Unkind­est cut: cost of new keys

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - ROADSIDE ASSIST -

Never keep both car keys in the same lo­ca­tion or to­gether — and if you lose one get an­other cut im­me­di­ately. My son bought a new Subaru Im­preza in 2015 and, on an overseas trip, he put both keys in his bag, which was sub­se­quently stolen. The ve­hi­cle was in a base­ment garage at his unit block and it should have been no prob­lem to call a spe­cial­ist lock­smith to get one cut on the site. But no. Tried two lock­smiths and one could un­lock the car and steer­ing but could not cut or pro­gram a key. It had to be dragged out on dolly wheels, then taken to a deal­er­ship. In the end we had to re­place door locks and keys, a com­bi­na­tion me­ter, a key kit, an in­te­grated unit plus labour. The cost was $3471 and we will never buy an­other Subaru. Mark Cullen, email This is not the first time we’ve heard of this prob­lem, although the Subaru costs seem high. Com­pany spokesman David Row­ley re­sponds: “We will be con­tact­ing the cus­tomer di­rectly, due to the ex­ten­u­at­ing cir­cum­stances, to try to get a fair and rea­son­able out­come. We’re also eval­u­at­ing the cre­ation of an emer­gency kit of these com­po­nents to lower the cus­tomer costs on the rare oc­ca­sion that such an event oc­curs.” Damien At­tard, email I re­ceive emails al­most ev­ery week from Carsguide read­ers who have prob­lems with their Jeeps and our at­ti­tude is shaped by their ex­pe­ri­ences. If there wasn’t a prob­lem, Fiat Chrysler Aus­tralia would not be spend­ing mil­lions to­tally re­vamp­ing its cus­tomer sup­port and dealer man­age­ment.

TEED OFF

I bought a new VW Golf Com­fort­line on the last day of 2015 and it’s given me ab­so­lute hell. The ig­ni­tion key got stuck and wouldn’t come out, so back to the dealer af­ter only two weeks. Then the en­ter­tain­ment sys­tem stuffed up. I took it back and twice they said they fixed it. Then the whole car just died while driv­ing home from work. No dis­play on any screen, no en­ter­tain­ment unit, no speed dis­play, no en­gine. In the four months I’ve had it, it’s been in the shop for about two months. To date, it’s still there. David Bas­sett, email I will pass your com­plaint di­rectly to Volk­swa­gen HQ. New CEO Michael Bartsch is promis­ing much more sup­port for own­ers.

CAN­DID CAM­ERAS

As an avid reader of the Carsguide I am sur­prised you have not been ad­vo­cat­ing that man­u­fac­tur­ers fit dash cams at the fac­tory on all ve­hi­cles to record po­si­tion, time, date and speed. These are a great help in the event of an ac­ci­dent or be­ing pulled up for speed­ing when you were not speed­ing. They also make driv­ers bet­ter road users be­cause they know that they are be­ing recorded. Brian Jack­son, email What you are sug­gest­ing would cre­ate huge prob­lems with per­sonal pri­vacy as well as le­gal im­pli­ca­tions for car mak­ers. I can’t see it hap­pen­ing any time soon.

BEE IN HIS BON­NET

I’m en­joy­ing my older Mazda Bravo but I’ve been test­ing newer four-wheel drives with an eye to the fu­ture. I find the un­nec­es­sar­ily large bon­nets on to­day’s four­wheel drives are a hin­drance to ac­cu­rate steer­ing by ob­scur­ing dif­fi­cult road con­di­tions close to your front. This seem­ingly US con­ven­tion of “mine is big­ger than yours” has put me right off cars like the Ford Ranger and Ever­est. Is there any re­lief in sight? John Sher­win, email There is some Amer­i­can-led styling on SUVs but big­ger and higher bon­nets — even on some­thing as com­pact as a Mini — are a re­sult of the safety reg­u­la­tions on pedes­trian impact pro­tec­tion. The bon­net is now be­ing de­signed as a “safety net” to cush­ion a pedes­trian bowled over by a ve­hi­cle.

CAT RES­CUE

Re­gard­ing the Carsguide reader with a smelly Toy­ota Camry and a sus­pi­cion of rich run­ning. I had the same with an ear­lier V6 Camry and the smell is a byprod­uct of the cat­alytic con­verter do­ing its job. It in­di­cates that un­burnt fuel is en­ter­ing the ex­haust sys­tem and is be­ing con­verted to some­thing less pol­lut­ing. In my case the cause was a de­fec­tive air flow me­ter. Toy­ota wanted al­most $1000 for a new one. A trip to the wreck­ers did the job. Ern Reed­ers, email Thanks for the ad­vice, which I’m sure will help John Davies with his car.

IT’S A CON­STANT...

As a re­tired mo­tor in­dus­try em­ployee I fol­low the is­sues and quirks about dif­fer­ent mod­els. Bit I’m irked when I read your com­ments about con­stantly vari­able trans­mis­sions. My 2008 Nis­san X-Trail Ti has done 110,000km trou­ble-free. It is fit­ted with such a trans­mis­sion and I have ab­so­lutely no prob­lems. On rec­om­men­da­tion I had the CVT oil changed at 50,000km and 100,000km — not cheap as I used gen­uine Nis­san CVT oil, and it seemed to re­ju­ve­nate the trans. It is a lot qui­eter and does not flare when it has to work a bit. I would rec­om­mend that the oil change be con­sid­ered. It is worth the cost. Ger­ald Fa­hey, email Good ad­vice but some CVTs are be­yond such a fix, as the prob­lems seem to be in the core pro­gram­ming.

... RE­FRAIN

Re­gard­ing the CVT de­bate, my wife’s 2008 Mit­subishi Lancer and my 2009 Nis­san X-Trail have CVTs. Both have trav­elled about 70,000km. The Lancer drives beau­ti­fully but the X-Trail seems to have a mind of its own. It can be slug­gish on takeoff, some­times loses power about when a nor­mal gear­box would change from first to sec­ond, and of­ten over-revs. I find that when it over-revs, if I quickly take my foot off and let the revs drop then ac­cel­er­ate again it fixes that par­tic­u­lar part of the prob­lem. Bob Hay­wood, email That sounds like a new-age story for the “Good news, bad news” file.

A DIF­FER­ENT SPIN

I was in­ter­ested to read so many neg­a­tive owner com­ments for the BMW 1 Series in Gra­ham Smith’s used-car ar­ti­cle. We are vic­tims of our own per­ceived suc­cess and the over­paid wages we re­ceive. The av­er­age in­come here is 40 per cent higher than the US. With that, we have to show off with ex­pen­sive badge, pos­ing at the ex­pense of our own car in­dus­try. This will soon cost Aus­tralia $30 bil­lion a year in im­ports, some­thing our grand­chil­dren will not thank us for. The fastest two things about these Ger­man cars is their de­pre­ci­a­tion and ris­ing ser­vic­ing and re­pair costs. Mur­ray Roberts, email It’s not BMWs that have killed the lo­cal car in­dus­try, it’s the flood of af­ford­able im­ported SUVs that have taken over as Aus­tralian fam­ily car favourites.

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