Why Doesn't the Car Dealer Take my Problem Seriously?

This Mitsubishi Triton owner's story illustrates that first sales are made on the showroom floor, but repeat new car sales are generally lost in the service department. Listen up, Tynan Motors Kirrawee...


Customer's under-warranty Mitsubishi Triton does the 'James Bond smokescreen' bit; dealer doesn't help - typical...

Hi John, I have a Mitsubishi Triton with 49,000km and I have a problem with it blowing smoke when it is cold. This lasts for about 30 minutes until it warms up. It is so bad vehicles behind me will not move at lights until I have moved on, and the smoke has cleared. I have taken it to my local dealer for warranty (Tynan Motors Kirrawee).

I have taken it to them five times now to rectify the problem with no result. It's still blowing smoke. They now tell me they have contacted Mitsubishi for some test results and I have been waiting now for three weeks. I think I am getting the runaround and I think there might be a problem with this model?

I will try and contact Mitsubishi myself but I see them as a impenetrable castle as well. Do you have any suggestions? I am losing faith in these car dealerships. They don't seem to care about honouring their warranty obligations and I think they are just stringing me along, hoping I will go away. Any help you can provide would be appreciated. Cheers, Paul


Hello Paul,

A few questions: 

  • Is it still under warranty? (Given the year it’s going to be close.)
  • Petrol or diesel?
  • Does it use much oil?
  • What colour is the smoke?
  • Has it been serviced according to the schedule?


John, Thanks for getting back to me. The vehicle is still under warranty and is a diesel. The smoke is black.

I have a number of work vehicles and have an arrangement with a mechanical workshop in my area  who looks after all our service. I have taken my Triton for service there until I started to have this problem and my mechanic suggested I follow it through with Mitsubishi. He has always used original parts and when this problem first became apparent he replaced the manifold due to carbon build up to see if that would fix it. Since then it has been in Mitsubishi's workshop and still no result.

They are still dealing with it as a warranty obligation but they are in no hurry to fix the problem they have replaced a part which I think they call an EGI valve. I am a little nervous as to Mitsubishi dealer (Tynan Motors) just wanting me to go away and not give them any trouble.

I think they are just trying to wear me down. My next step is to contact Mitsubishi and see if I also get the run around. My question: Is there a problem with this model and what to do about it? It is dragging on too long. Cheers, Paul


Paul, I’ve copied Mitsubishi’s senior public relations executive in on this e-mail - I believe Mitsubishi should act to resolve your issue because the dealer is, in my view, brushing you. Also, car companies hate it when customers reach out to the press and start oxygenating their customer service deficiencies. Doubtless they’ll be in touch. 

There are two parts to this problem: the diagnosis and repair, and the customer service. 

Diagnosis: Black smoke = carbon. This is generally a consequence of too much fuel/too little air. (Ie excessive fuel/air ratio.) Engines aren’t that complex, and even a moderately capable service department should be able to repair this problem. Not only that, they’re required to, under Australian consumer law. I don’t know that the Triton is systematically flawed with some common problem that does this - I think yours could be a one-off (or at least rare) problem. But how hard can it be - fuel and air in one end, energy, water and CO2 out the other? It’s not like we’re sending Neil Armstrong to the Moon here…

Mitsubishi has a 10-year powertrain warranty to the original purchaser - so they just need to fix it. From now on I’d put all communication in writing - just in case - as well as develop a written timeline of your requests for assistance and their failure to effect a solution. 

Customer service: Car companies have a big problem - which is that their dealers are independent businesses, and there are good ones and bad ones there. Car companies have trouble controlling the bad ones. Tynan Motors is probably one of those - at least they seem to be in this case, in their service department. Perhaps they are penalising you for not patronising them as a service customer - although you are perfectly entitled to get your vehicle serviced elsewhere and your warranty will survive provided you comply with three simple conditions. (More on Australia's servicing and warranty rules here >>) It’s basically an ACCC ruling based on anti-competitive provisions of Australian consumer law. Perhaps they’re just hopeless. 

The bottom line here is that car companies and their (often very slack) dealers in Australia need to grow up - there’s no shortage of competition. Next time around you can buy a Hilux, Navara, Ranger, Colorado, D-Max, BT-50, Amarok, etc. Idiot dealers like Tynans need to understand that while sales happen in the showroom, relationships get blown in the service department. Those dicks need to realise that you’re not a problem walking through the door, you’re a potential repeat customer - and it all hinges on how they treat you. More on the choices you have in the ute market today here >> 

If it’s any consolation, you are not alone. And don’t buy another car through Tynan Motors - because it’s pretty clear what they think of you choosing to do business with them. And it's the only way to send them a 'lift your game' message. Take a photo of yourself with a new Mazda BT-50 (or whatever) and explain why you chose it.

Give it a couple of weeks for them to get their ducks in a row. Then please let me know how it goes. I’m on air with Tim Webster on Radio 2UE from 3pm to 4pm every Sunday to talk motoring - you can update me live on air on 13 13 32. Don’t fret about mentioning the dealer - Tynan Motors - by name, because companies with more than 10 employees can’t sue for defamation under Australian law - but please don’t mention individuals by name if you are going to be critical. Or you can just e-mail me again via the website and I’ll publish a follow-up online.


John, I just can't thank you enough for what you have done for my problem with my Triton.

Dave from Mitsubishi customer service rang me with a follow up call after they had received a copy of the letter you had sent to me in reply to my issues with Tynan Motors, and after three weeks waiting for a phone call from Tynan's you would not believe it they rang me as well the same day to book my car in for next Monday.

I must admit I was feeling a little despondent and not sure which way to go until I thought about writing to you and venting my issues and not really thinking it would go any further. I was only looking for some advice and cannot believe you would take the time to help me in regard to my issues with Mitsubishi. I am incredibly appreciative of what you  have done. You  put a rocket up them, and I now finally have some progress happening.

I run a home service business repairing whitegoods, fridges, washers, etc., and we are one of the largest warranty agents in NSW for Bosch and other major manufactures, so I have a understanding of customer service and warranty obligations to my customers, which so far has been nonexistent as far as Tynan Motors goes.

I explained to Dave in Mitsubishi customer service that I have 18 service vehicles which are made up of Toyotas, Suzukis and Mitsubishis, and this has now left me a little wary of ever purchasing one of their vehicles again.

Once again thank you for your help in this matter and I will stay in touch and let you know the outcome of my next instalment with Tynan's service department. Cheers, Paul

Once again thank you for your help in this matter and I will stay in touch and let you know the outcome of my next instalment with Tynan's service department. Cheers, Paul