The Daily Telegraph - Saturday

Problem Solved

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

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CONNECT FLAW

I’m worried about my battery after six weeks of non-use. I used an oldfashion­ed charger on my 2016 Mazda3 and then, after months of perfect running, the car displayed a warning that the battery management system was giving problems. The engine stop/ start function stopped working, too. The car is otherwise running well and I continue to use it. Do I need to have the battery changed (well over £200)? Can I safely continue, or might the electrics fail sooner or later? Is the defunct stop/start an MoT fail? MP A

You don’t say if you disconnect­ed the battery before charging it. If you did not, then, with this type of battery charger, you will have damaged the system, in particular the i-ELOOP capacitor that temporaril­y stores regenerate­d energy for the headlights etc. I think you need to get the car fixed. I have never heard of a failed stop/start system leading to an MoT failure and I can’t see how this could be tested in the limited time allowed for an MoT test.

QSIGNAL BOX Q Last October I bought an ex-demonstrat­or Renault Captur, registered in January 2020. After three weeks the engine wouldn’t turn over and the RAC jump-started it. This happened again five times in November. I rejected the car and it was replaced, but the same thing happened with the replacemen­t. It turned out that the fob for the car’s keyless entry system was close enough in the house to keep sending signals to the receiver, thus flattening the battery. The selling dealer supplied a Faraday key box to prevent this issue and is working on a permanent fix. Have you heard of this before? JB

A

Microwaves pass through windows and walls. It is only through readers like you reporting such issues that I am able to build up a comprehens­ive database of faults and advise other readers. It is also important to store all smart keys in a Faraday box or pouch, to prevent a thief cloning the signal and taking your car. This type of theft is becoming more prevalent, particular­ly on high-end cars such as Range Rovers.

HAVE I THE RIGHT?

I recently turned 70 and renewed my driving licence as required. I passed my test in 1968 and had C1 entitlemen­t [to drive vehicles up to 7.5 tonnes with a trailer up to 750kg], so I thought I would retain this. The DVLA leaflet led me to believe this would happen without need for “medical certificat­e or eyesight proof”. Imagine my surprise when my licence was returned without C1 entitlemen­t. The DVLA said I needed both medical and eyesight proof to retain C1 and, on checking with my GP and optician, found it would cost me about £300. As I very rarely use C1, I accepted it and did without. However, my wife and I plan to buy a camper van and this will limit the size. Was the DVLA’s ruling correct? NC

A

Yes, it is correct. C1 also allows you to drive ambulances and other vehicles up to 7.5 tonnes with a trailer up to 750kg. Boots will test your eyes for free, but will hope to sell you a new pair of spectacles on the strength of it. A GP medical is usually about £150.

QTURBO, OR NOT TURBO? I need to replace my 120,000-mile 2007 Vauxhall Astra 1.8 Life automatic with something similar. I want a petrol engine (without a turbo), a torque convertor automatic, high-profile tyres on steel wheels and a full-size spare wheel. What is my Astra worth? WC

A

Almost everything is now petrol turbo, allowing faster warm-up, lower emissions and better economy. I’d look at a Peugeot 308 or 2008, both with the 1.2 Puretech 130 petrol engine and eight-speed torque converter auto gearbox, but you’ll have to specify 55-profile tyres and might have to buy a spare wheel separately. Another answer might be a 2018 Honda Jazz 1.5i VTEC 140 CVT-7, but these usually have 17in wheels with 305/45 low-profile tyres. Your Astra is worth about £750-£1,000.

QUPWARDLY MOBILE

Q

Which small car (up to 1,400cc) would you recommend to transport a small but heavy (33kg) mobility scooter? It’s difficult to lift and load into our 2010 Vauxhall Corsa and 2014 Mercedes E-class because of their relatively high boot lips. What would you suggest for both car and lifting device? CO

A

Citroën C3 Picasso, Ford Courier Combi, Citroën Berlingo, Peugeot Rifter and, older, Citroën Nemo or Fiat Qubo. I can’t advise on hoists, but a ramp would probably suffice. You could instead go for a full Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV); try brotherwoo­d. com and alliedmobi­lity.com. But unless bought used, they are more expensive.

WRONG KIND OF LEAF

Q

I love my 2016 Nissan Leaf, but it’s not homologate­d for towing; few electric cars (EVs) are. My wife’s Peugeot 2008 GT Line 1.2 has a towing limit of 1,275kg. That might be legal, but at 1,090kg the 2008 is too light to give us much confidence when towing our 1,250kg caravan. My wife wants to keep the 2008 so I am thinking about changing the Leaf for a 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (towing limit 1,500kg). We tow about 3,000 miles a year; the rest of my mileage is short local trips. Am I barking up the wrong tree? CH

A

No. An Outlander PHEV makes sense and they were significan­tly improved in 2018. A Toyota RAV4 selfchargi­ng 4x4 hybrid can tow 1,600kg, but is less suitable for short runs.

RIM UP NORTH

Q

I try to buy UK-made goods where possible. I had set my heart on a Jaguar F-Pace plug-in hybrid (PHEV), but we are about to move to a rural area in northern England and want a car with all-weather tyres, but it seems one can only have summer tyres on the standard 19-inch F-Pace wheels. Any ideas? PW A

Although Jaguar does not fit the requisite 255/55 ZR19 all-weather tyres as standard or as a factory option, you can get Michelin Cross Climate SUV, Goodyear Vector 4 Seasons Gen2, Goodyear Wrangler A/W, Pirelli Scorpion Verde or Scorpion Zero allseason in that size. None is rated ZR, though, only R; you need written permission from your insurer to fit them.

NEW MODEL ARMY

Q

I have a 2017 Porsche Macan diesel but I am concerned about the diesel emissions rule in London. I also do a fairly low mileage. Is a switch to the 2020 facelift petrol Macan worth it, or is there a new model coming soon? RN A

I think the Macan needs a naturally-aspirated V6 rather than the four-cylinder turbo engine of the PDK 2.0 TSI. You might want to look at the new Seat Cupra Formentor, which has impressed everyone who has driven it.

SPACE EXPLORATIO­N

Can you suggest a spacious vehicle suitable for loading a wheelchair­bound passenger? JP

A

You need a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV); brotherwoo­d.com and alliedmobi­lity.com are excellent suppliers, while algysautos.com of Bristol sells imported Japanese vehicles adapted for the disabled. Some are self-charging petrol hybrids. For lowmileage use, avoid diesels.

Q

PULLING THE PLUG

Q

I use an Audi A4 3.0 V6 TDI automatic to pull my caravan but the economy drops by half when doing so. I may change to a hybrid or all-electric SUV, but will the potential range be seriously reduced when towing? CN A

As far as I know, the only pure EV that can tow is the Tesla Model X, but that is very expensive and the range would be significan­tly reduced. Not many self-charging hybrids or PHEVs can tow more than 1,600kg.

Write to us

For consumer and used car advice, or car faults, email Honest John: honestadvi­ce@telegraph.co.uk

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