In Summary
  • It is honourable of you to not transfer the problem to someone else by palming off the vehicle to them in exchange for money, but I find that view a bit extremist and one-dimensional.

  • You know there are people out there who will still buy the vehicle even with full knowledge of the problems it has or may potentially have.

Greetings, Sir,

I must first appreciate the advice and knowledge that you have consistently bestowed on us through your weekly column. Not forgetting the humour. This is what keeps me looking forward to the Nation on Wednesdays.

Now, I've followed Alice Wambua's Honda Fit issue to its conclusion and appreciate your assistance in regard to the jerking issue. I too, an owner of a 2007 model of the Fit, have experienced the issue for almost a year to date. As usual, I tried brainstorming with two different ‘mechanics’ but neither of them helped much. Googling about it late last year, I thought that it may have been a manufacturing problem that occurs in the long run. I thought so because of the numerous enquiries there are about the matter. I don’t wish to transfer the vehicle’s problem by selling it, because I think it is morally wrong to do so, so I’d like to get it fixed first and give it to my sister who is graduating later this year. My views are influenced by my religious background, medical profession and upbringing. I therefore kindly inquire what was changed in Alice’s Fit so that I may not agonise much in the search for a solution. This Fit has served me well and I believe she will do a good job introducing our last-born girl into Kenya’s motoring world. I plan to get my growing family a more family-friendly model, a Volvo, just in case you’re wondering.

Geoffrey.

Hi Geoffrey,

Thank you for your correspondence.

You are right, the jerking issue may have been a model-specific Fit problem if it is as widespread as you say it is, just like Peugeots and doors, Subarus and gaskets and Land Rovers and oil leaks.

It is honourable of you to not transfer the problem to someone else by palming off the vehicle to them in exchange for money, but I find that view a bit extremist and one-dimensional. You know there are people out there who will still buy the vehicle even with full knowledge of the problems it has or may potentially have.

I am one of them, by the way, given how I bought a twin-turbo Subaru knowing full well those twin-turbo engines are not the last word in reliability. Sure enough, I had to replace the engine some years down the line, because, can you take a guess why? Yes, you are right: I blew a gasket and the replacement job was nothing more than a hack that completely killed that EJ208. Anyway …

People will still buy such cars for a variety of reasons. They may be willing to overlook the weak points and prepare themselves for subsequent eventualities, kind of like I did. Others may buy such cars to break them down for parts, which, if done craftily enough, may either recoup the purchase costs or maybe even turn a profit depending on the buyer's business acumen. Others may need the platform, maybe for race work, and replace the offending parts with something sturdier and more dependable. Then others may be unsuspecting younger sisters on the brink of graduation who are well advised to read this column before accepting hand-me-down cars from frustrated siblings. I joke, I joke, I kid, I kid.

If I remember correctly, Alice Wambua’s car followed the chastising words of a biblical character, and like the physician in that reference, healed itself, though there was plenty of input from other readers on what the matter could have been.

Alice herself confirmed the self-healing properties of her car, so as we speak, the cure remains a mystery, though she is convinced the problem was in the gearbox, which, as of April 24 (the column with the most recent correspondence) remains unchanged.

You, however, can change the gearbox if you so wish, and preferably install a manual one. Revisit those same forums you visited earlier and see if you can gather information on the intricacies involved therein, but it should be a fairly straightforward affair.

Also, manual transmissions are generally cheap, especially on the second-hand market. Then you can introduce the last-born to the rarefied atmosphere of Operators Of The Manual Transmission. It is an honourable one.

What’s wrong with my Peugeot 206sw?

Dear Baraza,

I'm an ardent reader of your column and I appreciate your expertise on motor vehicles. I read your article on Peugeots and I can't agree more. I bought a 206sw a few years ago and I've had issues left right and centre. It performs well most of the time but I don't go for long without having to fix something. Currently, it is jerking when accelerating. I'm guessing it’s the fuel pump or I need to change the ATF. What do you think?

Robert

There seems to be a whole lot of jerking going on today in this column, huh Robert?

Well, I don't want to reiterate on the reliability (or lack thereof) of Peugeot cars mostly because I have already stated it ad infinitum and also because I now belong to the owners' club's social media circles which in turn mean I can now be easily traced by miffed supporters if I used the marque as the butt of any more reliability jokes.

The jerking could be a dying fuel pump, dying spark plugs, clogged filters (air and/or fuel) or a gearbox problem. The best way to narrow it down is to experience the jerking in person — this allows the diagnosing technician to isolate the source of the jerking — engine or transmission — and start narrowing down the possible suspects. You know what a synonym for "diagnosing technician" is? A mechanic. Do the needful and find one ASAP.

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