27 September 2023

Ask the Doctor

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By Paul Gover.

Q: I own a 2007 Toyota Aurion that has travelled about 110,00 kilometres and has started blowing blue smoke on start-ups.

The smoke only appears after long runs in the car and there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with the engine’s performance, although it does use a fair bit of oil.

I have heard of this model Aurion having problems with rocker cover oil baffles blocking up with old oil.

Robert W

A: Blue smoke on start-up is almost always caused by oil finding its way into the combustion chambers, usually through the valve region, and that would explain the oil consumption. That’s not a high mileage for an Aurion but you need to get a professional investigation before things get worse.

Q: My daughter’s car, a 2018 Hyundai Accent, has two bubble-like spots on the roof in the paintwork.

She raised this with the dealer in early 2021, forwarding photos, and they said bird droppings was the cause.

Re-addressed this again in May with the service centre, and still bird droppings.

Then made contact with customer care without success.

We have had new cars over the years and paintwork has never been an issue like this – advice as to the next step would be appreciated.

Noelene P

A: Bird droppings are extremely toxic and if not caught early can cause small spots of damage. You can ask Customer Service at Hyundai HQ for a field service representative to look at the car but it’s very hard to prove that there is no external factor causing the problem.

Q: I’m looking for a car for my mother, who is 80 years old, since my father is losing his license in July due to Alzheimer’s disease.
They currently have a Subaru 2005 that needs to go but they need a boot space big enough for their Labrador dog.

They also have a trailer to collect firewood, however a tow bar option is not essential.
What new or second-hand car do you suggest for them under $30,000?

They live in Queenscliff, Victoria and drive to Geelong once a week and to Melbourne once a month for doctor’s appointments and family.

Jenni D

A: If your mother is happy with driving the Subaru, I’d suggest updating to a newer-generation Subaru. There are three potentials: the XV, Forester and Outback. We’d suggest the Forester is the sweet spot given you’re after room for the dog and the potential to tow, and 2016-2017 models should be in the price range. The Forester has a great reputation and many attributes that make them popular with older drivers including a decent suite of driver safety aids and good seat height for easy access.

Q: My mum’s car has broken down and she needs to purchase a new one in the $20-22,000 range.

She’s in her late 70s and my father is in his 80s so both need to be able to get in and out of it easily.

I want it to have the best safety features for her own safety and for my nephew who she is often transporting to different venues.

She likes to visit the nursery to buy plants, potting mix etc, so the boot needs to be easy for her to lift things in and out.

I know you have often recommended the Kia Sportage and she had been keen on that but her local mechanic told her that they were no good and to go for a Japanese car.

She looked at a Mazda CX-3 but found it a bit cramped and not enough head space..

Vikki P

A: If the CX-3 is too small then she should be looking in the Sportage class. So the choice comes down to a Subaru Forester or a Sportage. She should drive both to see which one she likes, and which gives her the best value and safety. And your mechanic is badly wrong about South Korean cars, which now have excellent quality and reliability.

Q: I currently drive a 2013 Ford Ranger XLT and I’m considering buying a Ford Everest bi-turbo next year.

Do you recommend this car or are there any other options l should look at, as it needs to tow a 3-tonne caravan?

Anthony G

A: The Everest will do the job, but you need to test drive it against the all-new Isuzu MU-X which is coming soon. Also remember that Ford will renew the Ranger in the first quarter of next year, so there will be an all-new Everest before the end of 2022. If that’s too much waiting, the current Everest is fine for your needs and will be considerably better equipped – particularly on the safety front – than your eight-year-old Ranger.

Q: My wife is scheduled for a new company car in three months time and will be replacing a Hyundai Sonata Active which has been absolutely amazing considering it’s the introductory model to the Sonata range.

They are now offering staff the option of the introductory-level Tucson which looks very nice but I’m torn between it and the new model Sonata.

Do you think it’s time we chose the Tucson over the Sonata?

There are only the two of us, and I realise this is a ‘First World Problem’, but maybe I need to consider the Tucson for a change regardless.

Mal S

A: It’s good to hear someone considering a new car and not heading automatically to an SUV. But you need to test drive the two types, back-to-back, to make an informed decision. The new Sonata is as good as you would expect but the Tucson could spring a surprise after a total update this year.

Q: My wife and I are in the market for a new vehicle and have around $40,000 to spend.

We are currently driving a 2005 Subaru Forester, purchased as new and a fantastic vehicle, which I will be keeping it as my run-around and Golf car.
We have had a test drive of a Kia Seltos and loved it.
We are also interested in the Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tucson, and perhaps the Mazda CX-5.
I was just wondering, your thoughts, recommendations please.

Malcolm W

A: If you like the Seltos and it meets your needs, then go for it and save yourself plenty of money. The new Sportage and Tucson are both great, and effectively twins, while the CX-5 is a default choice for lots of people. But the Seltos is surprisingly good and excellent value.

Q: Many years ago I took your advice and bought a Toyota Aurion, and I’ve now had three Aurions and Camrys over the last 15 years.

But my needs have somewhat changed and I am thinking of buying an all-wheel drive SUV as I need off-road capability.

I have a property that is about 110 kilometres from where I live and, at the back of the property, there is a steep descend and steep ascend so an AWD would come in handy for the odd time I go there to collect firewood.

Also, I need something that is economical as I may travel interstate to go and explore our beautiful country with my wife.

I have three young grandchildren that I wish to spend time with, so carting them around and sight-seeing.

What are your thoughts on the new Toyota Kluger Hybrid? Or can you suggest what other options I should look at?

Servicing costs are very important too.

Sam S

A: There are cheaper choices than the Kluger, although the hybrid will save money over time if you’re mainly doing short suburban runs. Once you’re out of the suburbs it is effectively a petrol-powered SUV, so for that job you can save money and get a good result with a Hyundai Tucson. It also has a great warranty and capped-price servicing.

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

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