HON­EST JOHN EX­PERT AD­VICE

The dealer you can trust is on hand to an­swer your ques­tions on car prob­lems and con­sumer is­sues

The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - - OPEN ROAD -

CZECHS AND BAL­ANCES

I ac­quired a new Skoda Su­perb 18 months ago on PCP fi­nance and paid for the cor­re­spond­ing ser­vice plan. The car had its first ser­vice in March, but five months later it alerted me to the need for an oil ser­vice and in­spec­tion. The dealer told me to ig­nore the warn­ing. Should I be con­cerned that I could be held li­able by the fi­nance com­pany for not look­ing af­ter the car cor­rectly? RD

If it’s a diesel, it could be that the oil level in the sump is ris­ing be­cause the en­gine has been shut down too of­ten when the DPF was ac­tively re­gen­er­at­ing. I’d get the oil changed.

LIM­ITED AD­DI­TION

I have driven a Re­nault Grand Modus for 10 years. It has been a re­li­able work­horse but now it needs re­plac­ing. Do you have any sug­ges­tions, prefer­ably cars that will fit into a garage? GM

Maybe a Kia Venga or Hyundai ix20, or the smaller Suzuki Ig­nis. The Ford

Un­less your car has prob­lems as a con­se­quence of the up­date, em­phat­i­cally no. I don’t ap­prove of this sort of money-grub­bing greed.

RE­VERSE SWEEP

Look­ing at the cur­rent ad­ver­tise­ment for the Peu­geot Rifter makes me won­der if it is safe to drive, as it ap­pears to be the first mod­ern car with­out side mir­rors. Your thoughts? TH

You are mis­taken. It has huge door mir­rors, about nine inches deep.

RIO FORD IN HAND

My wife drove a Ford EcoS­port and liked it a lot. Is it any good? And what might be bet­ter al­ter­na­tives? DS

I don’t rate them. They are ba­si­cally Brazil­ian im­ports to fill a per­ceived gap in the Ford SUV range, with in­con­ve­niences such as a left-hinged rear door suit­able mainly for left­hand-drive mar­kets. A small Ford that makes a lot more sense is the ver­sa­tile Tour­neo Courier 1.0 EcoBoost Zetec, at £14,815.

MO­BILE DISCO

We have been of­fered an ex­tended war­ranty from Land Rover on our Novem­ber 2014 Dis­cov­ery 4 HSE, at £91 per month or a sin­gle pay­ment of £910, or a select ex­tended war­ranty at £72.50 pm or £725 sin­gle pay­ment. It seems ex­pen­sive for one year. Any ideas? IM

The ex­pe­ri­ence of read­ers suf­fer­ing en­gine fail­ures in Dis­cov­ery 4s tells me that this might be a worth­while in­vest­ment.

WORN PIECE

A Toy­ota fran­chised garage charged me £834 to re­place a worn clutch on my 2015 Aygo. Later, other garages quoted be­tween £398 and £585. Some of them (and a me­chanic’s web­site) said that pre­ma­turely worn clutches are well known on the Aygo. Given the car’s age and only 23,000 miles, can I rea­son­ably ask Toy­ota to pay part of the cost, though I sus­pect that clutch “wear and tear” isn’t cov­ered by the war­ranty? JF

This is the dif­fer­ence be­tween a fran­chised dealer and a spe­cial­ist, be­cause the over­heads of the fran­chised dealer are usu­ally far higher and de­ter­mine the labour rate, not what the me­chanic ac­tu­ally gets paid. It’s worth push­ing the dealer for some good­will from Toy­ota.

GORGE LU­CAS

I have a large num­ber of cat­a­logues cover­ing Lu­cas elec­tri­cal parts and

Kia Cee’d and Hyundai i30 SWs are good – and re­li­able. For £10,000 a Kia should come with some of its orig­i­nal seven-year war­ranty. A Honda Civic 1.8i VTEC Tour­ing Sports should also be on your list.

WASTE LINE

I have owned a 2003 Mazda MX-5 1.8 from new and it has now done 48,000 miles. The man­ual says to use 10/40 semi-syn­thetic oil, but my garage sug­gests fully syn­thetic. Would us­ing fully syn­thetic of­fer any ad­van­tage, or is it a waste of money? KB

It de­pends how of­ten you change it. The en­gine has no turbo so a good semi-syn­thetic should last 5,00010,000 miles a year.

PAW PRINTS

As the owner of a Jaguar XE with 19-inch wheels and low-pro­file tyres, I can re­late to your oft-made com­ments re­gard­ing the poor ride com­fort of such wheel/tyre com­bi­na­tions. But do big­ger wheels de­liver any ben­e­fits? TS

Looks, ap­par­ently, al­though they do noth­ing for me.

AND AN­OTHER ONE...

I am look­ing at buy­ing a VW Golf SV with the 1.5 TSI EVO petrol en­gine and, prefer­ably, a DSG au­to­matic gear­box. Is this the po­ten­tially trou­ble­some trans­mis­sion that you of­ten rec­om­mend read­ers to avoid? DS

Un­for­tu­nately, yes – and com­plaints are still com­ing in.

MONEY FOR NOTH­ING?

I need to get my BMW ser­viced and have been given a few quotes. At the of­fi­cial BMW deal­er­ship it costs about £280 al­though an in­de­pen­dent garage would charge £100 for the same work. Should I go for the cheaper op­tion? AL

It needs BMW dealer ser­vic­ing only when un­der war­ranty; use an in­de­pen­dent BMW spe­cial­ist af­ter the man­u­fac­turer war­ranty has ex­pired. You could get an oil change for £100, but not much else. And this would prob­a­bly void your war­ranty.

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