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Readers Q&A

Compare engine sounds

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Q1: My 2011 Proton Inspira 1.8E A/T has clocked 63,000km so far. Even when it was new, the engine emitted a constant ticking or tapping noise when accelerating from standstill or when moving slowly uphill. This only happens if the engine is kept under load, i.e. accelerating or going up hill and running at around 1,500rpm. Any faster or slower the noise goes away. Initially I was worried that it may be from the CVT transmission and I have complained about the issue to many Proton service centres during every scheduled service but have been told that it may be…

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Perform a simple test

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Q1: I recently got a new Honda Civic Hybrid. The first time I drove the car, I realised the car was pulling to the left when driving on a straight road, which slants slightly to left, ie road crown. If the road slopes to the right, the car will pull to right. Occasionally if I’m able to drive on a level road, the car seems to go straight without pulling to the sides. I had the car checked twice and the service centre adjusted the alignment twice. My questions are: > Is this normal for car to behave like this,…

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Look at idle speed controller and mountings

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Q1: My 2013 Kia Optima K5 has clocked about 13,000km so far. About two weeks ago, I started to notice a faint noise (tak-tak-tak) coming from the engine bay when the engine is idling. When I opened the bonnet, the engine was vibrating a wee bit excessively than I had expected when I first saw the car in the showroom. I was planning to bring my car to the nearest service centre for a check-up but I wish to know what could spark this problem. If you can tell me what the possible causes are, then I can direct the…

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A possible mechanical fault

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Q1: I am the second owner of a 2009 Ford Focus 2.0 petrol car. The mileage is only 38,000km. Recently, the dashboard indicator showed a “transmission malfunction”. A change of transmission oil and battery didn’t help. The diagnostic computer indicate a "P7034 problem". What should I do to get the car back on the road and how much will it cost? Disappointed Lee Ipoh The error code means gear 4 incorrect ratio. This could be a mechanical problem with the gears or an electrical flaw in the speed sensors or control unit . Your transmission must be diagnosed properly to…

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Reasons for heavy steering

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Q1: My Hyundai Sonata 2.4 steering feels heavy despite changing a noisy pump to a new one and repairing a leaking rack. What else can be done? KMD Kuala Lumpur Have you check the condition of your power steering hose? Generally in a newer car, it contributes to the performance of the steering system. The heavy steering feel could be caused by one or more of the following situations: wrong tyre pressure; wheel misalignment; or tyre size is too big and wide Get a qualified technician to check the aforementioned items to resolve the problem. Q2: My 1987 NA Mazda…

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Replacement absorbers may be faulty

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Q1: I drive an old Proton Saga Aeroback. The rear absorbers are still causing problem despite changing them. I also need to know where to get replacement doors as mine are badly rusted. The rear absorbers cause a bumping sound when the car is driven across a hump or into shallow portholes. I have changed the absorbers and the spring set but the problem persisted. Irene Tan Kulim The suspension system is normally a combination of springs and shock absorbers so if either is defective, you may experience bumps. Normally, the shock absorber will bounce once only if you push…

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Between hot judder and cold judder

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Q1: I have a 2009 Toyota Camry. Recently, I felt the steering wheel vibrating every time I brake at a speed of, say 120kph-130kph. It occurs only when I brake at high speeds. At every service, I always have alignment and balancing done. What is causing the steering wheel vibration and is it dangerous? Lee Kajang This is what we called “brake juddering”. This happens because of thermal expansion or the wearing out of your brake disc is not even. That’s why when you brake, it vibrates. Sometimes, the cause is the brake pad material and sometimes a hard object…

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Start with changing ATF

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Q1: I own a 2004 Toyota Unser. When the vehicle slows down, it jerks. The brakes are all right and the Unser looks to be fine at cruising speeds. But I have noticed a humming sound. Is it gearbox problem? Unser Owner Kuala Lumpur For a manual gearbox, the most probable cause of jerking is your clutch disc is worn out. For an automatic gearbox, it could have trouble downshifting or upshifting. This can be remedied initially by flushing the automatic transmission fluid (ATF) and to observe for any changes. Other possible causes are bent or loose linkages in the…

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Stay clean to keep rats away

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Q1: I would like know how to prevent rats from getting into a car’s engine compartment and biting the electrical wires. Please don’t tell me to keep a cat tied to my car. Always keep the surroundings of your garage clean, especially if there is a drainage beside your garage. Make sure that it is cleaned often of food remains that serve to draw rodents to your car. If you do own a cat, keep it away from your car as most cats love to sleep and store food in the engine compartment, which incidentally can attract rats and mice.…

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Inspect the suspension

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Q1: I have a 2011 Perodua Myvi 1.3 EZi, which has clocked slightly over 20,000km. Since about 15,000km or so, the car has developed squeaky/abrasion noises from the front absorbers (or around the region) when going over high speed bumps. The sound resembles a rubber brushing again each other (or something) and it is audible when the car is ascending to the top position of the speed bump and descending immediately. The technicians at the service centre were unable to fix the problem. Nothing has been replaced yet but the last thing they did was body fitting (not sure what…

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