26 September 2023

Ask the Doctor

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By Paul Gover.

Q: I am a senior female driver, living in central Melbourne, driving short distances.

I am amazed that my car, a Mercedes-AMG GLC 43 which has done just 20,000 kilometres and is just approaching two years old has required two replacement sets of front tyres, (meaning three sets in total) and two wheel alignments during this time. The tyres, at times, seems to skip across the road surface, making a thumping sound.

I would value your thoughts.

Jennifer H

A: This, sadly, is a very common problem with the performance SUVs from Mercedes-AMG. It’s down to the soft compound and performance focus of the tyres, and the geometry in the front suspension. The only thing you can do is switch to a less ‘aggressive’ tyre and, given Benz dealers are well familiar with the problem – and complaints from owners – they should be able to steer you in the right direction.

Q: My daughter is looking at a 2012 -2015 Holden Cruz, but hubby was concerned that parts wouldn’t be available if required later on down the track.

Do you recommend she buys one of these?

If not can you please suggest something else similar size under $10,000 secondhand please.

Lyndall E

A: There is no problem with Holden parts and service for the next 10 years. But, and it’s a big one, the Cruze is not a great car. Far better for similar money to go with a Hyundai i30.

Q: Was wondering what 4×4 cab-chassis vehicle I could get for around $35,000.

I don’t think automatics are very good so was thinking a manual.

Hopefully something not too old and not many kilometres.

John C

A: Most of the Japanese brands produce what you want, and for my money the best value choices are either the Mitsubishi Triton or Nissan Navara. But you might also find something new with that budget from LDV, if you’re prepared to take a bit of a risk on future resale value.

Q: I’ve been driving since 1972 and have a 2015 Toyota LandCruiser Sahara which i purchased new.

On good roads like highways this vehicle wanders quite easily and, unless i correct the steering constantly, the car seems to travel either to the left or right fairly easy.

If I look into my mirrors, when my eyes return to the road I have to correct the steering.

I must say with all my other cars it was never as obvious as this, except for my first car which was a 1955 Ford Customline which was 17 years old.

I’m just wondering if it could it be the geometry of the steering mechanism, although I know the condition of the tyres, wheel balance, alignment, air pressure are all ok.

What are your thoughts on this?

Craig P

A: I have noticed the same thing in some test cars. I reckon it’s down to the super-light power steering, and relatively sensitive settings, used today.

My only suggestion is to reduce the tyre pressures as much as possible, to put more feel and resistance into the system.

Q: What’s your opinion on the BMW GT?

I am looking for something a little different with a brand and will give my wife my newish Honda CRV.

I’m looking to get a used one with low kilometres.

I can see a few 5 Series diesels and one 6 Series, but that’s it.

Have not see the 3 Series, although I know they stopped making it in 2018.


A: BMW’s GT package idea has not worked in Australia so there are few cars about. The 5 Series is my pick and gives a very practical rear end with the hatchback tail.

Q: We wish to put a kayak on top of our Mazda3 sedan 2014 and don’t know what brand of pack rack to get or a good place to have it installed.

I hope you can help me.

Anne B

A: From my personal experience, I would recommend the Thule brand. You should be able to find a seller/installer close to you through the web.

If you have a question for the Car Doctor, send an email to [email protected]

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