Ap­ply the brakes on stop-start

Herald Sun - Motoring - - ROADSIDE ASSIST -

I re­cently bought a new Mazda3 Maxx, with the ac­cursed en­gine stop-start. All my at­tempts to get it per­ma­nently dis­abled have proved fruit­less. Mazda, NRMA, auto elec­tri­cian and me­chanic all agreed there had been lots of in­quiries but no so­lu­tions. Google pro­duced one IT ex­pert who fooled the com­puter into set­ting ex­tremely hot or cold out­side temp, which dis­ables the beast, as you don’t want your air­con or heater cut­ting in and out in stop-start traf­fic. Does any­one know how to fix it? Barry Brain, email This is de­signed to save money on fuel, as well as help­ing the en­vi­ron­ment. The best ad­vice from Mazda Aus­tralia is just to turn the func­tion off each time you start the car. From my ex­pe­ri­ence with stop-start in var­i­ous cars, if you ease the brake pres­sure just a frac­tion after stop­ping, the en­gine will ei­ther keep run­ning or restart.


Why don’t car mak­ers put more ef­fort into per­fect­ing a hy­dro­gen-pow­ered car rather than the bat­tery­elec­tric ver­sion? The in­fra­struc­ture would be much cheaper and eas­ier with hy­dro­gen as I un­der­stand they only need to be filled with wa­ter. Bill Whit­bourne, email It’s not nearly so sim­ple, as hy­dro­gen cars need to be filled with hy­dro­gen to run their on-board fuel cell to make elec­tric­ity to drive the ve­hi­cle. There is zero hy­dro­gen in­fra­struc­ture in Aus­tralia and it’s dif­fi­cult and costly to produce the gas. Bat­tery cars can plug into the ex­ist­ing grid. Hav­ing said that, Toyota and Hyundai are press­ing ahead with the tech­nol­ogy.


I am trau­ma­tised by my ex­pe­ri­ence with my Audi A3. First a faulty al­ter­na­tor was re­placed after the first year, sec­ond the bat­tery died after 2½ years and was re­placed in March this year. Then I had a burn­ing smell com­ing from the en­gine ev­ery time I turned the car off. Now some­thing has started a fire (pic­tured). I’ve re­ported it to Audi Aus­tralia and my in­surance com­pany. Sue Ma, email Audi spokes­woman Anna Burgdorf says: “An in­ci­dent of this na­ture is a very rare event and we ac­knowl­edge that it must have been very dis­tress­ing for Mrs Ma. The in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the cause of the in­ci­dent will be led by Mrs Ma’s in­surance com­pany and our tech­ni­cal de­part­ment will pro­vide in­for­ma­tion and as­sis­tance to the in­ves­ti­ga­tors, should they re­quire us to. We treat all cus­tomer top­ics se­ri­ously. The safety and se­cu­rity of all cus­tomers re­mains our top pri­or­ity.”


My wife and I did some on­line re­search for an SUV. It seems th­ese days that most man­u­fac­tur­ers’ web­sites re­quire you to at least put in your email ad­dress so that you can down­load a brochure, but Jeep re­quired full name, phone num­ber and post­code. I was not en­tirely happy with putting in all of my per­sonal in­for­ma­tion. The next morn­ing the phone starts ring­ing. Then an email ar­rives from a Jeep sales­man want­ing to or­gan­ise a test drive. Later in the day another email tells me they have a re­ally good drive-away deal. Why do they treat peo­ple like this? No Jeep for me. Andrew Stevens, email Fiat Chrysler Aus­tralia spokesman Glenn But­ler says: “Prior to Septem­ber a cus­tomer would visit jeep.com.au and sup­ply all per­sonal de­tails and a brochure would be mailed; a few days after mail­ing the dealer would fol­low up with a cour­tesy call. From Oc­to­ber 7, cus­tomers can down­load the brochure from our web­site and se­lect to re­ceive the brochure by email. Cus­tomer de­tails are still passed to the dealer so that they can fol­low up and en­sure cus­tomer ex­pec­ta­tions are be­ing met.”


The in­flux of peo­ple from Vic­to­ria into the NT has brought a huge rise in peo­ple do­ing il­le­gal U-turns at traf­fic lights. The lo­cals see it, think it’s OK — and now they do it. The prac­tice is il­le­gal in all Aus­tralian ju­ris­dic­tions ex­cept Vic­to­ria. See Aus­tralian Road Rule No.40. Ross Finoc­chiaro, email

Mazda3: Start the car, turn off the fuel saver

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