READER QUESTIONS: Why can’t I get my airbag replaced fast?
IN YOUR review of the Holden Equinox you said you would like paddle-shifters. Can I ask why? I have a VF LS3 Commodore ute that has them and have never used them. I wonder whether I am missing out on something.
Glenn Rodda, email
Paddle-shifters allow you to drive an automatic like a manual, for greater control. That's great to anticipate for overtaking, or get extra slowing on a twisty downhill, or just to have a bit of fun by driving yourself.
Last December I received a recall notice from Subaru in Sydney regarding faulty airbags on my 2012 Subaru Liberty. It has been reported that, when activated, the airbags may explode with flying metal particles. I mailed the completed form to Subaru within 24 hours but the problem is that I cannot have the airbags modified by my local dealer, Subaru Doncaster, until mid-April. Meanwhile I have to drive a car that could cause the driver serious injury should the airbags be deployed.
Lance Sterling, email
You are not alone, as the airbag recall is the biggest in Australian history and involves a huge number of makes and models. But the danger from faulty Takata airbags is minimal and some brands are doing like-for-like replacements to start, since they are considered stable for more than five years, before getting a permanent fix. The good news is that you're now a priority customer at Subaru and will have your airbag changed next week.
MORE WILL BE WORTH LESS
I was due to pick up a new vehicle from a car dealership, not Holden. But the dealership told me the trade-in value had dropped, since only four days before when agreeing on an amount, as the Holden Cruze I own is now on the recall list for Takata airbag faults. Having only had Holden vehicles since I started driving over 32 years ago, I find Holden does not offer a vehicle that would suit my needs now, this has been a disappointment for me and I can't afford the difference in price. Can I take action against Holden for the inconvenience of losing my chance for the new vehicle at the price settled?
Jonathon Rixon, email
If your car is worth less as a trade-in, then so are many hundreds of thousands of others. That's unlikely. It's not Holden's fault and the situation is more likely to be the dealership looking for a sweeter deal. Ask the dealer (or Holden) how much the car is worth after the recall work.
SPORTAGE A SAFE BET
I'm looking at the Mitsubishi ASX but, after reading reviews on it, I'm not sure. What I want must have an automatic tailgate and auto memory seat if possible, as I'm short and husband is tall. About $40,000, perhaps a Kia?
Dianne Wasiak, email
Most SUVs in your price range will have an electric tailgate and seats, just move up the range to find the right gear for your taste and budget. The Kia Sportage gets The Tick. The Mitsubishi is good value but off the pace against its SUV rivals.
Re learning to drive in an auto. In Victoria if you are tested in an automatic car you are only restricted to autos during the probationary period. Once that is over you can drive a manual transmission if you want. There are many well-meaning parents who falsely believe the auto restriction is for life. They would do better to listen to their kids about which transmission they wish to learn.
John. Mooyman, email
Big thanks for that as it's an important point - and it's something for people in other states to investigate when they look at their learner plan.
PLUG AND LEAVE
I'm wondering if it's OK to leave my car garaged and unused for five weeks. Is there anything I should be concerned about? The battery is about a year old.
Maureen Blackman, email
Make sure that the tyres are properly inflated, fill the tank to prevent petrol fumes building up and to protect the battery I'd suggest a CTEK charger-conditioner, as used by top-end brands including Ferrari. You plug it in, attach to the car and leave it.
When does the new Mazda turbo hit our shores and what models will be available?
Graham Smith, email
The turbo, with 175kW/400Nm to satisfy keen drivers, is confirmed for the Mazda6 in the second half of this year. It's the one already in the CX-9.
Re daytime running lights, you can't compare the modern-day banks of laser-bright LEDs with what Volvo used in the 1970s, which were parking lights. When you think about it, every car, even my classic 1957 Ford Customline, has DRLs if you drive them with their parking lights on.
Phil Minns, email
Times change and headlight technology has advanced rapidly in recent years. There is zero chance of DRLs going away and they have a proven safety record.