HONEST JOHN EXPERT ADVICE
The dealer you can trust is on hand to answer your questions on car problems and consumer issues
I have a 2018 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth that is used only in good weather, solely for the fun of driving. The car is garaged at all times and it is unlikely to be used over the winter unless we are lucky to have the odd fine day. Can you advise on the best way to make sure that the car is kept in good condition over winter? JL
Get a battery-conditioning float charger that maintains a constant 13.5 volts. CTEK is one common brand; Halfords sells them. Get a custommade car cover (use Google) plus a tyre pump and a good gauge so you can overpressure the tyres when leaving it standing for months, then bring them back down when you take it out. Try to drive it at least once a month on fine, dry days. Put it away clean and dry. Never put it away wet.
Having read your advice about changing timing belts on vehicles that have done 60,000 miles, would the same apply to my Vauxhall Meriva 1.4T that just exceeds this mileage? WM
It has a timing chain engine, so as long as you keep the oil clean you should be OK.
SIX OF THE BEST
I am purchasing a 2016 Peugeot 3008 1.6 e-HDI Active. Is its diesel engine compliant with EU5 or the more recent EU6 emissions regulations? NP
The EU6a regulations applied from September 1, 2015, so any car registered on or after that date would have to comply.
My Jaguar XE is fitted with an automatic emergency braking (AEB)
Have a look at the Citroën C4 Picasso/Space Tourer, Peugeot 5008, Ford S-Max or Galaxy and Volkswagen Sharan.
BACK POOL ILLUMINATIONS
Most newish vehicles have daylight running lights (DRL) fitted on the front,
DAUGHTER DOOR DELIVERY
My daughter’s job involves delivering approximately 100 parcels each day to properties within a 12-mile radius of her home. She needs to replace her old car and thinks a Kia Sportage diesel with its large-volume load area would be suitable. The car would also serve as family transport. Her budget is £13,000. Is diesel such a good choice? If not, what’s a suitable alternative? AW
Any diesel is bad for this sort of use because it soots up the complex emissions system. I’d look for a petrol hybrid, or perhaps something fully electric such as a Renault Zoë hatchback or a Nissan NV e200 van.
I’ll have to check, although I know Peugeot/Citroën is starting to do this.
I recently had the misfortune to purchase a 14-month-old Mercedes from a main dealer. Three of the tyres were totally illegal and the dealer dragged its feet doing anything about it. Fortunately I involved Mercedes Customer Assistance Centre and the cost of the tyres was swiftly refunded. Why would a reputable franchise behave like a 1950s bombsite outfit? DW
Because they are car dealers and want to get rich. The entire motor industry is infected with this attitude. All they think of is the bottom line.
Our five-year-old Ford C-Max 1.0 Ecoboost has served us well and we like the high seating position, but we now need to change to something with an automatic gearbox for about £10,000. Would you recommend another C-Max, or are there alternatives? PS
The Toyota Verso 1.8i Valvematic Multidrive S is unexcitingly reliable.
The engine stop/start system of my six-month-old Jaguar XE has ceased working. Jaguar service advised that the cause is the system conserving the battery. Any thoughts? JF
Regenerating alternators require a long run to charge a battery fully. The simple answer is to drive the car significantly farther than you have been, or else switch off the stop/start.
POP OF THE TOPS
I have a 12-year-old Porsche Boxster, first registered in September 2006. It has been reliable from new except for the roof. For the past two years the cloth at the base of the roof slips outside the plastic window frame and has to be guided back during closure. Is this a
common problem? Is it likely to be an expensive fix and can you recommend a repairer, because my nearest Porsche specialist cannot fix it? KN
It is 12 years old and convertible roofs never last forever. Your best bet is a local “car upholsterer and trimmer” via the yell.com website.
DESPERATELY SEEKING SEASON
I recently bought a 2016 VW Golf R estate DSG. I had Michelin Cross Climate tyres on my previous Ford Mondeo estate. Would you recommend swapping from the Bridgestone tyres supplied as standard to Cross Climates for the winter, or would specialist cold-weather tyres be better? AB
You can get Cross Climates for the Golf R, but some Golf owners don’t like the way they handle. The lower the profile of the tyres, the less well Cross Climates perform. It might be better to swap to Michelin Pilot Alpin or Pirelli Sottozero cold-weather tyres for the winter.
I bought a Subaru Outback 2.5 SE Premium last October and only realised this summer that, with no DAB radio or LW channel, I can’t listen to Test Match Special. Would adding DAB to my car be prohibitively expensive? PD
Not necessarily. You can get information about DAB adaptors at: pure.com/uk/blog/march-2018/ making-in-car-dab-radio-easierthan-ever.
I’m winding up a wedding car business. The fleet includes two limousines, a VW Samba camper van and two Beaufords. Where is the best place to sell them? RB
A classic car auction, although be aware that those in the winter don’t tend to fetch the best money.