Re­set puts the BS in ABS

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE -

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]

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