi­cles? I un­der­stand there may be lots of ne­go­ti­a­tions with Ap­ple, but surely it’s time for Toy­ota to catch up with the com­pe­ti­tion? Brent Hud­son, email

With the ma­jor­ity of Aus­tralia’s best-sell­ing brands hav­ing Ap­ple CarPlay and An­droid Auto in their cars. (Mazda will join the ranks, too, within a few weeks.) Toy­ota is the ob­vi­ous ex­cep­tion. Our No.1 brand can’t ig­nore strong con­sumer de­mand and pres­sure and we may not have to wait long. A Toy­ota spokesman says: “In­tro­duc­tion plans are still in progress and it is too early to an­nounce tim­ing. This will be done on a case-by-case ba­sis closer to the launch of each model up­date.” Pos­i­tive noises, so it must be close.


I bought a Volvo V40 in May 2015 and it’s now done 30,000km. Re­cently I no­ticed there was wear on the driver’s door arm­rest and vis­ited the dealer to see if it could be rec­ti­fied. The ser­vice man­ager said he’d send a good­will re­quest to Volvo head of­fice but this was re­jected as a tech­ni­cian be­lieved “the customer has caused the dam­age with their el­bow”. I was not at all sat­is­fied with this re­sponse as I se­ri­ously doubt the wear has been due to my ac­tions. I be­lieve the arm­rest should be re­paired or re­placed.

Chris Coburn, email

Such wear shouldn’t oc­cur af­ter so short a time; you’ve paid for a pre­mium brand and should ex­pect qual­ity. It’s a mys­tery what’s caused the wear — lean­ing on the arm­rest when get­ting out has been mooted — but Volvo Aus­tralia says it has not seen the prob­lem be­fore and main­tains there was no man­u­fac­tur­ing de­fect in your arm­rest’s case. Spokesman Greg Bos­nich says in the in­ter­est of customer sat­is­fac­tion the com­pany will re­place the part free of charge. It’s a rel­a­tively in­ex­pen­sive re­pair, but Volvo still de­serves praise for com­ing to the party.


Bill McKin­non’s throw­away line about “the im­mi­nent demise of diesel”, if fac­tual, could be dis­as­trous to Aus­tralia. It’s no stretch to say our econ­omy rides on diesel, from road, rail, sea, heavy earth­mov­ing, farm­ing, min­ing and per­sonal trans­port in re­mote ar­eas. Come on, we don’t all live in the city!

Robert Fox, email

Diesel is a hugely im­por­tant fuel for what you’ve listed, Robert, and will re­main so for some time. For pas­sen­ger cars in ur­ban ar­eas, the tide has turned against them. Bill was re­fer­ring to diesel pas­sen­ger ve­hi­cles — glob­ally, cities and coun­tries have al­ready set dates for their ban­ish­ment. But I’d sug­gest we’ll en­joy diesel clat­ter in the Aussie bush for a few decades yet.


Re my 2013 Jeep Wran­gler with the $5540 re­pair bill caused by a leaky ther­mo­stat hous­ing. I got in touch with Jeep customer care as you rec­om­mended and they re­fused any as­sis­tance with the re­pair costs. Richard Raynes, email

We’ve been in touch with Jeep and they have promised to in­ves­ti­gate the mat­ter fur­ther to I’m will­ing to spend up to $170,000 on a fam­ily lux­ury SUV with a good en­gine. I’d pre­fer all the lux­ury fea­tures plus re­li­a­bil­ity, and am con­sid­er­ing the Toy­ota LandCruiser Sa­hara, Range Rover Sport and Mercedes GLS Sport. I’m open to other op­tions.

Harry Mistry, email

Are you plan­ning any off-road­ing be­yond dirt roads? If so, the LandCruiser Sa­hara is the pick when you’re head­ing to re­mote re­gions. The Range Rover Sport has cut­ting-edge tech, style and off-road smarts — the diesel SDV6 HSE Au­to­bi­og­ra­phy Dy­namic is loaded, or try the 5.0-litre V8 HSE Dy­namic if you favour per­for­mance over fuel econ­omy. A Benz GLS 350d Sport with op­tions should im­press. You might also sam­ple a Volvo XC90 R-De­sign. My favourite is the bal­lis­tic and loaded Audi SQ7.

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