ASK SMITHY

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Classified - with Gra­ham Smith

A HARD LUX STORY

QDUR­ING

World War II my late fa­ther used to put an ad­di­tive in the tank of his old Citroen. I be­lieve it was like Lux soap flakes used for wash­ing. He would mix half petrol with half kerosene and then add the Lux flakes. The car ran well on it. Could you tell me more about it? Law­son Ryan War­rnam­bool AI’M

NOT familiar with this prac­tice, but there were lots of things done dur­ing the war to keep cars go­ing when petrol was scarce. If read­ers know of the prac­tice, they could send us a let­ter or an email.

IN THE HOT SEAT

QI’D

love to buy a new VE Com­modore V8-pow­ered ute, but the lack of three seats is a real pain. Does Holden have plans to make a ute with three seats? Al­ter­na­tively, do you know when Holden pro­duced its last three-seater V8-pow­ered ute? Chris email AI KNOW of no plans for Holden to built a three-seater ute, and I be­lieve you’d have to go back to the WB to find a bench-seat V8 ute. Ford has a third seat op­tion for the new FG ute, but not with a V8 en­gine.

FIFTH AMEND­MENT

QYOU

re­cently did a used car re­view of an early-’90s Corolla and men­tioned the fifth gear could be a prob­lem. I can at­test to that. In 1999 I bought a new Corolla Con­quest hatch, which de­vel­oped a noise in the trans­mis­sion at 130,000km. When the oil was drained it con­tained metal par­ti­cles, and the fifth gear bear­ing had col­lapsed. The cost of re­build­ing it was enor­mous us­ing gen­uine parts, but Toy­ota wasn’t in­ter­ested be­cause it was out of war­ranty. I am be­mused that Corol­las and Toy­otas tend to be al­ways highly rec­om­mended by you. I think they are over­rated. There is the im­pres­sion they have im­pec­ca­ble re­li­a­bil­ity, but many Toy­ota driv­ers are older and slow and con­ser­va­tive in their driv­ing habits, thus plac­ing lit­tle stress on the car’s me­chan­i­cal com­po­nents. Stephen Dilks

email AALL

cars, in­clud­ing Toy­otas, have prob­lems at times, even the best in the world. Toy­otas are gen­er­ally re­li­able and the prob­lems they have don’t seem to be ma­jor ones.

PICK UP A CHECK

QI NEED to buy a car quickly in the sub-$5000 price bracket. I know this can be risky be­cause a lot of cars in this price bracket are old and tired. Any sug­ges­tions? GlenM

email ACON­DI­TION—

rather than make — is vi­tal when buy­ing older cars. That said, it’s best to stick to makes that have a good rep­u­ta­tion— Toy­ota, Nis­san, Mazda etc. Look for body crash re­pairs, en­sure it drives smoothly, the gears en­gage with­out re­sis­tance, there’s no smoke from the tail pipe, there aren’t any odd noises or vi­bra­tions when you drive it both straight ahead and around cor­ners, it brakes in a straight line and doesn’t wan­der. If you’re care­ful and have it checked by a trusted me­chanic, you should be able to buy a de­cent car that will be re­li­able. Even though your bud­get is lim­ited, it’s still bet­ter to spend a lit­tle on check­ing it rather than re­gret­ting the wrong pur­chase later on.

CON­FI­DENCE TRICKLE

QI HAVE two older cars— a 1967 MGB and a 1963 S Se­ries Valiant— which I have had re­stored, but be­cause I don’t drive them reg­u­larly the bat­ter­ies run down. Can I dam­age them by leav­ing the trickle bat­tery charger con­nected and turned on with­out dis­con­nect­ing the bat­tery ter­mi­nals? Roland Brain

Al­tona Bay ATHERE’S

lit­tle that can go wrong if you use a trickle charger that’s de­signed to main­tain the bat­tery at the fully charged level and not keep charg­ing it. If left on charge for a long pe­riod with­out a func­tion, a bat­tery can ex­plode.

NO CHARGE HERE

QI’D

like to buy an elec­tric car with a range of about 150km that could be charged overnight from the house­hold elec­tric­ity sup­ply. Does one ex­ist? Alan Do­bie,

Mon­bulk ATO

MY knowl­edge there isn’t one avail­able, at least not one that’s been prop­erly de­vel­oped and pro­duced for pub­lic con­sump­tion.

Sit­ting tar­get: the VE Com­modore V8-pow­ered ute does not have three seats.

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