Best gear to use for tow­ing a car­a­van

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE -

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?

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