Up on mi­nor charges

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Readers Write -

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


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