Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Pete asks: We bought a new 2018 Toyota Highlander. I was horrified to read in the manual that there are several bulbs the owner cannot change and that the car must be taken to the service department.
Next time when i will shop for a car, I will ask the dealer is there any bulb the owner cannot change. If he answers none, I will ask him to prove it and show me the manual. If he answers some, then I say sayonara.
Can you recommended a few new or used models of diesel or hybrid diesel SUVs?
My reply: Bulb access is sometimes difficult in new/late-model vehicles but I doubt you have to take the vehicle to the dealer for this – unless (and this could be possible) there is some issue with the lighting system being so integrated with the car’s electronics that a diagnostic hook-up is necessary. This is apparently the case with certain other models when it comes to even simple things like replacing the car’s battery.
You didn’t mention which bulbs supposedly aren’t owner-replaceable; if you had I would have tried to suss out the information for you. My bet is the bulbs are serviceable; it’s just a matter of figuring out how to service them. YouTube and owner’s forums online are a great resource for this; a shop manual is also a must-have in my opinion, even for a person who isn’t planning on doing much DIY service. Reason? By reading the book, you’ll get to know your vehicle much better and so be much better informed about servicing procedures – which will make you much less vulnerable to being ripped-off.
On the rest: To y knowledge, there is no such thing as a hybrid diesel SUV available in the United States – although the idea makes great sense to me as the diesel is inherently more efficient and its operating nature is more suited to powering electric motors/battery packs than a gas engine. I suppose the reason for these not being offered has to do with the higher cost of the diesel engine, and possibly the added weight and (of course) the emissions bogeyman.
There are some excellent (used) diesel-powered SUVs available, including the Audi Q5, Porsche Cayenne and VW Touareg. You might also be interested in the (new) Jeep Gladiator, which is really a four-door pick-up rather than an SUV, but it’s similar and it will be available with a diesel engine.
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