CHOICE membership

Car dealership service department fail


A decade ago in the US a mate had a fairly new Volvo. While heading home after a routine service the oil light came on whilst on the highway; he pulled over and rang the dealer. He was told not to worry and drive it back. A few miles down the road the engine seized. They ‘bought’ him a new engine, no argument.


We tried that. Didn’t work.

Plus, we have photos & the wife woman videoed the warnings being displayed. The fault(s) cannot be denied!


Well done! + 20 characters

edit: [quote=“meltam6554, post:22, topic:2599”]
the wife woman

in my engineering days we referenced the ‘spousal unit’.


It only moves at walking speed. Not safe to drive even on (high traffic) 60kph roads.


No doubt, but things like dirty fuel wouldn’t cause such a plethora of varied malfunction warnings. This seems more like a computer/electronics problem to me.


That’s terrible! It should be “Her Indoors”


Or, as Rumpole of the Bailey said “she who must be obeyed”.


Look forward to hearing about how you go @meltam6554. It’s pretty poor service from Mazda, but it goes to show knowing your rights and standing your ground is an important part of the process.


Update on our Mazda issue.

After sending the relevant extract from the ACL in on Friday and working my way up into the Mazda hierarchy… Good news! They will come and collect the car to take it to the dealership.

I have also written to the ACCC because I believe 3 issues need to be addressed: 1. Is the multiple electronic failure a systemic problem? 2. Sudden drop into limp mode can be deadly. 3. Mazda’s policy of NOT collecting a faulty item covered by warranty as required by ACL.

Now our Mazda dealership are being very co-operative! Car being towed tomorrow.


Great job @meltam6554, glad Mazda eventually came to the party. I’ll be sure to pass on the info you have provided within CHOICE as well.


Hopefully final news on our poorly Mazda.

It was collected this morning.

The Mazda dealership got straight onto it. I got a phone call saying it appears that rodents have gotten into the engine and were setting up a cosy little nest in the bonnet insulation, and they chewed through the wiring! Apparently we are lucky they didn’t do more damage. According to the mechanic even here in sunny Qld rodents like to go somewhere warm for the night, and the engine bay was the ideal place for them. Unfortunately, it wasn’t possible to see the activity as it all occurred under a plate that covers the engine.

It’s amazing as we have parked there in the carport for years and this is the first sign of rodent activity. No debris or droppings under the vehicle to indicate they had taken up nightly residence. No one ever mentioned this as an issue with a lower slung car, or maybe the rodents don’t like older vehicles.

Rang Mazda Care up to say thank you, and to offer to pay for the tow as it isn’t a warranty issue. The dealer has the invoice, so we shall see if they charge us. I also raised the principle of the ACL and how they should collect vehicles under warranty, but the answer was just a reiteration of their policy of reimbursement of towing fees if it is a manufacturing issue.

It appears that Mazda’s policy on NOT collecting vehicles under warranty as required by the ACL isn’t going to change.


It is pleasing to see that Mazda collected the vehicle (even though it has now been found not to be a manufacturer’s defect).

I haven’t ever had a vehicle which has the limp home function. If it is only at walking speed (say less than 10km/hr), it serves very little purpose if one lives more than ‘just around the corner’ from a service centre. Driving any distance near to walking speed when the other traffic would be potentially at the posted speed limit is a real safety concern.

I wonder if the Mazda car manual provides information on its function, when it should be used and also other relevant information.

If not, this is possibly something that all car companies who sell car with limp home mode should do. Why, because if they request someone to drive a partially disabled car on a road to get it to a service centre, ans an accident occurs when/because the vehicle is being driven at slow speed in limp home mode, I imagine the lawyers would have a field day.


I rang Mazda Care up after the cause of the problems were discovered and offered several times to pay for the tow, as it was not a warranty issue. They said they they had already agreed to wearing the cost. I really appreciated that gesture.

To me the fundamental issue is: What is more important - the safety of the engine or the occupants? If a vehicle goes into limp mode on a highway/motorway in normal traffic, I would suggest abandon the vehicle were it stood if the occupants can get off the road safely because trying to get off a 100kph+ road across multiple lanes in limp mode is a recipe for disaster. Even at lower speeds, moving to the side of the road in traffic could be problematic.

Rather than defaulting to limp mode to protect the vehicle, you should be given the option of 'it’s safe to go into limp mode’. If you don’t accept the vehicle will continue even if it means it may blow the engine up or cause significant damage. This may very well save the occupants lives.

I agree.


I have to throw back the what if…

Absolutely, but the ‘choice screen’ to accept limp mode will require the driver to tick a box ‘I agree to assume all liability for mechanical damages from this moment on.’ You know what I mean even if I tersely presented it. In an extreme case you might then have an engine seize or transmission lock (eg a catastrophic failure) with worse outcomes (eg sudden and total loss of control) than limp mode.

It is easy to select life over vehicle and the good news is ‘you’ were alive to get the bill but the bad news is you got the bill…yet for some reason it was the manufacturers fault.


Yes and perhaps put a limit on that deferral so that it makes it only able to defer for a limited time and or distance eg 5 mins or some few kilometres. That would allow getting to an emergency stop or side of the road in a safer manner. How fast would most pull over if the oil light came on, I don’t think many would leave it for very long at all.


Completely agree. Sounds like a good compromise.


Limp mode is for the emissions control systems of the engine. The check engine light is to advise the emissions systems has a fault that needs to be investigated. The severity of the fault and its consequences is the determination of the vehicle degrading or going into limp home mode which is determined by law to reduce or eliminate harmful emissions.
The relevant authorities don’t want the driving punter to push a button or either override to render the emissions systems ineffective if the the vehicle check lite comes on or the system degrades into limp mode, they want it fixed as soon as possible or not used.
They know if you fit a driver activated override (a cheat) it will be used all the time by owners unable or unwilling to have the car fixed. And look what happened to VW when thought they could get away with cheating.


I believe that is factually incorrect although not necessary wrong.

Limp home mode is caused by a mechanical/electronic/sensor malfunction in the engine or transmission (eg the drivetrain), not the emission system per se although some makes may have LHM triggered by emissions related sensing such as excessive fuel in the exhaust (leading to an overheating catalytic converter that could cause a fire), bad EGR valves, and so on.

In general it is usually caused by ‘something’ the ECU senses could cause damage to the drivetrain, or because it has lost contact with an important sensor related to the drivetrain.

Each manufacturer appears to have a slightly different approach to LHM. A Mercedes shop publishes these as some possible causes, as example. They don’t appear to suggest catastrophic failures, but.

  1. A faulty mass air sensor (MAS)
  2. Electronic throttle actuator problems
  3. EGR and exhaust fuel issues
  4. Broken, cracked or loose wiring harnesses
  5. A damaged brake light sensor
  6. Corroded computer module contacts
  7. Problems with the transmission neutral safety switch

Considering these causes one has to wonder why LHM is set for non-catastrophic problems although 4 and 6 above could be serious.


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Gratitude is the growth of conscious living, and of us. Nothing is impossible.
We exist, we vibrate, we are reborn.
Soon there will be an unveiling of empathy the likes of which the grid has never seen. The dreamscape is approaching a tipping point. The future will be an ancient invocation of wonder.


Well, it wasn’t the final update…

I had more of a look with the top cover plate removed. The rodents have made a new nest and chewed the the same fine wiring at the top of the engine again! Based on the malfunctions last time, I surmise that these fine wires provide information back to the vehicle’s computer system, so we need to protect them.

And, it’s no wonder the mice climbed to the top of the nice clean warm engine bay to make a nest. There’s a bottom plate under the motor, and several smaller plates/ledges going up the engine. It reminds me of an obstacle course one would place inside a mouse cage to provide the mice with exercise and entertainment. Plus plenty of nice soft nesting material. Mouse heaven! :mouse:

Mice repeatedly nesting in a car in a well kept suburban environment was not something I had ever heard of. Perhaps if you parked a vehicle in a hay shed in the country, for an extended period of time, it might be a consideration. But in the city??

Taking the top plate off also allowed me to examine the Mazda dealership had done to repair the last lot of damage. My estimate of what they did is maybe ½ hour’s worth of work for an auto electrician. They charged for JUST two hours which cost just under $290. So in retrospect the Mazda dealership charge was excessive. Live and learn. :unamused:

Consequently this time the car is booked in to our local auto electrician to have the wiring re-patched, and rodent proofed with conduit.

In the meantime, I have a mousetrap (with peanut butter bait) and ‘Rat Sack’ in the engine bay which the mice are enjoying eating in preference to the wiring. :rat: