Repair & Despair

Steering wheel wobbly no more, but…

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GUEVARA appeals to the manufacturer to tell all their dealers that the mini-4WD’s knuckle bearing should be given extra attention. photo by Tessa R. Salazar

Remember EA, whose story came out in this section on March 13 about his Japanese 4WD 1.3-liter mini-SUV suffering from steering wheel vibration that apparently couldn’t be solved?

Just recently, another owner of the same brand of vehicle came forward to share a similar story with R&D. This time, though, Victor Guevara Jr. had a happy ending.

A day after Guevara brought his 2003 model into the Manila dealership complaining of the same steering shimmy/vibration, the casa crew correctly diagnosed the problem: The knuckle bearing needed to be replaced.

Guevara was impressed, but he wished that the replacement schedule for the knuckle bearing be indicated in the manual checklist.

In EA’s story, the car company had issued a service bulletin on the problem vehicle dated April 9, 2009. Guevara, said, however, that aside from issuing a bulletin, the replacement schedule for the part should be clearly indicated in the service manual.

He surmised that the reason the Alabang dealership where EA brought his mini-SUV could not solve the problem was that the service manual didn’t carry the reminder, nor was it aware of the service bulletin. (As of press time, the Alabang dealership has asked EA for another two weeks to acquire the necessary parts to fix the wobble.)

Guevara said that the Manila dealership promptly replaced the four knuckle bearings at P1,000 each, the labor cost P5,500, for a total bill of P9,500. The receipt indicated the work requested: “R/R Rotor disc/knuckle arm assembly and drive shaft; L/R To give way to replace king pin upper/lower.”

Guevara said that since having the vehicle fixed in 2011, there has been no more shimmying, vibrations or wobbling in his vehicle’s steering.

The wobbling in Guevara’s vehicle started just after the odometer hit the 15,000-km mark. In EA’s case, the steering problem manifested itself after the 10,000-km mark.

Guevara said that he uses his mini-SUV even for offroading purposes, despite owning two other compact SUVs. He said that he has even driven this vehicle up to the Ranger Station on Mount Pulag. He said that the proven reliability of this mini-4WD should not be tainted by an inefficient local dealership.

Guevara appealed to the Japanese manufacturer: “You should tell all your dealers that this mini-4WD’s knuckle bearing should be given extra attention. Other owners who might experience the same problem might think that something is wrong with their tires. I myself had already invested a lot on having my wheels balanced only to find out it was the knuckle bearings that was causing the problem.”

Share your car ownership experience, pleasant or otherwise. E-mail the author at tsalazar@inquirer.com.ph.

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