Ask Smithy

My 1998 Volkswagen Passat has a problem with the ABS and oil lights coming on, usually when I start the car, and then it beeps three times. This continues to happen as I drive, and it will often beep three times when I hit around 80 km/h. I've taken it to so many mechanics and auto electricians, but no one has been able to figure out what the problem is. I don't want to take...Read more
I'm having trouble getting my 1995 Ford Festiva into 1st and 2nd. If I turn the ignition off it goes into gear fine. I bought the car in 2014, and it had apparently just had clutch done. What do you think could be wrong with it?Read more
While stopped in our 2011 Proton Gen 2 at traffic lights we heard a slight noise, and then we went to go we couldn't get gears. We left car parked for a couple of hours, after which gears where fine for a bit but we lost the gears again. There was plenty of fluid when we checked, we bled the clutch and there was plenty of flow and no blockage. What else can we do?Read more
During the 45,000 km service on my E3 Clubsport R8 brake fluid leaked over the calipers, as well the reservoir cap was left off allowing fluid to splash into the engine bay. It is back at dealer to have the calipers repainted. They want to put a sticker on the calipers and clear coat over them, as the original process can't be done locally. I intend to keep the car long term and want it...Read more
Because of a disability I can only handle a column change. Does Ford or any carmaker have a column shift?Read more
My 2014 Holden Calais V V8 has got an acoustic rhythmic rumble when cruising at constant throttle between 1000-1250 rpm. It's been at a Holden service centre for over two months and they have replaced the tailshaft, auto transmission, and engine/suspension and exhaust mounts with little change to the rumble. They have also put on different wheels/tyres and exhaust from another Calais. Holden concluded that: "it's a known characteristic with AFM engines" and nothing else...Read more
I am thinking of buying a new VW Golf Mark 7 , a Highline 103TSI Auto. As I am retired it will probably be my last car and I have concerns about the long term-reliability with DSG etc. I'm also looking at a Mazda3 GT , Audi A3 ambition 1.8 TFSI , Benz A200 and A250 .Read more
I notice most cars have adopted the "gasping groper" — of the fish kind — frontal treatment. Is this styling fashion, follow-the-leader, or a genuine need for a considerable flow of fresh air into the engine bay for copious cooling of the engine and gearbox? For the most part, I think it does little as a fashion statement and often quite the reverse.Read more
Do you know when or if a new Toyota Yaris sedan might appear, as Toyota dealers don't seem to know? Unfortunately the light sedan is an unloved class these days and the replacement SUVs can't fit four people and their luggage. I am also suspicious that their large frontal area will mean a poor drag coefficient and their big wheels a high rolling resistance leading to poor economy compared with a light sedan. I am...Read more