High-oc­tane dilemma

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Ask Smithy - Mark En­glert, email Michael, email David Can­nell


THE pre­vi­ous own­ers of our 2006 Mini Cooper used reg­u­lar un­leaded while the Mini man­ual rec­om­mends 95-oc­tane. As a test I drove 120km in the coun­try with reg­u­lar un­leaded still in tank and av­er­aged 6.2L/100km, then with the tank al­most empty I filled up with 98-oc­tane un­leaded for the iden­ti­cal re­turn trip, on which it did 6.1L/100km. Is it safe to keep us­ing nor­mal un­leaded petrol rather than the higher-oc­tane blend? Is the 94-oc­tane 10 per cent ethanol blend a bet­ter choice be­cause of its higher oc­tane rat­ing than stan­dard un­leaded?

MINI says the Mini Cooper is suit­able to run on E10, which is cheaper than reg­u­lar un­leaded and has a higher oc­tane rat­ing. That’s the way I would go.


I RE­CENTLY got in touch with the RACV re­gard­ing putting my 2008 Holden Caprice on gas and was told that be­cause I do be­tween 12-14,000km a year it would take too long to re­coup the out­lay. But I read in Cars­guide that it would be OK. Mine is a six­cylin­der Caprice and I would have a liq­uid-in­jec­tion sys­tem fit­ted.

BYMYreck­on­ing it would take you about three years to re­coup the cost. That’s based on an in­stal­la­tion cost of $4500 be­fore the gov­ern­ment grant of $1500, and reg­u­lar un­leaded petrol cost­ing $1.40 and LPG 60 cents a litre.


MY 2006 Ford Ter­ri­tory has had the front sus­pen­sion ball joints re­placed. Are you able to ad­vise on whether Mini Cooper: No prob­lem with us­ing E10 fuel the prob­lem with the ball joints can be fixed by the sim­ple ad­di­tion of a grease nip­ple? Has Ford pro­duced a retro­fit mod­i­fi­ca­tion? Has the war­ranty on these ball joints been ex­tended? Has the prob­lem been over­come on later mod­els? Will the launch of the new Ter­ri­tory see the end of the prob­lem?

IT IS pos­si­ble that the prob­lem could be fixed with reg­u­lar greas­ing, al­though no one, to my knowl­edge, has tested it. There is no retro fix; Ford’s fix was to re­place the

ball joints with new ones. And there is no change to the war­ranty. The prob­lem was ad­dressed with the up­date in 2009— and this seems to have done the trick as we haven’t re­ceived any more re­ports since the re­vised front sus­pen­sion was in­tro­duced. From what we can see, the prob­lem has now been fixed by Ford.


WHEN I picked up my new car last month I thought ev­ery­thing was fan­tas­tic un­til my hus­band gave it a close in­spec­tion. The car, all shiny and white, was cov­ered in rust-coloured specks that wouldn’t wash off. I re­turned it to the dealer ex­pect­ing the marks to be re­moved, but they weren’t. My lovely white Out­lander is now cov­ered in scratches and the black trims around the doors and the black roof bars are also scratched. When we phoned the dealer to com­plain they asked us to re­turn the car for an­other at­tempt to pol­ish out the scratches and rub marks. There is some im­prove­ment, but the car still doesn’t look like a new car with less than 1000km

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