17 November 2023

Ask the expert

| Paul Gover
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Hyundai Tucson

Do you have a motoring problem? Time to ask the expert. Photo: James Coleman.

Q: Wondering if you can shed some light on my 2021 Mazda CX-5 Akera turbo’s oil issue. I have had the car since new and have had trouble with the oil light coming on between services and when I check the oil dipstick, it shows it is low to nothing. When I have taken it for its regular service the dealer says it’s not a problem and to not fill it up with oil as there is oil there because it’s a turbo and to take it to them next time it happens.

Well, it happened again and it was over a long weekend and I was unable to take it but was worried about driving the car and it doing more damage if there wasn’t enough oil, so I added some oil. I took photos of the dipstick and how much oil I added. They are still adamant that I don’t need to add oil as there would be too much oil. I don’t understand why, if it’s not an issue, why the light coming up on my dashboard and no oil showing on the dipstick.

Jessica Potter

A: What a load of complete rubbish. Of course you should check the oil. And top it up. Make sure you do it when the engine is relatively warm, but after stopping for a couple of minutes, to get a correct ‘read’ on the dipstick. Also ensure you use exactly the same oil used for the annual service, and never over-fill it. All engines will use oil to some degree, and some carmakers say one litre/1000 kilometres is ‘normal’. Changing dealership might also be a good idea.

Q: My partner and I are considering purchasing a Mercedes A250 Sedan, either a 2023 demo model at approximately $70,000 or 2022 used model at approximately $60,000 with 25,000 kilometres. Just wondering what your thoughts are on these vehicles and should I be concerned about the run-flat tyres?

Richard Pietrykowski

A: The A250 is a nice little car, ticks all the right boxes for compact luxury. But run-flats will mean road noise and, given the state of Australian roads, plenty of potential for pothole damage to the tyres and rims. If you like the A-Class it’s a good car and should be fine, but best to have your eyes open on the run-flat situation.

Q: I seek your guidance or advice as I have had since June 2023 the Nissan X-Trail e-Power on order. Initially told October 2023, then January 2024 and now July 2024 delivery due to the shortage of the 20-inch rims. I am getting frustrated. I cannot think of another car with similar specs, features and premium look and feel as an alternate. However, what is your view on: Mazda CX60 hybrid, Cupra Formentor hybrid or Honda CR-V hybrid?

Siradore El-Asmar

A: Just wait. The e-Power X-Trail is very good. Better than your other contenders, which is why – like all the popular family SUVs – there is a delay in getting cars to owners.

Q: My daughter has a 2014 Jeep Patriot Black Hawk edition It’s done 200,000 kilometres and the gearbox just stopped working, you can put it in either Drive or Reverse and it won’t move, I took it to my mechanic, and he asked his transmission specialist and he told him he has rebuilt heaps of them as apparently the gearboxes are rubbish.

My local Jeep dealer tells me he’s never heard of problems with Jeep gearboxes and a new gearbox from America is about $4300 but there’s no stock available. To rebuild is going to cost my daughter about $5000. If Jeep knows there’s a problem, shouldn’t they contribute to the repairs?

Nick Dellios

A: The car is vastly out of warranty, on time and distance, so your chance of help is not good. Bad things happen sometimes and you can always find a horror story somewhere on the internet, or someone who will tell you it’s a common fault. The only possibility will be to contact Stellantis and Jeep Australia and ask for a ‘loyalty contribution’, which would offset some of the cost of parts.

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Q: I love cars, always been a Holden person, but my wife and l must update to our maybe forever car as we are both in our late 60s. Not having a fortune, I was looking at a Toyota RAV4 hybrid Cruiser, because l love the fuel economy about this vehicle and everything else, also that long standing Toyota brand. But for $60,000-plus, I was wondering if you can recommend a vehicle – probably SUV type – that is economical and trust for the long term and maybe cheaper? Not all that keen to buy Chinese as l don’t trust them for long term.

Rob Sheridan

A: Go for the Corolla Sport Hybrid. It’s effectively the same size as the original RAV4, so should be fine for you, with all the strengths of the car you crave. It will also save you plenty. But don’t expect an early arrival, as the backlog for all Toyota hybrids is huge.

Q: I’d love your opinion please on the Kia Carnival. We’d like more room to transport kids and for luggage space when travelling/doing road trips.

Janette Pepi

A: A brilliant choice. Far too many people think a seven-seater SUV is the best choice when the big Carnival van is perfect for big families and long trips. It gets The Tick from me.

Q: We currently have a Holden Colorado 7 and are looking at updating next year. We have $50,000 max to spend and are thinking of an Isuzu MU-X. But is there something better, like a Mitsubishi Pajero? I have 10 acres so want something I can still use in paddocks and to tow a caravan.

Josh Campbell

A: Feedback from owners says the Isuzu is great for towing and it definitely will do the workhorse stuff around the property. But wait until closer to the purchase cut-off as there are a bunch of new models coming in 2024.

Q: We are thinking of doing an engine rebuild for our 2010 BMW 320i. It has 180k on the clock and is burning a lot of oil. We like the model and, as we are elderly, would like to keep it for say another two years. BMW Mornington is offering a two year warranty on the rebuild which will help when we have to downsize due to our age. What are your thoughts?

Denise Zucchet

A: If you love the car, it’s always fine to spend the money. But, remember, it’s more than 10 years old and something newer will be much safer and probably just as enjoyable. You could save the money from the rebuild and put it towards a BMW that’s just as much fun but much younger.

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Q: I was wondering what your opinion of the 2023 Hyundai i30N Sedan DCT is? I will be replacing a Ford Escape ST Line AWD, which was/is a ‘lemon’ with $20,000 in warranty repairs. I don’t need an SUV, I’ve previously had a VW Polo GTI and Mazda 3 sedans. My only concern is the all-wheel drive, which I think is only because I have it now.

Tim Hill

A: The N cars from Hyundai are great fun and will be more enjoyable than the Escape. You might think you need all-wheel drive, but the i30 has a lovely balance with minimal steering tug under maximum acceleration. Most people cannot tell the difference between the two systems until they get into heavy rain or snow.

Q: I have ordered a Hyundai Tucson N Line but I am having second thoughts because of the service they give after you buy it. I really like the Audi Q5. Which one should I go for as I know there is a $40,000 difference, but I am happy to pay?

Amanda Jacobs

A: If you like the Q5, and money is not a problem, then go for it. But Hyundai gives great service.

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