Blinded by the light
I HAVE a small problem with your article on lights — it didn’t go far enough. Incorrectly adjusted headlights drive me absolutely crazy, and I believe are more dangerous than having one headlight out. Same with this new craze of having extra lights in the front bumper — should be banned. But coming back to the ordinary bloke’s headlights; if someone coming in the opposite direction at night flashes you, then you either have no lights, or your lights are on high beam or incorrectly adjusted.
Ric Coyle You’re right that it’s important to have lamps correctly adjusted and constantly running fog lights is also annoying. But daytime running lamps are a genuine safety improvement, not a craze. It’s no surprise that Volvo was first with this technology but it’s now increasingly common and rapidly becoming a key part of a car’s design language. NOGNASHING I MUST comment on the story of the Volvo owner with the ring gear starter problem. In the early 1970s I operated a garage and had a customer with a noisy starter in his Ford Cortina. An inspection found the starter pinion badly chewed and the ring gear damaged. When ordering the necessary parts from my supplier (not Ford) I was told this problem could be fixed by using a pinion with one extra tooth to assist meshing of the pinion and ring gear. This proved to be 100 per cent correct as the result was quieter starter operation. We continued to service this vehicle for many years and never had another problem with it.
Donmarling Thanks for the tip, Don. It’s great having our readers share their experiences and expertise. COROLLA GAZING JUST wondering if you know when the new-look Toyota Corolla hatch is coming out?
Diane Cassar, email It’s expected in the second half of next year. Testing of the final prototypes is well under way in Europe. CAN’T FIND SATNAV I recently bought a Holden Commodore SV6 sport wagon and I’m very happy with it, apart from two things. First, the sales reps talked like the satnav was included in the deal and, having all the buttons there on the dash, I fully expected it to be a feature of the car. Much to my disappointment I later learned that it wasn’t. Second, the digital speedo displays about a 3km/h difference to the analogue speedo.
Darrenthomas Go back to the dealer and argue your case if you’re in any way unhappy with the way the car was represented to you. And if that fails, you may have recourse with consumer affairs. As for the speedometer, some discrepancy between digital and analogue is not uncommon. If in doubt, we err towards the accuracy of digital. ABIG DIFFERENCE WE are looking to trade in our 2007 Ford Territory — and are intending to downsize to either the Hyundai ix35 or the Mazda CX-7. Having looked at both cars, I wonder if the Mazda is worth the extra $10,000? Tanya and Robert Volarevic
If you can’t see and feel the extra quality in the CX-7, you probably have your answer. The Mazda is a classier car, and comes from a more prestigious brand— but if the Hyundai does the job for you, then it’s a good choice . . . and that’s a lot of coin to keep in the bank. OLDMAYBE BEST I KNOW that many car companies are experimenting with hybrid, electric, gas, hydrogen and other forms of propulsion. But I doubt if any will be viable in the Australian context considering the distances involved and the difficulty of providing the infrastructure to service these technologies. In 1907 the Stanley Steamer held the land speed record of 205.5km/h (127.7mph). Would it not pay governments to develop this technology using modern materials and computing power? Heating the boiler could be done using gas, kerosene or any low-grade and cheap combustible material. I don’t know the level of exhaust
Peter Johnston Yes, a great deal of engineering effort and research money being thrown at trying to find a clean, viable alternative to internal combustion engines. We’ve seen many proposals, from plug-in electrics for urban commuting to range-extended hybrids for longer trips, but we’re not aware of any major carmaker working with steam. REPAIRER’S REPAIR MY five-year-old Renault Megane was serviced recently and the repairer broke a spark plug and left the thread in need of specialist removal, possibly requiring the head to be removed. My husband and I have an engineering business and when this sort of thing happens we fix it at our cost. Is it normal for customers to pay for the repairer’s breakage?
Sally Hill We contacted Renault Australia on your behalf and believe they’ve now made good on the repair cost.