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I am the owner of a 2011 Subaru Forester that’s been recalled to replace a faulty Takata airbag. My recall notice recommends that no one ride in the passenger seat until the airbag is replaced. This means I can’t use my car to drive my family anywhere unless I leave my wife at home on every trip. How legitimate is this concern? Am I entitled to a loaner car until the recall is complete? Any advice is appreciated. – Marc P, Toronto, ON

The Takata airbag recalls are widespread, having touched multiple manufacturers, causing excessive back order situations. Fortunately, your Forester has an affected airbag in the passenger side only. While I’m sure the concern is legitimate, the statement of not using the passenger seat is to limit any future liability. From the Transport Canada webpage: “We believe the risk to Canadians is low since the defect is linked to long exposure to high humidity and temperatures.” However, I am in no position to offer any advice to the contrary. Have your passengers use the back seat while you wait. The wording of the recall does not address any financial compensation for rentals or use of a loaner car, but head into your dealer regardless and ask for a car. Given that you need every occupant position, hopefully they can see that yours is a situation that absolutely requires the use of a loaner. If the dealer fails to provide assistance, I would be on the phone to Subaru Canada demanding transportation options for your family.

I just leased a 2019 Jeep Cherokee limited. I’m only getting 28 litres/100 km with city driving. On the highway I only once got 11.7 litres/100km. I now have 1,194 km and my average litres/100 km is21.7 L/100km. The dealer is telling me the car is in a learning mode and it needs 8,000 km to break in. Is that true? Help! – Ruben

According to Natural Resources Canada fuel-consumption guidelines, your vehicle should achieve a combined fuel economy of 9.1 to 10.3 litres/100 km, depending on which engine it has. Clearly, your results are nowhere near that. You are, however, too early in the break-in period to be looking for realistic fuel-economy numbers. Most contemporary engines break in much faster than in the past, but there is still some truth in what the dealer is telling you. I have researched the subject prior and have come across multiple manufacturer claims that optimal fuel economy should be achievable within 1,000 km, others say 10,000 km and more. There are many differing opinions and claims. I can tell you from my personal experience with my own 2018 Volkswagen SportWagen, that it took close to 12,000 km before the actual fuel economy got close to the manufacturer’s stated figures. Even though your numbers are way off now, wait and retest as you get closer to 10,000 km.

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