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.
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.