Fo­cus on cruisin’ in a Cooper

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Readers Write -

THERE is a Mini Cooper for sale next door. I amafter a re­place­ment for my 1998 Nis­san Pul­sar, which is slowly but surely wear­ing out. I love the look of the Mini but am some­what wor­ried about its prac­ti­cal­ity and po­ten­tial ser­vice and up­keep costs. I also be­lieve this model doesn’t have cruise con­trol and was won­der­ing about the pos­si­bil­ity of hav­ing this fit­ted. Be­fore I saw this car I en­vis­aged buy­ing a new Ford Fo­cus or the like when my Pul­sar fi­nally does wear out. I have a 4WD for work pur­poses, so it would be solely for my per­sonal use, do­ing not many kilo­me­tres but in a ru­ral area, about an hour from Melbourne.

Holly Cathels, email The Mini is a nice toy car, fun to drive but best for only two peo­ple with limited lug­gage. You can ex­pect BMWlevel ser­vice costs and it would not be pos­si­ble to add cruise con­trol with­out a bodgie job. Take a test drive and see if you love it, be­cause that will be the ul­ti­mate test. DARE TO COM­PARE Over the years I have read many ar­ti­cles com­par­ing the cost of crash re­pairs for dif­fer­ent makes of cars. No­body has done one on the costs for me­chan­i­cal re­pairs. I would like to see com­par­isons of the cost of re­plac­ing front discs and pads, water pump, al­ter­na­tor, tim­ing belt or chain, ra­di­a­tor etc. It needs to be done on cars at say 100,000km or five years. It may give peo­ple some idea at what used car to buy if they are wor­ried about these costs. For ex­am­ple, on my BA Fal­con the water pump cost $100 to re­place but on my wife’s Audi it cost $900. Adam, me­chanic since

1949, email It would take a book to cover all the pos­si­ble makes and mod­els and we just don’t have the space. But you have given us a start and other readers are sure to make their con­tri­bu­tion. HEAD CASE Just a query re­gard­ing cylin­der head re­con­di­tion­ing. I am qual­i­fied in the field and have ma­chines at home to do most re­quire­ments as a hobby yet have spent more time deal­ing with my other em­ploy­ment as an earth­mov­ing op­er­a­tor. I’m maybe look­ing at get­ting back into the trade but thought I’d drop you a line to see if de­mand and in­ter­est is still around for such a trade in the fu­ture? I’m from out­side the Gee­long area in Vic­to­ria.

Tim Knight, email There will al­ways be a need for en­gine re­con­di­tion­ing but more likely older and sim­pler cars than the lat­est mod­els. We hear of­ten of peo­ple bin­ning an en­gine for an all-new one when some­thing ma­jor goes wrong, or sell­ing a car once it starts to show age. RUB­BERY FIG­URES My Calais 2009 Sportswagon is fit­ted with Bridge­stone Potenza low-pro­file tyres, 245x45r18. I must con­fess to be­ing naive about low pro­files and am reap­ing the re­wards when learn­ing the cost of re­place­ment. The Calais has cov­ered 21,000km and I had two re­place­ments at about 16,000km. which didn’t help the bank bal­ance. The ve­hi­cle is a 6.0-litre V8, which is driven in a steady man­ner at all times, and has towed a 1700kg car­a­van for ap­prox­i­mately 450 kilo­me­tres since I have owned it. The two orig­i­nal tyres now on the rear will soon be due for re­place­ment. At the time of re­place­ment a Bridge­stone dealer was of the opin­ion the tyres should have been good for a lot more kilo­me­tres be­fore re­quir­ing re­place­ment. I queried the Amer­i­can tyre that

Tyre wear is in­flu­enced by a lot of fac­tors but your rub­ber was cho­sen by Holden for good grip and to match the good look­ing 18-inch al­loys, not longevity. You could try the Cooper brand, which prom­ises long dis­tance, but don’t ex­pect the same cor­ner­ing or brak­ing grip you have now. PUL­SAT­ING I was just want­ing some ad­vice in re­gards to buy­ing a used car. I am­con­sid­er­ing ei­ther a 2004 Peu­geot 307XSI three-door hatch or a 2000 Nis­san Pul­sar SSS five-door hatch. Just want­ing your thoughts on the bet­ter car, ser­vic­ing etc.

Kris, email Pul­sar ev­ery time. The Peu­geot looks nice but the SSS is a fun drive and will be cheaper to run, although it’s get­ting a bit old.

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