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    How do I get my 2008 Holden Captiva to burn off the Diesel Particulate Filter?

    Answered by CarsGuide · 23 Aug 2021

    Regardless of whether you use an additive, a car’s Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) will still need to be cleaned (or regenerated) periodically as soot builds up in it. Short trips where the engine doesn’t get a chance to warm up properly, as well as extended periods of idling in traffic and stop-start running will all hasten this requirement.

    In the case of the Captiva diesel, the best way to manually force a regeneration is to put aside an hour and go for a decent drive. The advice from Holden in the day was to travel at more than 50km/h and at more than 2000rpm (which may mean locking the car out of overdrive) for a minimum of 25 minutes. During this process, you should not allow the speed or revs to fall below those two figures which suggests finding a decent strip of freeway to carry out this process. You should also not turn off the engine at any point in this procedure. The broad idea is to get the engine and exhaust hot enough for the filter to regenerate and clean itself.

    If, after 100km of this type of treatment, the DPF light on the dashboard hasn’t disappeared, the solution is a trip to a workshop to have the filter investigated and, potentially, hand-cleaned. Experience suggests a couple of attempts may be needed to get this to happen as it should, and in fact, the car’s computer will give you several chances to produce the desired effect before the workshop beckons.

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    Red warning with 'D' symbol in my 2018 Suzuki Ignis?

    Answered by CarsGuide · 22 Aug 2021

    I’ve trawled lists of Suzuki warning lights and their meanings, but I can’t find one that approximates a red D in a rectangle. The closest I could get to was a warning that the rear fog-light was on (the lamp signal can look vaguely like a `D’) but to have an audible alarm as well is very strange.

    An ABS fault-light usually (in a Suzuki) features the letter A, B and S, so I’m not sure how the dealership arrived at the conclusion that the ABS system was at fault. Have you had the car electronically scanned? That can often throw light on what’s going wrong, even on an intermittent basis.

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    What is the Gross Vehicle Mass of the 2013 Volkswagen Touareg?

    Answered by CarsGuide · 22 Aug 2021

    The Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) of your vehicle is 2890kg. That is, the total mass of the vehicle and its payload (including passengers) must not exceed this figure. The Gross Combination Mass (GCM) is the absolute weight limit for the vehicle, it’s payload and whatever it’s towing.

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    What's the better buy, Pajero Sport Exceed or Toyota Fortuner Crusade?

    Answered by CarsGuide · 21 Aug 2021

    These two vehicles share a lot of traits both in terms of their engineering and their target market. Both are aimed at the high-end of the mid-sized off-road station-wagon market and both do a pretty good job of offering lots of off-road ability along with the sort of luxury and convenience that many families want. In the case of design and engineering they are both based on utilities (the Mitsubishi Triton and Toyota HiLux respectively) and share the drivelines and front structure with those utes. To make them work as passenger rather than load-carrying vehicles, both the Pajero Sport and Fortuner do away with the utilities’ leaf-sprung rear axle and replace it a coil-sprung unit for greatly enhanced comfort.

    Both vehicles have had their niggling reliability problems, mainly to do with DPF and some EGR problems, but overall, they’re both now old enough for the majority of the bugs to have been ironed out. Perhaps the biggest packaging difference is that the Pajero Sport is a good deal narrower across the cabin than the Toyota, and that matters for families with bigger kids. Both vehicles were facelifted late last year with new tech and mechanical and performance improvements. Both also have seven seats as standard.

    The Mitsubishi is about $4000 cheaper based on RRP than the Toyota, but the final price can vary from dealer to dealer and what state you live in. The best advice is to try each one on for size and maybe even throw in contenders like the Ford Everest as a direct comparison.

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    Would finding parts or repairs be an issue with a 2014 Holden Commodore?

    Answered by CarsGuide · 18 Aug 2021

    The biggest potential repair cost for this make and model would probably be the replacement of the engine’s timing chains. These were of poor design and quality from the start and many Commodore V6s of this era have suffered stretched chains which require replacement. It’s not a cheap job, either, and you should budget for at least a couple of thousand dollars. While the vehicle in question has covered low kilometres, the health or otherwise of its timing chains will be down to how well it’s been serviced over the years. Any skipped servicing makes it a ticking time bomb in this regard. But even well maintained vehicles have experienced the same problem.

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    What is causing my 2013 Ford Ranger to shudder when it downshifts?

    Answered by CarsGuide · 17 Aug 2021

    There have been plenty of complaints over this transmission, and a lot of them have been traced back to the valve body separator plate which, from the sound of things, has been replaced on your vehicle. However, was it replaced with a new part or a second-hand one sourced from another vehicle? Was the work done by a Ford dealership or a transmission specialist or a general workshop?

    It’s not so likely to be the wiring that’s at fault. Wiring tends to either conduct electricity or it doesn’t. But that doesn’t mean the computer that controls the transmission wasn’t damaged when the loom was burned. Fundamentally, the symptoms you’re experiencing could be from any (or all of) the causes you’ve suggested. Valve bodies, torque converters, electronic control units and gearbox internals all have to be working in perfect harmony in a modern automatic transmission. One little problem with any of those systems can cause all sorts of shifting problems. I’d take the vehicle to a transmission specialist who will be able to – hopefully – diagnose the exact cause of the harsh downshifts and do something about it.

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    Why won't my LDV T60's display screen work?

    Answered by CarsGuide · 16 Aug 2021

    Problems with the electronics appear to be the biggest source of grief for LDV owners. Many complain that the vehicle’s on-board infotainment system appears to be fundamentally incompatible with Android phones and that the Bluetooth function generally just doesn’t work as it should. Many LDVs also seem to have developed the annoying habit of ratcheting their stereo’s volume to full every time the car is started. The blind-spot warning system seems prone to offering false alarms and the reverse camera has been widely panned for it’s low-resolution image. About the only way to fix these issues is to replace the factory system with an aftermarket head unit…not what you’d expect from a modern vehicle.

    Of course, given that the LDV T60 was launched in late 2017 with a five-year warranty, the oldest of them can now only be coming up for their fourth birthday. Which means that provided the vehicle has been serviced correctly and you haven’t driven it more than 130,000km, you’re covered by that warranty. Which seems to us, that it’s LDV’s problem to sort something out by either fixing the standard infotainment system or sourcing and fitting an aftermarket one that actually works. Contact LDV’s Australian customer service department and make sure your complaint is logged on the factory system.

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    What do I do if a dealer gives me and incorrect quote?

    Answered by CarsGuide · 15 Aug 2021

    This is one of the problems with the way the prices of band-new vehicles are haggled over. Had there been just a simple checkout price (as there is with nearly everything else we buy) this confusion probably wouldn’t have crept in. I take that, having asked for the tray upgrade, you then paid attention only to the final price being offered by the dealer.

    Regardless of whether the dealer is trying to stall you with talk of a two month wait is a side issue. And perhaps you can hold out and force the dealer to supply the vehicle as per your contract of sale. Then again, if the mistake was a genuine one by a member of the sales staff (who could conceivably lose their job over such a blunder) then what’s the moral solution? Perhaps there’s a compromise to be made by both parties. I can understand you not wanting to pay an extra $7000 for a different type of tray, but surely that’s not the best result for anybody. In an ideal world, perhaps one solution would be for the dealer to provide the tray at their cost price (so they don’t lose money on the deal) and you get a cheap(er) tray because you’re not paying retail. Yes, it’s complicated. But that’s what happens when commerce meets karma.


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    Which popular mid to large SUV is best for a family?

    Answered by CarsGuide · 14 Aug 2021

    This is a really interesting question, because most car-makers tend to quote their products’ luggage capacity in litres, rather than a set of dimensions in each direction. Even then, it’s not that simple as there are different methods fort calculating the cubic capacity of a load space, and the two methods are not readily comparable. It’s also a bit of a con-job, because a figure in litres mean very little to most people, while actual measurements in centimetres would be much more relatable.

    In any case, since you obviously have two kids with cellos and school-bags, it’s clear that you’ll also need the rear seat for at least one passenger, so you need to find a vehicle that either has enough space in the rear with the first two rows of seats in place, or a car that has a split-fold rear seat to allow longer loads (like a cello or two) to pass from the luggage area into the rear seat space. The good news there is that many (if not all) SUVs do, in fact, have this split-fold seat, and that will surely accommodate even a full-sized cello which, after a bit of scratching around, I discovered is about 121cm long.

    If, however, you need to occupy the whole rear seat with passengers, then you need to find an SUV that is wide enough to accept the cellos loaded across (or diagonally across) the car. That won’t be easy, because most vehicles just aren’t that wide inside. Even a conventional full-sized car-based Holden or Ford utility (which aren’t being made any longer) is only about 1400mm wide. And if you check out something like a Hyundai Santa Fe, it’s load area with the third row is feats down is just 1080mm at its narrowest point. Even the huge Hyundai Palisade is just 1111mm across the narrowest point of its load area. There will be areas where the space is wider, but that narrowest point is usually between the rear wheel-arches.

    I’ll also take a punt and suggest that the cellos in question are either in carry-bags or even hard-cases which would add even more to their length. So you might find it very difficult to find anything that will accommodate a 1.2 or 1.3 metre cello lengthways in the luggage area without resorting to folding down half the second-row seat. Even a big car like a Volvo XC90 has just 1220mm of load length with the rear seat in place, and mid-sized station-wagons typically have less than a metre between the tailgate and the rear seat. The best idea might be to make a short-list of cars you’d be happy with and then visit the relevant showrooms with a tape measure (or even a cello) in your hand.

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    Are self-leveling shocks worth it?

    Answered by CarsGuide · 13 Aug 2021

    This has been an ongoing problem for car owners for decades now. Car-makers often decide to fit self-levelling rear suspension in cars like station-wagons as it ensures the car doesn’t sit nose-up when it’s carrying a big load. But as you’ve discovered, replacing those adjustable shock absorbers can be a huge pain in the wallet. And, like tyres and brake pads, shock absorbers are often regarded as wear-and-tear items and therefore aren’t covered by a factory warranty. Certainly not a year out from the expiration of that warranty. That said, I agree with you that 55,000km is not the expected lifespan of a modern damper. 

    In the past, the solution has been to fit conventional dampers in place of the adjustable ones and live with the loss of the self-levelling function (which most owners manage to cope with). The Mondeo is a much more popular model in Europe than it ever was in Australia, so shopping online in, say, the UK might turn up a set of replacement shocks for a lot less than the extortionate figure you’ve been quoted. Provided you deal with established, reputable online companies, you should have no problems. But if conventional (non-adjustable) dampers are available from a Mondeo without the self-levelling suspension, that would probably be the smart way to go to avoid being in the same boat in another 55,000km.

    I’m not sure why you’d need to change the rear springs as well as moving to conventional dampers (not that I’m doubting your research) but even if that was the case, a set of springs is a one-off purchase and shouldn’t cost much. The best bet would be to visit a suspension specialist and have the car measured up to see what dampers will fit and do the job. There’s bound to be something out there from another make or model that will physically fit and provide the damping performance the car requires. Self-levelling suspension is a nice touch, but it’s not an absolute necessity on a car like a Mondeo wagon.

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