Blinded by the light

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Readers Write -

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.

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