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    What 4WD should I buy for towing?

    Answered by CarsGuide · 23 Jul 2021

    To get a vehicle with meaningful (as opposed to a theoretical) towing ability of 2.5 tonnes, you really need to shop for a relatively late-model dual-cab 4X4 ute. The reason for that is that many vehicles that claim a 2.5-tonne limit in the brochure fail to explain that there’s also a Gross Vehicle Combination Mass in play and, by the time you’ve added passengers, gear and a full tank of fuel to the towing vehicle, there might not be much of that GCM to devote to a towed load.

    Going for a vehicle with 3000kg or even 35000kg towing capacity in the first place is a good way to ensure you do accidentally start driving around in an overloaded vehicle with all the legal and insurance connotations that involves.

    A lot of the current shape dual-cab utes fall within your budget on a second-hand basis, but there are caveats. Make sure you only buy a ute with a full service history. Some of these vehicles were worked hard by their original owners, so be very careful before handing over the cash. Avoid ex-mine fleet vehicles and don’t be afraid to buy a base-model vehicle if it offers better value. Even a single-cab version of these utes will be a lot cheaper than the dual-cab and, if you don’t need the rear seat, are often a more practical solution. Makes and models include the Ford Ranger, Toyota HiLux, Mazda BT50, Mitsubishi Triton and Isuzu D-Max. For real value for money, vehicles like the Ssangyong Musso can tow 3.5 tonnes, are well equipped and can be had for less than $35,000 drive-away, brand-new. That also gets you a seven-year factory warranty. All of these options are available with the automatic transmission you want and, indeed, this is the best option for a tow vehicle.

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    Why is the gear stick in my 2015 Holden Colorado wobbly?

    Answered by CarsGuide · 22 Jul 2021

    You’re on the right track by asking about the gear-stick and its linkages; either of those two things is almost certain to be the cause of your problem. The gearstick itself needs to pivot in two planes, so there’s always scope for wear to develop in those joints and create the sloppy shift action you’re experiencing. In fact, because the shifter on your car bolts directly on to the gearbox – with no external linkages – wear in the shifter pivots is a very good bet as the cause.

    You can remove the shift lever, take it apart and replace the bushes that allow the shifter to move and select each gear. That should tighten up the shift action and give you much better feel for what’s going on. The other possibility is that the shifter has become loose where it bolts on to the gearbox, or the rubber gasket that sits between the shifter and the transmission has perished or failed, allowing movement to occur.

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    Why did my 2012 Holden Captiva lose power and go into neutral?

    Answered by CarsGuide · 8 Jul 2021

    Unfortunately, you’re right; this model Holden Captiva has a terrible reputation and failing transmission are right at the top of that list. Holden recognised the problem to an extent and extended the factory cover on the transmission to 150,000km or five years from the date the vehicle entered service. That was up from the three-year/100,000km standard warranty that your car was sold with. But since your car is a 2012 model and has likely been on the road for the last eight or nine years, that’s of very little use to you.

    I agree that a car with 64,000km should not need a new transmission and, if it does, the manufacturer should be helping out. But now that Holden as a brand is extinct, even finding somebody to talk to might be a battle. That said, Holden is legally required to stick around to take care of warranty claims, honour its scheduled servicing schemes, provide spare parts and service and attend to any safety recalls. That also means it still has a customer service division which you can reach by phoning 1800 46 465 336. It’s a long shot, but who knows.

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    Why doesn't the auto gear lever in my 2009 Holden Astra engage securely?

    Answered by CarsGuide · 8 Jul 2021

    The good news is that this probably isn’t an actual gearbox problem, but rather one with the mechanical linkages that select each gear or perhaps even the gear selector itself. If you can remove the centre console, you might be able to locate the offending (loose) fastener that is allowing the gear lever to flop about and not find its proper place.

    If, however, you mean that the vehicle doesn’t want to select Drive properly first thing in the morning and either won’t move or moves very slowly when you accelerate, then you could well be looking at a worn transmission. That said, the same problem can be caused by a transmission that is simply low on fluid, and a top up will put things right. So that’s the first step: Check the owner’s manual for the correct fluid-checking process and try that. If a top-up doesn’t fix it, it’s off to a mechanic. But beware – driving the car in that state could be doing extra damage to the transmission.

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    Why doesn't my Android connect via Bluetooth in my 2017 Isuzu D-Max?

    Answered by CarsGuide · 8 Jul 2021

    This topic has been a red-hot one for many years now. It seems a lot of car-makers can’t seem to get it right when it comes to specifying a Bluetooth system that will work for Australian customers. Toyota had all sorts of crazy issues with the Bluetooth in its vehicles of a few years ago, although recent experience suggests that is now sorted.

    I’ve not heard of the Isuzu D-Max as a problem child specifically, but it doesn’t surprise me to hear that you’re having difficulties. There’s a theory that some Bluetooth systems simply don’t play well with some makes and models of phones, and that could be what’s happening to you. A quick check would be to find a friend with an iPhone and see if that will work better in your car. That would at least rule out a blanket problem with the unit in your car.

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    What is the longevity of diesel-powered SUV and Passenger vehicles in Australia?

    Answered by CarsGuide · 8 Jul 2021

    Of all the technology you’re considering right now, the only one that sounds any real alarm bells is that of the double-clutch transmission. It’s not that Kia’s version of the DCT is worse than many others – nor is it the worst of the lot – but there have been complaints over the operation and lifespan of these units generally. Sometimes the fault is a software glitch, but in other DCTs – particularly the dry-clutch variety – the problems are mechanical and can lead to catastrophic failures.

    With that said, it’s also true that Kia in Australia offers a fantastic factory warranty, so you should have no worries for at least the first seven years. It’s also the case that Kia Australia takes its reputation very seriously and is one of the better companies when it comes to sorting out faults and problems with its products. We’re pretty big fans here at Carsguide of the current Toyota hybrid technology, and it’s looking like the new Kluger Hybrid will be just as popular as Toyota’s other hybrid offerings. Perhaps more so as the non-hybrid Kluger can be thirsty.

    As for the requirement for premium ULP, when you consider that the Kluger Hybrid will, around the city and suburbs where most of them will spend the vast majority of their lives, use about two thirds of the fuel of the V6 Kluger (maybe even a bit less than that) then the extra cost per litre is more than compensated for by the reduced cost per kilometre. And in case you were worried about Toyota’s hybrid tech, the new Kluger Hybrid comes with up to 10 years of warranty on the battery-pack provided the vehicle is serviced correctly and inspected once a year.

    The other thing you might consider is the next-size-down Toyota hybrid, the RAV4. This is quite a spacious vehicle these days and offers excellent fuel efficiency and driveability. It’s cheaper than the Kluger, too. Definitely worth a look. Overall, the broader view is that a petrol hybrid vehicle is more future-proof than a conventional turbo-diesel.

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    Why won't my 2002 Ford Fairmont lock?

    Answered by CarsGuide · 8 Jul 2021

    A faulty body computer is the most likely cause of this behaviour. It’s a common enough fault with this series of Ford Falcons and it often requires the body computer to be replaced as well as the ignition keys to be re-coded to the new computer. Unfortunately, it’s not a cheap fix, although you could try a second-hand computer from a wrecking yard. There’s every chance, though, that it could develop the same problem sometime in the future.

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    Is it normal for a 2018 Hyundai Kona to have a rusty muffler after three years?

    Answered by CarsGuide · 29 Jun 2021

    It’s a bit of a surprise to learn that a brand-new muffler lasted just two years before needing replacement, and that’s certainly not what most mechanics would consider normal. But it isn’t unheard of, either.

    One of the by-products of burning petrol is water. That explains the cloud-like water-vapour you see when a car is first started on a cold morning. Once the car is up to running temperature, however, that water is turned completely to steam and exits the tailpipe. But, if the vehicle is only ever used for short trips where the exhaust system never gets hot enough to evaporate all that water, then the water can sit inside the system (typically inside the muffler, and in a sometimes acidic environment) where it can cause rust to develop.

    This is a lot less common in modern cars with catalytic converters which cause the exhaust to run at a higher temperature and get there faster, but it can still happen – as you now know. The best fix is to fit a stainless-steel exhaust system which simply refuses to rust, but they’re expensive and I wouldn’t expect Hyundai to go to that expense for a warranty claim.

    So will it happen again in another two years? If the cause of the rusty muffler is as I’ve explained here, then there’s a very good chance it will happen again thanks to your car’s pattern of use. But if the problem was simply a bad batch of mufflers that weren’t rust-proofed correctly at the factory (and it happens) then a new muffler shouldn’t rot out so quickly. But it makes us wonder if Victoria’s extended COVID lockdown and the notorious five-kilometre-radius-from-home rule may have forced drivers into lots of short trips for months on end. Perhaps you’re seeing the start of a trend here.

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    Does a 2011 Nissan Navara Turbo have a timing belt or chain warning light?

    Answered by CarsGuide · 29 Jun 2021

    No. While the D40 Navara did have warning lights for things like contaminated diesel fuel and a warning light for the Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) the Navara didn’t stretch to a light to warn that maintenance to the camshaft timing system was due. That’s mainly because the Navara’s four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine used a timing chain rather than a rubber timing belt, and the chain should have been good for the life of the engine.

    Experience has shown, however, that the YD25 engines that used a single-row primary timing chain did, indeed, experience premature chain wear and failure in some cases. And this is probably at the root of your question. The trade now recommends that these chains be changed before the 80,000km mark, with inspections every 40,000km to make sure nothing is wearing out too fast. The aftermarket has developed a double-row replacement timing chain for these engines, so any replacement of the chain should take this into account.

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    What type of engine oil is needed for a Ford Mondeo 2017 diesel?

    Answered by CarsGuide · 29 Jun 2021

    For a start, diesel engines need a specific type of oil which often has a higher detergent content to keep the insides of the engine free of the soot for which diesel engines are notorious. The second thing to consider is what viscosity or grade of oil you need. Most oil manufacturers have a strict recommendation for the turbo-diesel in your Mondeo, and that’s a 0W30 oil. Straying from this viscosity could be asking for trouble as that’s the oil the engine was designed to use.

    And don’t be tempted by a cheap, supermarket-branded oil. Always buy an established brand. If in doubt, consult your owner’s manual for more information.

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