Cooler is good insurance
Q: I’ve started towing a caravan withmy 2006 automatic Nissan XTrail and was wondering if I should have a transmission oil cooler fitted. The X-trail has a braked towing capacity of 2000kg and my caravan weighs 1300kg and has brakes. So far I’ve only done small trips of around 300km, but next year I want to go from Brisbane to Victoria to see the Great Ocean Road.
Previously I have been told that if I was going to tow heavy stuff I should get an aftermarket cooler to cool the transmission fluid. Do you think it is necessary? Peter van Sloten, email. A: It depends on the weight you’re going to tow and the terrain you’ll be travelling over. Your caravan is well within the X-trail’s weight limits, but remember the weight is the fully loaded weight, not just the weight of the caravan. If the caravan weighs 1300kg fully loaded and if the roads you will be travelling on are relatively flat, then you should be able to get away without a cooler. But a cooler is good insurance against overheating the transmission, and
Imagine my surprise when a few days later I experienced total brake failure
overheating it is a good way to kill it.
Q: It seems to me that the phrase ‘‘characteristic of the model’’ is the car manufacturer’s favourite reply when quizzed about a problem. I have been in the trade since 1968 I find it a copout. It suggests that a carmaker knows about a problem but doesn’t know how to fix it. I took delivery of a 2008 no-name car in August and immediately noticed that the brake pedal felt vague and spongy and tended to creep to the floor if moderate sustained force was applied after the vehicle had come to a stop. Imagine my surprise when a few days later I experienced total brake failure. The dealer attempted to find the cause and replaced a couple of major components in the brake system, but without fixing it. The manufacturer indicated that the brake pedal feel and creep was ‘‘characteristic of the model’’ and not a problem. My inquiries have discovered that there have been at least three unexplained total brake failures on this particular model. To maintain goodwill the dealership is replacing my vehicle and, believe it or not, the replacement has a vague spongy pedal that tends to creep if moderate pedal force is maintained after coming to a stop. Your thoughts regarding this matter would be appreciated.
Joe Bloomer, email.