CAR DOCTOR: Should I buy a used Ford Ranger?

the car doctor Justus Visagie answers all your car questions PHOTO: Cornel van Heerden
the car doctor Justus Visagie answers all your car questions PHOTO: Cornel van Heerden

This week, resident #Trending car expert Justus Visagie gives advice about Ford and advises a reader who has tyre-sized issues.

1 George: I want to buy a used Ford Ranger 2.2 manual 4x2 with low mileage. What are the common problems with these bakkies?

Justus: As far as Rangers go, the 4x2 manual 2.2 variants are about the most trouble-free you could wish for. The engine is well proven and its power and torque outputs are well within the limits of the gearbox and the differential.

Keep an eye on the electrical system, a known weakness on almost all Fords, and the power steering hoses. If it’s one with hydraulic power steering, you should check for leaks on the fluid hoses and cracks in the reservoir bottle. The same checks apply to the cooling system, but seeing as you’re looking at a low-mileage vehicle, that will only become vital later on.

2 Michael: I’m interested in buying a 2010 automatic Chevy Aveo sedan for R90 000. It has 95 000km on the clock. Is it worth it? Please advise what engine or transmission problems I can expect.

Justus: That price seems to be par for the course for an auto Aveo of this age. We are not aware of serious transmission or engine issues with these cars, provided the maintenance has been performed according to the service schedule.

The usual applies – make sure the gearbox oil and its filter were replaced at the recommended intervals and check that the cambelt replacement has been or is being performed as recommended. If this car hasn’t had these service items attended to, ensure that you have them done at the earliest possible opportunity as failure in these departments will result in serious repair bills.

3 Ntseki: I drive a 2015 Polo 1.2 TSI Comfortline. I have replaced my wheels from 16" 205/45 to 17" because the 16" wheels are scarce and expensive. But I’ve noticed that the petrol consumption has increased. What can I do address this?

Justus: Chances are the 17" wheels didn’t really have much of an effect on your consumption – provided you didn’t fit wider tyres at the same time, which would indeed increase consumption. There’s a simple explanation for this – with the larger diameter wheels, you’ve reduced the speedometer’s over-reading factor due to a slight change in the effective gear ratios. The new tyres have a larger diameter, which will stretch your gearing a little bit. This will bring the actual travel distance closer to what you’d see on the odometer, making it look like you’ve covered a smaller distance on a tank even though you actually haven’t. Your observation is likely due mainly to a reduced odometer error.

4 Simon: Last December, I bought a 2012 Ford Focus and took it to Ford for a service. Two months later, the engine oil was black as if it was not changed. Also, some fuses are missing from the fuse boxes, but according to the manual they are supposed to be there.

Justus: Oil discolouration, when the engine oil turns from golden to black, happens within a few hundred kilometres. This isn’t only due to the oil degrading, but also because the cleaning agents in new oil will absorb some of the dark-coloured residue which accumulates inside all engines. It’s quite normal.

As for the fuses, different versions of a model range share the same fuse boxes, even though they may not share the same equipment. This means there’s provision for fuses in your fuse box for equipment your car doesn’t have, such as electric seat adjusters. As long as everything in your car works as intended, you really shouldn’t worry about “missing” fuses because your car most likely never used those fuses anyway.

Do you have car questions you’d like Justus to answer? Using the words CAR QUESTIONS in the subject line, email You can also SMS the keywords CAR QUESTIONS and your question to 35697. Please include your name. SMSes cost R1.50. Remember to be as specific as possible – the more details you supply, the better Justus will be able to answer your question

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
Voting Booth
Do you think Lewis Hamilton deserves to be knighted by the Queen?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes, he is an incredible athlete
36% - 142 votes
No, he hasn't done anything special
21% - 83 votes
He is good, but doesn't deserve the honour
43% - 167 votes