CLUTCHES OF PAST EVIL
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.
WORK IN PROGRESS
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 SHOCKS AGAIN
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.