Up on minor charges
Why can’t a car maker put a tiny engine in a car just to charge the battery? It would only have to be a two- or three-cylinder that had no part in driving the car, just a generator. I know it is not as straightforward as I say but we can buy a generator to power just about everything that runs on electricity. Am I being a bit simple?
Robert Oszinski, email There are no silly questions, only dumb answers. In your case, it’s a great idea and that’s why General Motors has built the Volt. It’s a rangeextender hybrid that works just as you suggest and will be sold here as a Holden within a year. SIXOFONE... I bought a Subaru XV and I’m confused and frustrated about its servicing intervals, especially after reading your recent best-selling SUVS report. The warranty and service handbook indicates maintenance and lubrication should be six-monthly but the owner’s manual contradicts this, saying it should be every 12 months or 15,000km, as you wrote. Will 12-monthly servicing affect the warranty?
William Jasenec, email Subaru Australia’s technical team says: ‘‘ The Australian Warranty and Service Handbook takes precedence over the generic Fuji Heavy Industries manual. The local document states our XV service schedule is based on every six months/12,500km.’’ More details: Subaru Customer Relations, 1800 226 643. LATERRON I’m about to go on an extended camper-trailer trip from Adelaide through the Red Centre and to Broome. Vwsays my 2009 petrol Tiguan must have a minimum of 95 octane fuel but I amconcerned that for parts of the trip it may not be available. If 91 octane fuel must be used, should I add a proprietary octane booster? If so, what would you recommend and would it affect thevwextended warranty?
Jock Osborne, email We recently heard of a Vwdeveloping a major fault from running on 91 for an extended period, so we’d recommend minimal time away from 95. Any reputable brand of octane booster should help. BRAKES BROKE I need help with a warranty issue with Volkswagen Australia. My wife took our 15-month-old Polo, which had travelled less than 10,000km, for its first service and also reported that the brakes were When a burst rear brake line caused my daughter’s 2003 Ford Fairmont’s brakes to fail at 100km/h, she subsequently lost control, rolled the car and was extremely lucky not to be hurt. On the Ford website I noticed that in 2007 there was a service suggestion that the brake lines should be changed. Why wasn’t this a full-blown recall? Obviously it’s still a problem and is still putting lives at risk? Does Ford have a system in place to rectify the problem or compensate people for damage and injury? Is this still an issue with Ford or has the company wiped its hands of the problem?
Lawrie Brooks, email How is torque — the turning force applied to the wheels — produced? Is it a function of the gearbox and differential ratio? Why is the band of revs where torque is made the maximum? The Commodore and Falcon have different torque figures in engines of nearly the same capacity, but why? Why do diesels have more torque than petrol engines?
John Silvestrera, email Torque is the more fundamental measure, since horsepower is torque multiplied by revs. It’s the turning force at the engine’s crankshaft and is influenced by the size of the cylinders, length of the power stroke and tuning of the engine. So any number of variables come into effect. Diesels have more torque because they typically have a longer stroke for more push and are tuned for low revs, which is why even petrol engines make maximum torque well below the revs for maximum power.
High octane: Atrip through the Red Centre fuels