HONEST JOHN EXPERT ADVICE
The dealer you can trust is on hand to answer your questions on car problems and consumer issues
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.