Brak­ing prob­lems pose real dan­ger

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE -

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

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