Dealer should be port of call
Q: I am an owner of a 2010 Toyota Hilux SR5 Dual Cab Turbo Diesel and have been taking advantage of the fixedcap servicing of $170 per service, but while having a wheel alignment carried out at a tyre outlet I was told that my handbrake was only being adjusted at the lever and not the rear wheels. Is it better to search for a true 4x4 mechanic?
Matt Jones, email.
A: Before you do anything, air your concerns with the dealer. There is no need to find a specialist 4x4 mechanic.
Q: My daughter’s 2001 Ford Laser auto has a recurring problem, which nobody can so far put their finger on.
It is quite distressing, especially when you are driving in traffic or the car is stopped at the traffic lights.
The engine shudders when stationary and feels like its going to ‘‘conk out’’.
It seems to correct itself for a time, but might come back a week or two later. Recently when I was driving the car at 100km/h the motor lost power and the speed dropped right back to about 80km/h. After a few minutes the engine seemed to right itself and we continued on our journey without further incident.
The mechanics we have taken it to have not been able to find anything wrong and nothing shows up on a diagnostic check.
Ross Gregory, Seville Grove, WA.
A: Intermittent problems can be very hard to diagnose because they rarely happen when the mechanic is present.
Same with the diagnostic checks, nothing will show up if the engine is running normally when the checks are done.
I would be checking the various engine sensors, their connectors and the witting loom, looking for a corroded or poor connection.
Q: I have an SV22 fourcylinder Toyota Camry with 260,00-plus km on the original engine and I was thinking of having it converted and taking advantage of the remaining $1500 government subsidy.
Is it a good idea to do this so late in the life of an elderly engine? Are there any issues likely to manifest themselves where an engine has spent all of its existing life on ULP?
It’s an older car now and I’m not sure spending thousands to have the engine done up really makes sense.
Paul Tarrant, email.
A: It depends on how long you plan to keep the car and its condition. If it is in good condition and you plan to keep it for four to five years minimum then it could be a worthwhile thing to do, but if it’s not in great shape and you don’t plan to keep it then it certainly wouldn’t be worth it.
The problem is that it is an old car and you can’t predict what problems you might have in the near future. I wouldn’t do it.
Q: My 1999 six-cylinder AU Ford Fairlane Ghia has done just 100,000km and is in superb condition. I love it, but the fuel usage around town is terrible. According to the trip computer, it is averaging 19.5-litres per 100km around town and 12.5-13-litres/100km on a trip. I am not a lead foot, in fact friends tell me I drive like my grandmother. My dealer can’t find anything wrong with the car. Hope you can help.
Milton Meier, Ballarat, Vic.
A: You should be getting around 13-14litres/100 km in town and 9-10litres/100km on a trip, so clearly all is not well.
The first thing to do is to ensure the spark plugs, leads, air filter and throttle body are all functioning correctly, and replace them if its suspected they’re not.
Have the dealer check the exhaust back pressure, catalytic converter and oxygen sensors to make sure isn’t running unduly rich or have a restricted exhaust.
Look at your driving conditions, for instance, do you mainly do short runs that might not allow the engine to warm up properly?