If diesel is under attack, what does it mean for owners?
In the Toyota Corolla Hybrid road test, Bill McKinnon referred to "the imminent demise of diesel". Does he mean the fuel or diesel vehicle sales? If the suggestion is in a few years diesel is dead, I and other diesel owners would welcome an explanation.
Colin Whitfield, email
Bill McKinnon says: "Diesel vehicles will continue to be available in Australia for the foreseeable future but Europe and the US are currently legislating diesel out of existence for health and environmental reasons. China and India are considering likewise. Diesel car sales have declined at a rapid rate as a result, hastened by the Dieselgate scandal, to the extent that some companies, including Subaru and Volvo, no longer offer diesel variants in new models."
Why do some trucks and vans, often reasonably large, have very small wheels?
Chris Garvey, email
Smaller diameter rims weigh less (helping fuel economy), are cheaper to produce and re-tyre, and ride more comfortably thanks to relatively deep sidewalls - important things for commercial vehicles. Operators can augment load space in vans, panteches and trailers, too, as the smaller sizes eliminate wheel well intrusions and give a flat floor. Big rims go on lifestyle utes and trucks, not the proper work ones.
SPARE A THOUGHT
Re Mercedes run-flat tyres, as I'm considering the new C-Class. Can normal tyres be used on the standard rims when it comes time to replace them? Would this cause any warranty or mechanical concerns?
Anne Johns, email
Good question. It absolutely should not void the warranty but get this in writing from the Mercedes dealer you purchase from. If they say it will void the warranty, take your business elsewhere. Check with your insurer, too, and there will be no mechanical concerns, only cheaper tyres that ride better. You will have no spare wheel, so ensure the tyre repair kit is up to scratch for your new rubber. Use a reputable tyre shop to make sure you get the correct replacement size.
I bought a Suzuki Swift in 2010 with five-year warranty. Before the warranty expired it would occasionally "pop" out of second gear, often when cornering. The dealer couldn't replicate the fault but recorded it on our records. Once out of warranty the issue became more prevalent and our Suzuki dealer quoted us $1197 for removal and repair from a third party, or $2300 to diagnose the issue if we were to pursue a warranty claim. It feels like a stitch-up as the problem was originally noted during warranty period.
Matt O'Shannessy, email
Suzuki Australia says the warranty fix was originally denied as the car was eight years old when the claim was made. I'm told the claim should have gone higher up to review all factors such as the issue originally occurring during warranty period, and a goodwill fix should have been approved. This has now been done. Suzuki Australia, to its credit, says its internal process was not followed and it aims to ensure it doesn't happen again. Great work, Suzuki.
LONG WAY ROUND
I have a model year 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo diesel. It has done 125,000km and tows a horse float about 750km each month. My driving distance per year is about to increase by 10,000km. Should I sell this car and get a new one to avoid things going wrong, especially with the amount of towing I do?
Sidney Hoffman, email
Buying a new car doesn't mean things won't go wrong, the difference is you should be covered by factory warranty, something your Jeep no longer has. The Grand Cherokee is a superb tow vehicle with its 3500kg limit, plus it's a very comfy way to travel long distances. Expensive and regular services are a pain, and numerous recalls and owner reports of major mechanical failures are worrisome. If yours has been reliable I'd say keep the faith but if you can afford it, for peace of mind seek a diesel replacement with long warranty. You'll get five years on a new Grand Cherokee, Isuzu MU-X or my pick, the Ford Everest. All tow 3000kg and are less than $60K new.
Re Honda Milano red paint fade. Is it because the bonnet and boot are of a different material, say plastic rather than steel? Would this happen to other bright red cars, such as my granddaughter's 2015 Hyundai Accent?
Peter Cowdroy, email
Paint on plastic and metal will fade at a different rate. The unfortunate bonnet, boot and roof get the full blast of overhead sun. I'd suggest heat from the engine gives a double whammy alongside the sun in the bonnet's case. There's smart science out there to show why red paint fades faster than other colours - but there's still no science to explain why red cars go faster ...
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