Townsville Bulletin




What are your thoughts on the huge chrome constructi­ons on new utes? I’ve heard them called roll bars, but do they really need them? I understand practical front and rear units for tradies to store ladders or pipes, but are giant roll bars just expensive showy things adding unnecessar­y weight?

Ron Callander, email

Basically, yes. Sports bars they’re called. You can load or tie things to them, but they’re typically bolted to the tub rather than the chassis, so they won’t serve as an effective roll bar if the ute goes belly up. They’re mainly an image thing.


Re: crash avoidance systems, you said one “only has to save you once to prove its worth”. I’d counter with “how many times does a system try to kill me before I decide it’s dangerous?” When motorway driving a large piece of plastic wrapping flew up and my immediate reaction was to drive through it. The auto emergency braking saw it as a stationary object and slammed on the brakes. A monumental pile up was only avoided thanks to no car being directly behind me. For inattentiv­e drivers these systems may be beneficial, but not attentive drivers.

Colin Rooney, email

Same thing happened to me. A bit of cardboard obscured my car’s front sensor and it slammed the brakes on. Thankfully there was no car behind. Your point’s a good one, but even the very best drivers can and do make mistakes. I still believe these systems save many more lives than they endanger. In an ideal world, everybody would leave a big enough gap to the car in front in case of an emergency stop.


I enjoyed your thoughts on an engine’s cubic inches for towing. I own a Chevrolet 1500 LTZ, just recently covering 12,000km towing a large caravan. I averaged 19.8L/100km, no jerry cans required. I’m glad I wasn’t towing with a Toyota Landcruise­r 200 where it’d be 24-25L/100km.

Bruce O’neale, email

This has turned into a drinking contest. I once sat in Melbourne traffic in a Mercedes-amg GT and averaged 97L/100km over 10 kilometres. Good luck beating that.


I’ve been told by the new car salesman my Mazda CX-5 doesn’t have fixed price servicing. In your review of the CX-5, you quoted service costs as $1805 over five years. My neighbours own a Nissan, Toyota and Subaru and all have guaranteed service costs. Do I have different Mazda service costs because I live in Tasmania? Are guaranteed service prices only

for the likes of Victoria and NSW? Trevor Smith, email

The $1805 we quoted is Mazda’s current advertised pricing across five years. Mazda Australia doesn’t do fixed price servicing or prepaid service plans – unlike many others. Where you live doesn’t matter as Mazda says “a dealer’s price won’t be higher than what is published at” and “we offer national service pricing, so a customer won’t pay more in Tasmania than they would in Melbourne.” Capped-price service costs from other brands are typically only guaranteed for a year – prices will often go up annually.


I have a problem with my Toyota Camry Hybrid’s front parking sensors. I’ve driven into a brick wall on several occasions because they only pick up the sides/corners of the car. The dealer told me the sensors don’t cover the front area of the car. I said I believe that’s a design fault. What should I do?

Bob Henderson, email

The sensors on your Camry are what Toyota call “front clearance sensors” and as your dealer says, only sense the bumper sides. They’re good for stopping you clipping another car when going in or out of a parking space, but there’s no detection in the very front. It’s not a design fault, it’s just not a comprehens­ive front sensor system. We must remember these are driver assist systems, and shouldn’t replace driver awareness and concentrat­ion.


What’s the best and safest way to sell our 2013 Holden Caprice? It’s immaculate and travelled only 22,500km. We traded a Statesman to buy it and the dealer only gave us $1500 after I’d just put on $1200 worth of tyres. I don’t want to be insulted again. I’m concerned with a private sale that ferals could front up, request a test drive and that’s the last we’d see of it. What advice can you offer?

Norman Brunott, email

It’s very much a used car seller’s market so try selling privately. Ensure you take a photo of the potential buyer’s driving licence before they drive and sit with them on the test to ensure they don’t disappear. Car classified websites typically have informativ­e guides to ensure you don’t get scammed and payments are safe for both parties. You may get some tyre-kickers, but also genuine buyers who’ll pay a lot more than a dealer. A lowkilomet­re example such as yours could command $40,000.


It’s a natural reaction to have wheels turned when stationary, waiting to make a right-hand turn. But fatalities have occurred as a result of being rear-ended with wheels turned, pushing you into oncoming traffic. It’s time to reinforce keeping wheels pointing straight until it’s safe to turn.

Lindsay Cooper, email

Thanks for just doing so. Excellent advice.

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