Ask the Mechanic

Is the Toyota Premio 2008 a good car to buy?

Hello Paul, I am in the market for a Toyota Premio 2008 but would like some information on the common problems associated with the car plus its fuel consumption.


Hello Otim, the 2008 Toyota Premio is an updated facelift version of the 2007 second generation Toyota Premio. The 2008 Premio was released with the ‘punchy’ 144 horse power 3ZR-FAE 2.0 litre petrol valvematic engine (fuel economy 15 km/litre).

In the lineup of engines, Premio offered the 1NZ-FE 1.5 litre engine with modest output of 109 horsepower but very good highway fuel economy (18 km/litre). The other engine offered is the 2ZR-FE 1.8 litre with a sprightly 125 horsepower output and an impressive highway fuel economy (17 km/litre).

The 2010 Premio engine developments improved fuel economy of the 1.8 litre to 18.6km/litre and the 1.5 Litre to 20 km/litre. The 2008 Premio has technology maintenance challenges not problems. The engines have VVTi - Variable valve timing intelligent technology and the transmissions are CVT - Continous Variable Transmissions. This technology is designed to improve the engine and transmission efficiency.

This improves fuel economy as well as prompt performance. However, the technology requires strict adherence to the manufacturer recommended engine oil and gearbox CVT oil maintenance schedules. Failure to do so leads to premature failure. Otherwise, spare parts are easily available and the cars look sharper, are more spacious, comfortable and drive fine as compact sedans.

My car’s engine makes noise when I start

Hello Paul, my Toyota Spacio’s VVTi engine makes a crackling noise when I start it in the morning. Lately, a check engine light shows on the dashboard and the car falters when I accelerate. What could be the problem?


Hello Patience, you may have an engine timing chain failure. You seem to have delay of engine oil pressure buildup due to a clogged lubrication system or failing oil pump. The timing chain helps to synchronise air intake valve opening and compression stroke of pistons. This chain is fitted or timed to allow correct opening of intake/exhaust valves and movement of pistons to allow complete combustion of air fuel mixture.  Correct setting of the timing chain prevents harmful collision of valves and pistons. When your engine lubrication system is not maintained properly with regular service using recommended engine oil, it develops sludge, which damages the oil pump and blocks or delays buildup of oil pressure.

This causes the noisy cold engine starts and damages the timing chain. Often, the damaged chain will cause a retardation of the timing which affects the timely opening or closing of intake valves. This affects engine performance and often causes the check engine fault to alert you about an emission or ignition timing fault.

A computer diagnosis will confirm this remote diagnosis. Consider replacement of the timing chain kit and oil pump with genuine Toyota parts.

How much will it cost to buy a Nissan pick-up truck?

Hello Paul, I am interested in buying a Nissan pick-up 2.5D,1995-2000 with a petrol engine. My budget is between Shs10m and Shs15m. is this possible?


Hello Daniel, you can find the D21 1995 Nissan Datsun pick-up on car selling websites such as checki Uganda or jiji Uganda. A recently imported ex-Japan used D21 will cost about Shs25m while locally used ones cost between Shs7m to Shs15m. The D21 with a petrol engine comes with a 2.4 litre KA24E line 4 engine. The 2.5D is the TD25 turbo diesel engine.

Your preferred 2.4L petrol engine will give you a moderate output of 134 horsepower (HP) and torque of 206 Nm. The diesel 2.5 TD gives an output 159 HP and 338Nm because of the slightly bigger cubic capacity and turbo charging.

This is a no frills, no thrills solid pick-up truck also nicknamed the ‘ Nissan Hustler’ in Australia. A perfect test bed for the development of the hard body and Navara pick-up trucks.

Solid frame and body, which combines with the leaf springs to create a strong and versatile vehicle akin to a workhorse in the Wild West. D21 has manual door latches, handles and window winders.

The D21 has a softer side with a tape deck, air conditioning and heater to make you a little comfortable while you hassle with the hustler.

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