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Mazda BT-50 2013:

Our Mazda BT-50 is four-and-a-half years old. It has done 98,000kms. The transmission failed due to the cooler on the side of the transmission failing, and the transmission fluid is in the radiator, and radiator fluid is in the transmission. This appears to be a reasonably common fault in Rangers and BT-50. What we would like to know, is what is the normal life expectancy of this transmission. We are going through insurance, and they will only pay part of the cost of a replacement, which is very costly. Should the dealer be prepared to pay the balance?

This is, indeed, a known problem with Ford (and other) automatic transmissions. The layout of your transmission uses the engine’s coolant to cool the transmission by running a transmission fluid line through the radiator. And yes, when that line fails, the coolant mixes with the transmission fluid. That leads the transmission to fail mechanically (the coolant doesn’t lubricate the transmission) as well as the coolant destroying the transmission’s computer.

By insurance, I take it that you took out an extended mechanical insurance policy when you bought the car, because general car insurance won’t cover mechanical failures such as this. Given the get-out clauses with which some of these policies are riddled, I’m not surprised that you aren’t covered for the full cost of the repair.

Mazda increased its factory warranty to five years/unlimited kilometres in August 2018, but when your car was new, it was covered for only three years. I’d still be giving my Mazda dealer a call, though, as you might find the relatively low kilometres you’ve covered might convince them to make a pro-rata offer for part of the repair costs. I wouldn’t hold my breath, but it’s got to be worth a try. And, no, I don’t consider 98,000km to be a reasonable distance for a modern transmission to fail.