Holy smokes

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Readers Write -

I am­in­quir­ing as to the full im­pact of the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s pro­posed up­grade of the pol­lu­tion stan­dards for Aus­tralian cars. They’ve said it will have min­i­mal im­pact on the prices of cars, which is pos­si­bly true, but I suspect it will also ne­ces­si­tate the use of 95-oc­tane fuel. This, I be­lieve, en­tails a 10¢-a-litre price pre­mium which, when added to a pos­si­ble car­bon tax in­crease, will mean dra­mat­i­cally higher fuel costs in fu­ture.

Jeff Vessey, email The change is some way in the fu­ture, and is a phased pro­gram, so no one is sure yet about oc­tane re­quire­ments. At present it looks as if 95-oc­tane fuel is needed, but that could eas­ily change with added de­vel­op­ment work, par­tic­u­larly on lo­cal cars. LEFT IN THEDARK I can sup­port Ken Lowis’s letter about Subaru Out­back head­lamp globes. I’ve done four in five years. The first two I re­placed with gen­uine globes from the dealer at $43 each – in­ter­est­ingly the driver’s side went and 12 months later the pas­sen­ger’s side ex­pired. The next time the dealer had no globes, so I bought the same thing (H7) from an auto shop for $15. All four of the Subaru orig­i­nals have ex­pired now and both globes are now Narva. Cross fin­gers, I haven’t had to change a bulb for two years.

John Her­ron BRIGHTEN UP I’m amazed at the num­ber of cars with faulty or in­op­er­a­tive brake or tail-lights. How hard would it be for man­u­fac­tur­ers to put a warn­ing sys­tem in the car to alert the driver when their rear lights are not op­er­at­ing? A sim­ple cir­cuit breaker would surely be all that IS re­quired. We have amaz­ing tech­nol­ogy for all of sorts of func­tions but this ap­pears to es­cape their at­ten­tion.

Al­lan W. Penna It’s not as sim­ple as you might think, as brake cir­cuits now in­ter­act with all sorts of things, in­clud­ing in some cars the anti-lock sys­tem. But it sounds like a good idea. MANYQUESTIONS Be­ing a me­chanic for more than 20 years, I’ve seen many un­reg­is­tered or un­la­belled cars peo­ple have brought in. It used to be that, if there was no cur­rent la­bel, you should not drive with­out trade plates. Now, with the end of stick­ers as in West­ern Aus­tralia and as pro­posed else­where, how will we know if cars are reg­is­tered? That means I now have to ask cus­tomers whether their car is reg­is­tered. But how am I to know if they lie or are in­cor­rect? What about peo­ple driv­ing work cars? How are they to know?If I get pulled over or have a crash in a cus­tomer’s car, will I get fined? And would I lose my li­cence too? What if some­one is killed? Am I in­sured? I know you can check with Ezyreg but it doesn’t guar­an­tee a ve­hi­cle is reg­is­tered. It’s a guide.

Dar­renWebb, email

There is clearly much more to emerge from this can of worms. LOOKA­LIKE Does any­one else think that the Skoda Su­perb’s tail-lights and bumpers look like those on the Mercedes-Benz C-class wagon?

BryceWick­ham We could play this game all day as many cars seem alike in some way. But what do read­ers think? WHEREISWORKS I agree with you on the cost is­sues with fac­tory-fit­ted GPS. I have a Fair­lane that has the Denso sys­tem and cost was not an is­sue for me be­cause of salary sac­ri­fic­ing. I’m now re­tired and still use the sys­tem, re­plac­ing the DVD each March at a cost of $295 (used to be $405) from WhereiS and I’m happy with the ac­cu­racy. WhereiS re­sponds when I send in changes and al­ter­ations, which nor­mally ap­pear in the next re­lease of the DVD. I do not buy from the dealer but from www.whereismaps.com. I check the ac­cu­racy against the cur­rent WhereiS in­for­ma­tion and plot an iden­ti­cal trip. It’s been very help­ful and I don’t have the risk of theft, en­joy ease of use and the ben­e­fit of be­ing ‘‘locked out’’ when driv­ing and can only use my five pop­u­lar but­tons, among them Home, Air­port, Brother . . .

Colin Martin, email Thanks for the tips.

AUDIAWINNER The Le Mans-win­ning Audi R18 is awe­some. It looks like the Bat­mo­bile, only this thing is for real, and the sound of its V6 diesel is some­thing else. The French put in a valiant ef­fort but the Ger­man jug­ger­naut is a mighty op­po­nent.

An­thony Xuereb, email

It’s tough, too, judg­ing by the way the two team­mate cars sur­vived mighty crashes.

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