Reset puts the BS in ABS
Q: I wondered if you could tell me what sound the ABS makes when it resets. I have a most unusual sound about 50 metres after I drive off. I have been told it is the ABS resetting. I don’t believe them. The garage said not to worry because I reported the problem while the car is still under warranty. Elly Ferguson, e-mail. A: I occasionally have someone ask about a noise their car makes just after driving off, and like you they have usually been told it’s the ABS self-checking or resetting. In all the cars I have driven, and that amounts to hundreds if not thousands over the years, I have never experienced it. Like you, I am sceptical about the claims. I would press the dealer, and even the manufacturer, to explain why it happens.
Q: We bought a new Toyota Prado in 2007. At the same time, we also bought their Mechanical Protection Plan, which covered six years or 175,000 km, whichever came first, on the proviso that you had your car serviced with them charge. It turned out that it was a 30-point inspection, not an actual service. About March last year, after about 120,000 km, the oil light started coming on, even though the oil was full. After about four days, Toyota identified that the sump was full of sludge. They cleaned the sump of sludge and put it back together without cleaning or flushing any other part of the engine. I had been complaining of engine noise and black smoke since about the 80,000 km mark, but they kept insisting that everything was normal. Once the six years were up, I decided to take the car for a service elsewhere, as I was convinced the skillset of mechanics at the dealer was inadequate at best. At about 133,000 km, the oil light came back on. I took it back to the service outlet and told them about our previous experience with sludge. They pulled the sump off again and cleaned the sludge out. Only when I started driving the car home I noticed a winding sound coming from the engine. The service outlet wiped their hands of it, so I had to take it back to the Toyota dealer. They re- fused at first to acknowledge there was a problem. It was only when I insisted their supervisor come for a drive that the sound was acknowledged as not being normal. Anyway, at a further charge, they told me that due to the lack in lubrication caused by the sludging, the impeller in the turbocharger had suf- fered. Then, just before Xmas, the oil light came back on again. They put that down to a bit of corrosion on the oil sensors; I personally believed it had re-sludged and they only relocated the sensors to stop it alarming. In January, when we were travelling up the coast on the freeway, the car just shut down. We called NRMA, who told us that they suspected that the engine had seized. I was gobsmacked; the car is only six-and-ahalf years old, with 140,000 km on the clock. I noticed on your website that the engine in question, the D4D diesel, was having issues with the injectors blocking up causing the oil to carbonate, which was recalled in England and New Zealand but not in Australia. We tried to have them take responsibility for the sludging and rectify the problem before any serious issues arose, but they pulled the oldest trick in the book and said that the car was not serviced in accordance with their terms and conditions. Unfortunately, we missed a couple of services throughout the early period of the car. What can we do? Louie Delinicolis, e-mail. A: The oil sludging is believed to be caused by fuel leakage past the fuel-injector seals into the oil stream. Eventually it can lead to the oil pickup being blocked, which then starves the engine of oil. It’s a known problem in other parts of the world, but Toyota has not done anything about it here, even though we know of a number of cars that have suffered severe engine meltdowns. To make it worse, the oil seals in question are supposed to be replaced at the 40,000km service, when the valve clearances are checked and reset. It’s clear that this isn’t always done. Like you, I would be very angry about having the engine fail at such low kays, and I would be letting Toyota head office know about it in no uncertain terms. I know of one owner who managed to get them to replace the engine in his car when it had done over 200,000km, so I would urge you not to take Toyota’s ‘‘no’’ for an answer and push them to the limit. Take action through Consumer Affairs if needed. The company has an obligation to sell you a product that is fit for purpose, and it would seem in this case that it has not.
Q: I wrote to you last year about a whine in my 2013 Toyota Atara SL that comes in at 1900 to 2000 rpm. You said it could be the gears in the gearbox, which means the car has to be moving, but you can hear it when you rev the engine in Park. Two dealers I have taken it to
Car problems? Graham Smith can help Email ask[email protected]