Thank you for alerting us to the Bathurst 12-Hour race and telling us that cars such as McLaren and Bentley (pictured) would be running. It certainly whetted my appetite and I stopped work completely on Sunday and put the earphones on. It was a magic race. It gladdened my Aussie-Pom heart no end to see the Bentley, although not British-owned anymore, and the McLaren charging round the circuit flat-chat with that gorgeous exhaust note. But I was surprised to read the Bentley had only a 4.0-litre twin turbocharged engine and wonder if that’s correct.
Brian Lambert, email It’s a V8 with turbos because the V12 is too heavy and thirsty for racing. And it still sounds epic.
With the changes to rules on parallel imports that were just mooted, why can’t we import garden-variety cars like F-Series Fords, Dodge Ram utes and Mercedes-Benz Unimogs? I wonder why we are obliged to buy inferior, tiddler-type, Dinky toy cars? I’m unsatisfied when superior, proper city-sized cars are available. It’s not fair. They cost well below $US80,000 new in the US.
Kai Soukka, email Very few people would describe an F-truck as a commuter car but the changes will only apply to right-hand drive vehicles. Ram pick-ups are available, certified and converted to right-hand drive through the Walkinshaw Group, but the starting price is $140,000.
I have run-flat tyres on my car. I casually mentioned to my local tyre dealer I was thinking about taking a trip around Australia. His retort was, “Not on those run-flat tyres.” He reckons I could get stuck out in the middle of nowhere as the only place you can get replacement run-flat tyres is Sydney or Melbourne. I said I could buy a spare tyre and take it with me. He reckons no one out in the bush has the equipment to take the old tyre off and fit the new one. He also said being able to drive 80km at 80km/h is an urban myth as the tyre will overheat and disintegrate.
John McKenzie, email Your tyre man is right that there are plenty of downsides to run-flats, especially in the bush. You can go more than 80km. I have a mate who drove 200km on a BMW space-saver — then waited two days for the replacement to be flown from the city.
Re towing and low-profile tyres. We have been towing vans for about 35 years and with our current dual-axle 1850kg van have done 35,000km over three years. Our Ford G6 Falcon, running on low-profile Kumho tyres and with a Hayman Reese setup, has had no problems at all. At 90km/h, the van sits level, tracks straight and tows beautifully. We rotate the tyres every 10,000km and get regular wear from
them. Could the readers who had towing problems have other issues: suspension, van setup or type of van?
Garry Turner, email Obviously your rig is better tuned for the job than theirs.
Could you please list the pros and cons of using E10 petrol in modern cars? I have a 2015 Mazda3 SP. What problems might arise from long-term E10 use?
Noel Drew, email If Mazda has approved that fuel for your car there is no real downside. It should make the right power and torque. With today’s fuel setups there is no impact from ethanol’s potential corrosive effects.
SWITCH TO SUV
A sedan person all my life, I now want to buy an SUV, probably my last car purchase. In the top-of-therange models, would you favour the Hyundai Tucson or Kia Sportage or another?
Tony Rocca, email You should first drive the Mazda CX-5, which is the benchmark in the class and gets The Tick. The new Sportage is best of the rest.
ON A GOOD THING
I have had great pleasure driving Nissans, two X-Trail four-wheel drives and now the Dualis two-wheel drive, over the past 10 years. I hired a Juke in Europe last year and, although the car performed well, I was not impressed with the external styling. I am wondering whether Nissan is due for a model change within the range of small SUVs. I’ll be considering a midyear switch from the Dualis although I would like to remain with Nissan.
Anthony Imeson, email Most of Nissan’s SUVs are less than two years old and the Qashqai (Dualis rebadged, pictured) was launched only last year, so it should be your first stop. If you want to compare brands, you should also look at the Mazda CX-5.
A note about clutches in cars. I bought an 18-monthold VE Commodore in 2009 with a worn clutch, which I did not notice. A friend drove the car and told me that the clutch was no good so I returned it to the dealer. They replaced the clutch, no questions asked. I then noticed there was something wrong with the new clutch, so took it back to the dealer, but they said they could find nothing wrong. I took the car to a different Holden dealer, who said the thrust bearing and slave cylinder were faulty. They replaced them without charge and this dealer now gets all of my business.
Glenys Russell, email You got lucky — clutches are definitely a wear-and-tear item. It’s always gratifying to pass on good news.
I have just signed to buy a Mazda6 Sport. I live very close to the reader last week who was complaining about his low-profile tyres and I’d be happy for the dealer to arrange a swap of
his 19-inch rims and rubber.
Brett Poulton, email
I feel a bit like a matchmaker.
I have a Mazda6 2015 Touring wagon bought with 17-inch wheels. I want the 19-inch wheels so can you please forward my email?
Gary Porter, email
This could be a bidding war.
NOT MUCH SPARK
I very much concur with the general view that batteries are increasingly being built to inferior standards. The batteries bought as off-theshelf items from the usual manufacturers seem to be OK, so perhaps there is a range of batteries being sold at a knockdown prices to the motor-vehicle brands.
Alan Ford, email Car makers always squeeze suppliers for the best price so perhaps their cost-cutting is coming home to roost.