Sidestep dealer for service deal
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