Focus on cruisin’ in a Cooper
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.