2009 Suzuki SX4 Long-Term Road Test

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2009 Suzuki SX4: Brake Warning Light Mystery Solved

January 12, 2010

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Just before the holidays our 2009 Suzuki SX4 started to intermittently display brake system warning light. This indicator happens to be red and federal safety regulations reserve this color for Serious Business such a brake system problems or air bag faults, so this is not a "live with it" situation.

The light routinely comes on when the parking brake is engaged as a reminder to release the brake before driving off. I check to see if the switch near the parking brake handle was faulty, but that was a dead end.

Next stop: under the hood for a look at the master cylinder...

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2009 Suzuki SX4: DIY Oil Change Video

January 11, 2010

Call it a case of killing two birds with one stone. Our 2009 Suzuki SX4 was due for an oil change. I have been encouraged to make more use of video in my posts. Why not document the oil change process on video?

Well, I don't have any experience with video editing software and the only software I have is MovieMaker, the Microsoft default that came on my PC. My "video camera" is nothing more than a mode in my small Canon ELPH point-and-shoot still camera.

But, what the heck. I do have a couple of tripods and the weather is good on this dead-of-winter SoCal morning.

So I trotted down to the local auto parts store for 5 quarts of oil and a new filter. Cost me $28.21.

I was going to add narration, but that seemed time-consuming and I decided the background sounds were interesting in their variety and the ELPH's little built-in mic picked them up reasonably well. I do need to figure out how to muffle the wind noise for next time, however.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 20,052 miles

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2009 Suzuki SX4: How Did This Happen?

January 09, 2010

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This morning I was minding my own business, just standing there and casually opening the hood of our 2009 Suzuki SX4 in preparation for an oil change. And then I saw what you see above.

What the? How did this happen? I don't think it could have come off on its own. The motor mounts prevent the engine from torqueing over too far. Besides, there has to be some torque. (OK, that was a low blow.)

Could someone have left it off while poking around in there, looking at something? Or maybe they took it off thinking they'd discovered some hot-rod performance trick. Not likely. This set-up ensures that engine breathes nothing but hot underhood air. The pipe brings cooler, denser air from outside.

Luckily, the air filter is integrated into the engine cover to the left so the engine wasn't wheezing on dust and twigs and bugs.

Let's pop that baby back on there.

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2009 Suzuki SX4: Fix It or Live With It?

December 21, 2009

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"Wait, was I driving with the emergency brake on this whole time?" I chastised myself when I was on the freeway and noticed the "Brake (!)" warning light on the dash. I hadn't noticed the car driving differently from the time I left the Edmunds garage and jumped on the 10 East. And when I went to check the e-brake, it was down as far as it could go. But then the warning light switched off when I pressed the e-brake button.

Later when parked, I pulled up the e-brake to see where its last detent before off was and it was at about a 15-degree angle from off, so it would have been pretty obvious that it was still on. Well that's a relief anyway. That I didn't drive with the emergency brake on.

However, throughout the weekend that brake warning light kept popping on and off, leaving me to wonder if this was my car would I be motivated enough to get this fixed or would I just learn to live with it. It's not like it affects the driving.

It reminded me of how my brother drove around with the "Check Engine" light of his Nissan Sentra on the entire time he owned it. He got the car checked and the shop canceled that light but then it ended up popping on again anyway and he gave up.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 19,343 miles

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2009 Suzuki SX4: Checking Oil, Praising Headlights

October 13, 2009

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After returning from my 2,100-mile road trip in our long-term 2009 Suzuki SX4, I checked the tires and the oil. I added 1-2 psi of air to each tire. The oil level registered just under the halfway mark on the dipstick, so I added a smidge of 5W30. As one would expect on this class of car, the owner's manual is lenient on the type of oil you may use, suggesting only that it should be a bottle of 5W30 with the American Petroleum Institute seal.

The dipstick is conveniently located (red arrow), as is the filler cap (yellow arrow). However, the mouth is recessed a few inches, so a funnel would really be helpful. I'd left mine at work, though, so I had to dab up some spillage.

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2009 Suzuki SX4: Airbag Warning Light Resolved, Again

September 29, 2009

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Finally. The airbag warning light in our 2009 Suzuki SX4 is off. This time we hope it's for good.

If you recall the airbag light came on before. And one visit after the next to our local dealer failed to deliver a permanent solution. Annoyed and eager to have the issue resolved we contacted Suzuki directly.

A quick scan of the error code (B1318) confirmed the problem. The right-front seat cushion needed a software update. There was no need to replace any parts. Once the reflash was complete the light extinguished and we were back on the road. Just like that. Too bad we couldn't find a dealer to do this months ago.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 14,050 miles

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2009 Suzuki SX4: Airbag Warning Light Saga Continues

July 02, 2009

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This is a sad day in the world of Suzuki service. Over a month ago we special ordered a part to extinguish the airbag light on our SX4's dash. Our service advisor at Cerritos Suzuki informed us it would likely take 2-3 weeks for its arrival. That timeline had come and gone. So we contacted the dealer again.

"I'm very sorry, sir. Your order was suspended. You may want to order parts elsewhere."

Shocked as to why the order was cancelled and we weren't notified I dug deeper. What did order parts elsewhere mean? They owed us an explanation. But his polite, matter-of-fact response made me feel a little guilty for asking.

"Sir, parts are on hold because there is question as to how much longer this will be a Suzuki dealership."

Oh. Well, that sucks for everyone involved. Back to square one.

(And yes, that bench is as crooked as it looks)

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 7,611 miles

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2009 Suzuki SX4: Airbag Light STILL Broken

June 12, 2009

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It's been 3 weeks and nearly 1,000 miles since the dealer ordered a new seat cushion to correct our falsely illuminated airbag light, and still nothing.

At this point, the IP will look strangely unfamiliar when the light is off.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 6,940 miles

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2009 Suzuki SX4: Airbag Light Service, Chapter 2

May 25, 2009

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We reported the airbag light in our 2009 Suzuki SX4 was on for the second time. We were off to Cerritos Suzuki again. There at the same service department stood the same advisor we'd seen for the same problem the last time. The situation felt awfully redundant.

He extended his hand and said hello, but what we heard was a line from the classic Spaceballs, "So at last we meet, for the first time, for the last time." We had hoped this was the last time we'd be in for this airbag light. But no such luck. We had to come back.

We were told the cause of the light was a faulty switch in the passenger seat cushion and a new seat cushion had to be ordered. But the problem would not affect deployment of the airbags, our primary concern. "I'll have to order the cushion and call you," our advisor began. "I ordered one for another customer 2 weeks ago and haven't seen it yet. I'd expect 2-3 weeks before yours arrives."

From the looks of things, we'll be back at the dealer in about a month with Chapter 3 of the riveting airbag blog series to follow.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 6,085 miles

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2009 Suzuki SX4: Easy to Check the Oil

May 20, 2009

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Lifting the hood of our long-term 2009 Suzuki SX4 I was half expecting to see the whole rat and wheel thing. I had been driving the Suzuki for a few days and most of my time in the car is with the throttle down on the carpet.

Yup, this thing is slow. In our track testing it hit 60 mph in 11.7 seconds (11.4 seconds with one foot of rollout like on a dragstrip). Trust me, when the light turns green flooring it is really your only option. And that's the reason we're often recording well under the SX4's EPA fuel economy ratings of 21 mpg city and 28 mpg hwy.

Fact is I had been ringing its neck so much I thought I'd be nice and check the little car's oil level. Which brought me to the lifting of the hood moment.

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2009 Suzuki SX4: The Airbag Warning Light is Back

May 18, 2009

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Yesterday the airbag warning light lit up the instrument panel of our long-term 2009 Suzuki SX4. You may remember that this had happened before. It was an easy fix last time, hopefully it will be again. We'll let you know.

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2009 Suzuki SX4: Airbag Warning Light Resolved

March 23, 2009

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We called to schedule a service appointment after Bryn noticed the airbag warning light lit on the IP of our 2009 Suzuki SX4.

So what was our first impression of Suzuki service? There aren't many dealerships. We racked our brains to recall a local shop. Nothing. On the Suzuki website we found the nearest dealer in Van Nuys, 10 miles away. Not bad. But the next-closest was 25 miles, then 35 miles. We chose Cerritos Suzuki since a handful of us live nearby.

Our advisor was polite. He called us an hour after we dropped it off to report that it was likely parts would need to be ordered. And since it was an airbag issue they weren't comfortable returning the car to us until the problem was fully diagnosed. The next morning our phone rang.

"Your car is ready for pick up. When we lifted the seat cushion to check the problem we found the ground pin wasn't fully connected. We plugged it back in. No charge."

Days out of service: 1

Cost: None

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 3,030 miles

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2009 Suzuki SX4: Wounded

February 11, 2009

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Our SX4 suffered some damage in traffic recently when it was the victim of a love tap to the bumper. That's right -- we were rear-ended. The impact was pretty minor and no one was injured, but since the at-fault driver was behind the wheel of a Chevy Express, our little SX4 did not escape unscathed. We're waiting to hear from the claims adjuster, and hope to have the car in the body shop by early next week.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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2009 Suzuki SX4: Seatbelt/Airbag Warning

February 02, 2009

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I noticed this weekend that our long-term SX4's airbag/seatbelt warning light came on and stayed on. At first I thought it was sensing my heavier-than-necessary laptop bag, so pushed the bag to the floor. But nope, the light still glared at me from the instrument panel, all red and warn-y. That's when I realized that there's a separate warning light at the top of the center stack for the passenger airbag warning light. The one pictured (just above the odometer) is the more general "something's up with the airbags and/or seatbelts" light. We'll get it checked out and report back on what was causing it. Stay tuned.

Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com @ 2,727 miles

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2009 Suzuki SX4 in VA is:

$120 per month*
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