How long should my brake pads and rotors last?
My wife's Mercedes GLA 250 has just had its front pads and rotors replaced at 40,000km. The dealer service manager says this is normal but I find it unacceptable. The pads were just about worn back to metal and rotors worn beyond tolerances.
Anthony Butt, email
Brake pad wear after this distance isn't uncommon, but the rotors should last longer. Matthew Pasiopoulos from Mercedes Australia says: "It's difficult to give an accurate lifespan for pads and rotors as driving conditions and speeds can vary so much. Our dealers will always make an assessment on replacement using safety as the prime reference point." If you're unhappy with the lifespan of the Benz brakes you could try some good quality aftermarket items, perhaps harder compound. Heavy braking and downhill braking are obvious causes. Avoid resting a foot on the brake pedal when driving, even lightly, as this can contribute.
I have a 2002 Nissan Maxima, which according to the ACCC was fitted with the dangerous Takata Alpha airbags. Nissan Australia said the VIN of my car was not included in the current recall but may be subject to a later one. Is my car safe to drive?
Terry Morgan, email
Tony Mee from Nissan Australia has looked into the issue for you. It turns out A33 Maximas, yours included, don't have the most dangerous airbags fitted and are not part of the recall. He has asked the ACCC to remove the model from its "immediate replacement" list.
Re Kia satnav updates. I was told when buying my 2016 Sorento that the maps would be upgraded at each service. I found the satnav unreliable from the start. I complained to the dealer and was told updates were no longer available, even though they agreed they told me there would be updates for 10 years.
Michael Brennan, email
The dealership must honour the undertaking on free updates for that length of time. Try to get this in writing from them. A satnav update is available for a fee, so I see no reason why they shouldn't pay it for you as per your purchase agreement.
At my workplace we have a lot of diesel cars but we have kept away from AdBlue models to avoid complications of two fills. What are your thoughts on AdBlue? Does it have a future or is it just a stopgap before better engine and emission technology?
David Greaves, email
Bigger question: do diesel passenger cars have a future after Dieselgate and the gallop towards hybrids and electrics? AdBlue is still found in some new diesel cars - it's a urea-water mixture to break down harmful gases in your exhaust - but we'll probably see less of it as fewer models in Australia come with a diesel option. AdBlue has a future, for now at least, especially in big diesel markets such as Europe.
Re Jeep batteries going flat. This is highly likely a software problem where the vehicle still uses power when it's supposed to be in sleep mode. It's very common in today's too-much-tech vehicles, overloading batteries so you only get two years' life from them in some cases.
Colin Bockman, email
SPRAYED WITH SAME BRUSH
I'm concerned about the integrity of some motoring brands. First, Holden. Forced to sign an agreement with the ACCC to honour warranty claims, second rate Daewoo cars of the past, a new Commodore with a short lifespan under Peugeot … it has British Leyland written all over it. Next, Ford. Dual-clutch saga, ACCC fine, Ranger diesel particulate filter issue - and, like Holden, it has taken millions off the taxpayer. Then there's VW Group's Dieselgate. Next there's anecdotal rumblings about Fiat-Chrysler warranty claims overwhelming dealers. I'd like to see some "don't buy" and "buyer beware" advice in your paper.
Lewis Stephens, email
Good spray there, Lewis. Other brands need to go in the naughty corner too. As some consolation, we have long car warranties and consumer rights far better than many countries.
HOW SWEDE IT WAS
I own a 1999 Saab 95 and, as the brand no longer exists, I don't know whether my car is fitted with one of the faulty airbags needing recalling. How do I find out?
Col Gould, email
Government website productsafety.gov.au, says only Saab's 9-5 and 9-3 from 2006-11 are affected by the Takata airbag recall. Holden, as part of GM, imported Saabs. Holden dealerships can carry out the recall work on these cars at no cost to owners.