Don’t take no for answer on noise
Q: My 2009 Toyota RAV4 V6 auto has a whine in the transmission final drive that is evident between 40 and 100 km/h, but loudest at lower speeds and under light load. Two auto trans specialists, a Toyota dealer master technician and three independent automotive technicians have diagnosed it and all consider it unacceptable. A Toyota Australia representative who drove the vehicle stated that the whine was a normal operational noise, even though other qualified people recommended that the source of the noise should be rectified. Toyota stands behind its representative and will not do anything. Do you have any suggestions? Chris Brown, e-mail. A: Get all of the people who say it should be rectified to give you their views in writing and request a meeting with Toyota through the dealer and submit your claim directly. It would seem on the surface that you have a good claim. Should that fail to achieve a satisfactory outcome your only course of action would be to seek a solution through consumer affairs.
Q: I recently purchased a six-cylinder Falcon XR6 ute with the ZF trans auto and so far I have been happy with it except for a loud thumping when it downshifts. At the same time there’s a sensation of the car being pushed forward. When recently overtaking, it loudly changed down a gear and the next change was even louder. It thumped on both changes and it felt like it was pushing the ute forward. I have not approached the dealer yet because it’s difficult to describe, intermittent, and I’ve tried to replicate the thumping but couldn’t. Have you heard of this before and is there a fix? Ian, e-mail. A: It’s most likely a software problem, so you should think about taking back to the dealer to see if they might have a fix available for it. Another possibility we were told about by our auto trans expert, Andrew Williams, is to disconnect the battery and leave it sitting overnight. There’s no guarantee it will work, but it might be possible to reset the adaptive learning of the transmission.
Q: The air-conditioning vents inmy2011 MercedesBenz SLK350 constantly make cracking/creaking sounds as they heat and cool. They are clearly audible over the radio/music. In over 30 years of driving I have never had a car that does this. They are driving me crazy. The dealer tried to fix them, but no luck. Now Mercedes is saying that this is not a defect and there is nothing wrong with the car. This is not the quality you expect and pay for from Mercedes. How can I get Mercedes to address this issue?
Rod Nash, e-mail.
A: Go back to the dealer and explain your frustration to him and request again that they be fixed. Should that not achieve the outcome you want take your complaint higher and go directly to Mercedes-Benz itself. I am sure if you do that you will receive the service you believe you are entitled to.
Q: At 60,000km my 2008 Mitsubishi Triton diesel had its manifolds replaced under warranty due to carbon build-up caused by our poor quality diesel fuel. Just before 135,000 km and only a month or two outside the 5-year part of its 5/10 warranty, the engine started surging and hunting at low revs, so I booked it in for its service. A day later the airbag warning light came on as well, so I added that to the list for the dealer to take care of. Over $2100 later, I had one suction control valve replaced, one airbag clock spring replaced, and a