HON­EST JOHN EX­PERT AD­VICE

The dealer you can trust is on hand to an­swer your ques­tions on car prob­lems and con­sumer is­sues

The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - - OPEN ROAD -

WEB DO­MAIN

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.

LINKS COURSE

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.

SWITCH HUNT

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.

IN­DUS­TRIAL IN­AC­TION

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.

BOR­ING ARSE­NAL

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.

LONG-DIS­TANCE RUN­NER

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.

STICKY WICKET

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.

BRIDAL PATH

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.

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