Braking problems pose real danger
Q: Two weeks after picking up my 2012 Hyundai i20 in January I experienced a serious braking problem when the car would struggle to maintain speed, initially on slight inclines. The dealer couldn’t find any faults and said they lubricated them. In February I was nearly cleaned up by a semi when the car started to decelerate from 100km/h. Also in February the brakes locked on when I turned off the highway and I had to get towed to the dealer. They mentioned calipers/lubrication and a switch and said it was fixed. Three days later it happened again, this time Hyundai told them to replace the inlet manifold. But it happened again in May, this time the fix was to remove the brake master cylinder and measure the brake rod length. It was found to be out of spec 0.7mm, and was adjusted back in to spec. I have complained to Hyundai direct as I reckon six attempts to fix a serious brake problem was too many and they should have a moral obligation to replace the car. Hyundai’s response was that they will replace the master cylinder, and to quote their assistant manager customer care, ‘‘we are confident this will fix the problem’’. I don’t share his confidence. They seem to be clutching at straws. At what point is the company obliged to replace a defective vehicle, especially where the defect occurs unexpectedly and could have disastrous consequences for the driver and other road users? Stephen Crowe, Tuncurry, NSW. A: The company has an obligation to fix the car, not to replace it. While it must be frustrating to experience what you have been through it does seem as though the company is trying to fix the problem. I would give them the car back and tell them you don’t want it returned until it is fixed, and in the meantime ask them for the loan of a car while yours is off the road. If that fails then you could ask for a new car.
Q: My daughter owns a 2008 Peugeot 308 XSE 1.6 litre petrol auto turbo four-door hatch, which she bought secondhand in 2010 with 15,476km from a local dealer. The car initially performed well until May 2011 when it began shuddering whilst driving. This shuddering would generally occur when travelling uphill possibly under load and the shuddering sensation felt as if you were driving over large rumble strips at the side of the road and would last from anywhere between one second to about three to four seconds. We were told it was caused by carbon build-up in the upper cylinders or inlet valves and the cylinder head was replaced under warranty. Sadly that didn’t resolve the problem. At one point we were advised that as it was being driven in a stop-start environment the engine was not being warmed up to normal operating temperature and this may be the reason for the carbon- ing up of the upper cylinders in turn causing the shuddering. It was also suggested that the vehicle was not being driven hard enough. We took it back and another head was installed, but it continues to shudder intermittently. When Peugeot last checked it, in March this year, the computer diagnostics again pointed to carbon buildup as the cause. We are now at a stalemate. Although the car is now out of warranty, this initial shuddering issue arose under warranty at a time when the vehicle had only travelled low mileage. We are at a loss as to what we can be done to finally rectify this ongoing problem, in particular if Peugeot now advise that there is nothing more they can do. Your advice would be very much appreciated.
Nicole and Malcolm Smith, Twin Waters, Qld. A: Even though the warranty has now expired Peugeot cannot simply walk away from the issue, they