Our Cars: SEAT Leon SC FR 1.4 TSI

21 November 2013: We have a problem…

The Details

Current mileage 1393
Claimed economy 54.3mpg
Actual economy 43.4mpg

Car manufacturers are putting more and more technology into modern cars. With full-LED lights, high beam assist and lane keep assist my SEAT Leon is no exception. I had experienced the lane keep assistance system on a couple of cars before so I knew what to expect, but found it to be slightly troublesome.

In normal operation the lane assist detects the white lines marking each lane and will ‘nudge’ the steering to keep the car in the centre of its lane. It assists you, rather than taking over and in practice it’s a useful system because it keeps you from straying into another lane when checking the nav screen or setting the climate control.

The instrument binnacle has a little screen in it which can be set to show the status of the lane assist – it shows which lines the system can see and shows whether the system is active or not. When the car arrived the readout would often detect one line, or would work for a few seconds and then stop.

Initially I thought it might be down to the weather conditions or the lighting so I ignored it, until one wet, grey day it started to work perfectly. But it didn’t last long – and the system eventually gave up completely, informing me that there was a ‘fault.’ I tried cleaning the screen in front of the sensor, but to no avail. So back to SEAT.

Lane Assist (2)

The sensor, hidden above the mirror, was misaligned. It was a quick fix. 

Thankfully the problem was nothing more than the sensor having managed to work its way loose. A final jolt - perhaps a speed bump or pothole – caused it to misalign entirely. It was tightened up and it fixed the problem completely. It’s still a bit disappointing that it wasn’t perfect in the first place of course.

Incidentally the high beam assist wasn’t as problematic as the lane assist, despite using the same sensor. At first it was fine but it did deteriorate over time until giving up entirely when the ‘fault’ message appeared. It’s working fine again now the sensor has been realigned.

The problem hasn’t been a major inconvenience – the car drove just the same without the systems working and neither of them is incredibly important, but it does go to show that adding extra technology to cars adds extra potential problem areas. The issue doesn’t seem to be widespread, though – we’ve had no reports of anything similar in any Volkswagen group vehicles.  

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