Shed a bit of light

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Readers Write -

WHY are the driv­ers of grey, sil­ver and char­coal coloured cars so re­luc­tant to use their lights? These cars are hard enough to see at the best of times, so in this dull, driz­zly weather — for good­ness sake — use the jolly things. It doesn’t cost any­thing to turn them on.

Pa­tri­cia Wool­cock Con­sider this your re­minder. Thank­fully, LED day­time run­ning lamps are be­com­ing more com­mon­place these days and, even though many peo­ple re­gard them as a pres­tige fash­ion item, they help with road safety.

SOFT BRAK­ING Can you please ex­plain why Euro­pean cars go through brakes so quickly?

Robin Cook, email

The brake calipers are soft to im­prove brak­ing per­for­mance in cold weather, to cut squeal­ing, and also to work bet­ter with ABS sys­tems. The re­moval of as­bestos from brake pads also has af­fected wear.

SEC­OND CHOICE My son is look­ing at buy­ing a se­cond­hand Subaru Forester. He has seen some for be­tween $10,000 and $15,000 with an av­er­age 180,000km. Should he be con­cerned with the dis­tance on the clock and is there any­thing else he should be aware of? Also, my daugh­ter is look­ing at buy­ing her first car. What do you think of a Holden As­tra CD?

SueJohn­son, email Those are both good choices. The Subaru should be tough and there are plenty of parts now at car dis­man­tlers, while the As­tra is solid but can be heavy on brakes.

TELL US THE PRICE I see that Cars­guide has un­der­gone quite a change in the past cou­ple of months. I couldn’t find any sign of the car sales fig­ures for April in last week’s guide and was won­der­ing if it was an ac­ci­den­tal omis­sion? I be­lieve sales were down last month.

David Taweel, email The changes to Cars­guide are in­tended to ap­peal to more read­ers but the sales anal­y­sis has not been dropped. It runs as soon as pos­si­ble af­ter the of­fi­cial VFacts sta­tis­tics are pro­duced, on the third work­ing day each month. Yes, sales were down last month com­pared with April, 2010.

BET­TER REX I have just re­cently pur­chased a Subaru MY11 WRX sedan. It’s awe­some and I love it but I have a cou­ple of ques­tions. Does it mat­ter if I run on 95 RON or should I run it on 98? Can you sug­gest a brake spe­cial­ist that won’t charge the earth to up­grade the brakes? They seem a lit­tle soft for a car with this horse­power. I know the STi comes with Brembo brakes but these cost a for­tune. Can you rec­om­mend a good driv­ing course that will teach me more about the car? Ie that a short-shift kit is avail­able for this model at about $500. Are they a good up­grade and will I no­tice any dif­fer­ence?

Geoff Roth­berg, email Mid-strength un­leaded should be fine un­less you thrash the car all the time. You can get a Brembo pack­age more cheaply from a car dis­man­tler and there are some good Subaru spe­cial­ists around. The shift kit will def­i­nitely give more pos­i­tive changes. As for driv­ing cour­ses, Cars­guide has had good ex­pe­ri­ences with John Bowe and Mur­cotts.

WHICH4WD? I have about $15,000 to put to­wards a 4WD. Which do you think is bet­ter, a Toy­ota Land­Cruiser or a Nis­san Pa­trol? Would some­thing else suit? The ve­hi­cle will be used for fam­ily camp­ing, fish­ing and hunt­ing on the week­ends when time is avail­able, as well as run­ning me to work daily, about a 16km round trip. I have re­searched the Toy­ota and the Nis­san and am more con­fused than when I started look­ing and read­ing about them. I know I can get a ’98 Pa­trol for the price of a ’90 or ’94 Land­Cruiser. How do they com­pare for run­ning costs and main­te­nance? Should I get a diesel or a dual-fuel op­tion?

Paul Hanna, email The Land­Cruiser is bet­ter and that’s why it costs more. If you gen­uinely plan a lot of off-road work then the Pa­trol is tough and re­li­able. Diesel is great for tow­ing and heavy off-road work, and prob­a­bly your best bet.

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