How extended warranties can spoil the joy of a new vehicle
ON October 27, I bought a new Honda Civic VTi-LX with five-year warranty. Honda started a national "Feel Good" campaign on November 1 offering an extended seven-year warranty. I wrote to Honda's head office to request the same coverage but was refused. I think this is a pretty pathetic response to a new Honda customer. What do you think?
Peter Knol, email
It's so frustrating when a deal comes out immediately after purchase, especially desirable extended factory warranties. Holden, Volkswagen, Mazda and others have all added years to their warranties recently and inevitably some customers just miss the boat. You're rightly aggrieved but it's just bad luck in this instance. From a maker's point of view, if the deal was applied to those who bought four days before such a campaign started, should the same apply to someone who bought four months before?
Re 4WDs, buyers of such vehicles rarely go on a dirt road let alone across the Simpson Desert. The tyres and suspension are on-road specification and you need to spend another $20,000 to make them real rough riders. Why buy them in the first place?
John Hayman, email
SUV marketing departments, John are onto you. You're absolutely right, that's why when you go proper bush bashing you'll find old LandCruisers and Patrols with lift kits and knobbly tyres … and not many BMW X5s. The new Ford Ranger Raptor is an exception. It's the real off-road deal.
The cost of my Land Rover Discovery's scheduled servicing over three years amounts to nearly $3000. By the time the five-year warranty expires, the amount will exceed $5000. My local Land Rover specialist advised me to continue with services through the dealership until the warranty expires, as updates performed by other qualified service technicians make any warranty claims "difficult".
Dave Stimson, email
To protect your warranty, services have to be performed in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications, fitting genuine or approved parts. If a specialist does so, warranty must be honoured. Land Rover services aren't cheap - that's the prestige car premium. Where the difference can come is if something big fails after your warranty expires. Goodwill claims are far more likely to be met if you've kept in the dealer network.
CRUISE IS THE CULPRIT
Re early brake wear on BMW's X1. I've found adaptive cruise control is a major culprit for rapid brake pad and disc wear as brakes are applied so regularly. To avoid this, I now drop a gear to improve engine braking when needed.
Howard Wilson, email
Re cold start piston slap noise in the General Motors LS3 alloy V8. My 2015 Holden Caprice was muted somewhat by using ethanol E10 blend fuel. A sensor in the tank signals to the engine control unit to reduce ignition advance, which in turn quietens piston slap until the engine reaches operating temperature.
Garry Henderson, email
Interesting findings, Garry. Personally, I avoid using E10 in any engine but if piston slap from your GM V8 is driving you mad, it's worth a try.
I have a 2017 Mazda MX-5 that doesn't have a spare wheel but in its place there are a can of goo and a small compressor. I've heard you use the goo to get moving again but tyre places then can't repair the puncture. Is this correct?
Brett Wakeman, email
As long as the tyre hasn't been damaged beyond repair, using goo or sealant won't prevent a fix. The sealant leaves a mess inside the tyre which has to be cleaned out, so some tyre shops may charge more or refuse if they can't be bothered.
PLEASE RELEASE ME
I've been trying to buy a Mercedes-Benz C300 for some time and cannot get any information on it. I've contacted three dealers and they've all been tight-lipped about it. There have been shipments of C300s at the docks since July. Can you shed some light on the cause of the problem?
Tony Marletta, email
A Mercedes-Benz Australia spokesman says: "We are currently experiencing a delay in certification for C300 models and expect to release any vehicles in the country before the end of the year. This will depend on a number of factors such as timing of vehicle order and arrival in country." Perhaps you could test the cheaper C200 while you wait. It's not as quick but has excellent specification.
I'm considering buying an electric car. My concern is we live in Melbourne and have a holiday house in Moama. With the Hyundai Ioniq Electric's range of 230km at best we'd be stranded 3km short. What make of EV would go the distance?
Les Townrow, email
If budget's no concern there's the Tesla Model S (up to 480km range) and Jaguar I-Pace (480km). Cheaper are the Renault Zoe (300km) and the coming Nissan Leaf (up to 240km). EVs aren't best suited to everyone right now. Perhaps the Ioniq Plug-in version (63km of pure electric driving) would suit you better.
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