Best gear to use for towing a caravan
Q: I have heard of manual and automatic gearboxes failing when towing caravans in top gear. Is this a common fault with modern day gearboxes? I have just bought a Hyundai Terracan diesel automatic. Should I be towing in top or third gear? John Honisett, e-mail A: We asked Hyundai for an answer and we were told that it’s OKto tow in top gear, but I would advise you use the best gear for the situation you find yourself in. Use top gear on the flat, but instead of waiting for the transmission to change down when you hit a hilly section, anticipate it and pull it back manually to negotiate the inclines. That way the engine won’t be labouring and the transmission will be under lower load. Hyundai recommends a different service schedule for cars being used for towing, and that you can find out all about it in your service book.
Q: I recently bought a 2002 BA Ford Falcon that has done over 200,000km and have heard that there is an inherent problem with the auto transmission
Instead of waiting for the transmission to change down when you hit a hilly section, anticipate it and pull it back manually to negotiate the inclines
failing at these kilometres due to ingress of radiator coolant. Is this inevitable? Also what would it cost to have an external transmission cooler fitted? I’ve been told too that this model transmission is not serviceable. Is this true? Michael Carroll, Elmhurst, Victoria A: The auto can fail at any kilometres, not necessarily 200,000 km, and it’s because the transmission cooler in the radiator fails and coolant gets into the transmission. The transmission can be serviced by an automatic transmission specialist, who could also fit an external cooler for $500-$600.
Q: My 2011 Holden Barina Spark had the gearbox replaced at 10,000km, and now at 30,000km the problem, a whirring noise when turning left seems to have returned. Should I insist on having the gearbox replaced again, as there appears to be a definite fault with them. Have other owners had similar troubles? Sean, e-mail A: You should insist on having the problem resolved. If that means replacing the gearbox, then so be it. But I wouldn’t insist on replacing the gearbox straight up, as the cause of the problem might not be the gearbox.
Q: Recently, the DSG transmission in our 2005 VW Golf FSI developed a very rough gear change when shifting up through the lower gears. The car has done 71,500km and has been regularly serviced by our VW dealer. The dealer told us it was due to oil in the wiring in the transmission and quoted $2000 to repair. After the repair the dealer advised me that they were not happy with the result and had to consult VW for advice. The real shock came when we were then told the transmission required replacing at a cost of $10,800 plus labour, this after a 20 per cent discount on parts from VW. It is a substantial amount of money and I believe a gearbox with regular servicing should last longer than 71,000km. VW are also aware of issues with the DSG gearbox. Should VW pay to replace the gearbox? And should I pay for the dealer’s incorrect diagnosis?