Mid Week Mo­tor­ing

The Tribune (NZ) - - MOTORING - Com­piled by Richard Mays

WIN­TER READ­IES

Is your car ready for win­ter roads? Here’s a ba­sic check­list:

Tyre pres­sures and tread: Un­der-in­flated or worn tyres lose wa­ter dis­pers­ing abil­i­ties in­creas­ing the chances of aqua­plan­ing. If head­ing for the snow get ad­vice on fit­ting the right sort of chains. Brakes: Wet roads al­ways in­crease stop­ping dis­tances. Lights: En­sure all are op­er­at­ing and of even bright­ness. Check head­lights for cor­rect align­ment. Keep lenses clean. Bat­tery: Chilly tem­per­a­tures re­duce bat­tery power. En­sure ter­mi­nals are clean and tight and the charg­ing sys­tem works cor­rectly. Wiper blades: Per­ished blades are next to use­less. Us­ing wipers to re­move ice build-up causes dam­age. Use a scraper in­stead. Ex­haust sys­tem: Most win­ter driv­ing is done with the win­dows up, so it’s im­por­tant the ex­haust sys­tem is leak-free. A build up of car­bon monox­ide gas can lead to drowsi­ness. Ra­di­a­tor: Coolant anti-freeze prop­er­ties can de­te­ri­o­rate due to age or di­lu­tion if the ra­di­a­tor is reg­u­larly topped up with wa­ter. Heat­ing and air-cond: Add sig­nif­i­cantly to vis­i­bil­ity and com­fort. Oil and oil fil­ter: Longer en­gine warmup times and shorter trips can re­sult in in­creased oil con­tam­i­na­tion and greater en­gine wear.

UGLY-AS SUV GOES

Pos­si­bly the most po­lar­is­ing Toy­ota ever sold in New Zealand, is outta here. The FJ Cruiser SUV, on sale since 2010, will end pro­duc­tion in Au­gust this year.

The Amer­i­can de­signed, ret­rostyled FJ Cruiser was built as an homage to the pi­o­neer­ing FJ40 that laid the foun­da­tions for the now fa­mous Land Cruiser.

Trou­ble is, the ugly-as FJ bucked the up­wards sales trend for SUVs – in six years only 299 of them have sold here.

It was priced well enough – $10,000 less than the cheap­est ver­sion of the ve­hi­cle it was built off, the Land Cruiser Prado – and tough enough, and the V6 en­gine was pow­er­ful enough, and it drove well... But!

Get over the wacky looks and there were in­her­ent de­sign flaws to put up with – awk­ward to get in and out of front, and back (small sui­cide rear doors); cos­metic run­ning boards; lack of rear vis­i­bil­ity; heavy rear door thanks to the spare wheel place­ment; an old fash­ioned style dash­board.

Not a seller, so g’bye.

HACKER-JACKING

The down­side of hav­ing your car con­nected to the in­ter­net? Hack­ers.

In­ter­net-con­nected and driver­less cars will be tar­gets for hack­ers. Ac­cord­ing to the US Jus­tice Department, that in­cludes ‘‘ter­ror­ists’’ and ‘‘hos­tile na­tions’’. Yikes! So, they want the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try to en­sure ve­hi­cles have built-in cy­ber­se­cu­rity pro­tec­tion.

Ap­par­ently there ain’t no moun­tain high enough, or no ocean deep enough to keep de­ter­mined hack­ers from hav­ing their wicked way with an in­ter­net-con­nected ve­hi­cle.

The bur­geon­ing mar­ket for cars con­nected to the In­ter­net is ex­pected to be val­ued at about US$42 bil­lion (NZ$69.1b) by 2025, with more than 220 mil­lion ve­hi­cles on the roads.

US agen­cies and reg­u­la­tors are try­ing to make the auto in­dus­try more aware of cy­ber threats and quicker about act­ing to plug se­cu­rity gaps.

Ques­tions were raised last year when Fiat Chrysler waited 18 months to tell US safety reg­u­la­tors about a se­cu­rity flaw in ra­dios in­stalled in more than amil­lion ve­hi­cles. Se­cu­rity re­searchers were able to seize con­trol of a Jeep just to show it could be done. The episode led to the re­call of al­most 1.5 mil­lion ve­hi­cles – the first auto re­call prompted by cy­ber­se­cu­rity con­cerns.

The sci-fi sce­nario of hi­jack­ing say 100,000 cars as a weapon, is now po­ten­tially part of a hos­tile na­tion or group’s ar­se­nal.

Time to pre­pare your ve­hi­cle for win­ter run­ning.

The Toy­ota FJ Cruiser has been dis­con­tin­ued due to lack of buyer en­thu­si­asm re­flected in poor sales.

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