Side­step dealer for ser­vice deal

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE -

Q: The first ser­vice on my 2010 VW Golf 118TSi Com­fort­line cost $450 at the VW dealer, but the same ser­vice at a non-VW agent is $165, a dif­fer­ence of $255 for ex­actly the same ser­vice. How do you ex­plain it?

L. Wilkin­son, Beau­maris, Vic.

A: It isn’t pos­si­ble to ex­plain with­out see­ing the in­voices, but I would guess the VW dealer is charg­ing more for the parts and is al­most cer­tainly charg­ing more for the labour.

I have seen deal­ers, not nec­es­sar­ily VW deal­ers, charg­ing $140 and more per hour for labour.

Its outrageous and should en­cour­age own­ers to take their busi­ness else­where.

Q: My 1993 EB Fal­con dual-fuel auto sta­tion wagon is us­ing too much fuel, around 20L/100km, whether on petrol or LPG.

I have had it since near new; it’s in very good con­di­tion and has been ser­viced ev­ery 5000km. I have not wor­ried about it un­til now, how­ever, with the price of petrol and gas start­ing to hit the roof I thought I had bet­ter ask some­one. What do you think could be wrong?

Ron James, e-mail. A:

Be­cause it’s too much on ei­ther fuel the prob­lem is not re­lated to one fuel sys­tem or the other.

I would be hav­ing the oxy­gen sen­sor checked, it’s the one that de­ter­mines the mix­ture go­ing into the en­gine and it would seem the en­gine is run­ning too rich.

Q: By us­ing a GPS I have dis­cov­ered that the speedo in my 2007 Toy­ota Hilux SR5 is out by as much as 7km/h, which ex­plains why I was al­ways be­ing over­taken by other cars. It’s fit­ted with 255/70R15 tyres, so could 16-inch tyres make a dif­fer­ence?

Dean Cloth­ier, e-mail.

A: It’s un­likely you would be able get a 16-inch tyre that would give you the in­crease in di­am­e­ter you need to cor­rect the speedo.

Q: A warn­ing light I had never seen be­fore came on in my 2006 Nis­san Navara D40 auto. My Nis­san dealer in­formed me it was the diesel par­tic­u­late fil­ter (DPF). They kept it for a week and did a forced burn, which didn’t fix the prob­lem, and I was told I was up for $3200.

I told them I would like Nis­san to come to the party with the cost, which I thought was rea­son­able as there is no in­for­ma­tion about it in the man­ual, but the an­swer was no. I have done some re­search and ap­par­ently on each trip you have to travel above 80km/h. Do I have a case against them?

M. Stock­well, e-mail.

A: The DPF re­quires a cer­tain drive cy­cle to do the au­to­matic burn it must do to rid it­self of the ac­cu­mu­lated car­bon. Your driv­ing cy­cle ob­vi­ously doesn’t meet the cri­te­ria so the au­to­matic burn hasn’t been done and the dealer has at­tempted a forced burn in an at­tempt to save the DPF.

In one sense you’re lucky that it only cost $3200 as many peo­ple find they also have to re­place the cat­alytic con­vert­ers and the cost can climb as high as $6000 or more when that hap­pens. You might have a case against Nis­san, con­sult the con­sumer af­fairs peo­ple in your state and get their ad­vice.

Q: We have had on­go­ing prob­lems with the DPF fil­ter in our 2010 Nis­san X-Trail TS diesel whereby the DPF light comes on, then the en­gine mal­func­tion light comes on, and if left for even a few days, our car loses en­gine power.

It has now oc­curred about four or five times and each time when pick­ing our car up again the dealer tells us it has been fixed whereby they have cleared the fil­ter or they have re­placed the fil­ter.

The dealer keeps telling us this will al­ways oc­cur with short trips and be­ing stuck in traf­fic and that we are not do­ing suf­fi­cient higher speed mileage. But our car is driven to and from work ev­ery week­day and within each trip, there are speeds of 100 km/h be­ing reached when trav­el­ling on the free­ways, and on top of that we do short lo­cal trips and drives to the coasts on the

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