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Journeys : Feb March 2010
If you find a car, we can make it move quicker. You can get the loan you want quicker with an RACT CAR Loan. Most approvals come through within 24 hours and there are no ongoing fees. Ask about competitive rates and further discounts for members. The R ACT is war ning ow ners of diesel-fuelled cars about the sometimes catastrophic results of inadvertently filling up with unleaded petrol. R ACT Roadside breakdow n crews are attending more calls for help when the wrong fuel has been put into a diesel vehicle. The simple mistake can cost the ow ners thousands -- and even tens of thousands -- of dollars in damaged or ruined engines. Darren Moody, R ACT General Manager Roadside and Technical Services, says that more vehicles, including family sedans, are being sold in Australia than ever before and ow ners must be very alert when they fill up, especially if they use self-service fuel outlets. "An unleaded fuel nozzle fits easily into a diesel filler, although luckily for drivers of petrol cars, diesel fillers won't fit into petrol tank fillers," he says. Depending on how much of the w rong fuel goes into a diesel vehicle's fuel tank, and how far the diesel vehicle travels with unleaded petrol in its system, the results can vary from the need to change filters and flush out fuel tanks, to complete and permanent engine failure. "We're noticing a gradual increase in these sorts of incidents, as more diesel-powered vehicles are being driven on our roads," Mr Moody says. "We've had one recent incident where a brand-new diesel vehicle had to be fitted with a completely new engine after the ow ner filled up with ULP." Owners of diesel vehicles need to be very attentive when they refuel, to make absolutely certain that it is diesel that's going into the tank. Overseas, devices are available that block ULP nozzles fitting into diesel tanks, but these are not yet in common use in Australia. RACT warning on diesel vehicles My Subaru Liberty needs one new tyre but the tyre company says I should replace two. Why is this? M. Peters All-wheel drive vehicles have complex transmission drive-trains and electronic systems to distribute drive to all four wheels. If one or two tyres are of a significantly different size the transmission can get 'wound up' and lock, causing serious damage to the drive-train. As well, safety items like electronic stability control may not work as effectively in emergency situations. Any mechanical damage caused by tyre mis- match may also void any warranty you have with the vehicle You need to replace all-wheel drive tyres in at least pairs, replacing either the front or rear set together. They also need to be replaced with the same-size tyre that is on the other set. If the vehicle is fitted with a full- size spare wheel that is still new, you could buy one tyre of exactly the same brand and size and have them fitted as a matched pair, replacing the spare with the best remaining tyre. Ideally it is best to replace all four tyres together on these vehicles rather than just two. Having your tyres regularly rotated and properly inflated will assist with longer and more even tyre wear. My mechanic told me the timing belt on my Camry needs replacing next service. I can't really afford the extra cost. What will happen if I don't have it replaced? G. McDonald The timing belt (sometimes referred to as a cam-belt) is a very important part of your car's engine. As the name suggests it keeps the timing of the crankshaft (bottom end) in time with the camshaft/s (top end) so the engine valves open at the correct time to let fuel in and exhaust out of the combustion chamber. If the timing belt strips its teeth, the bottom and top end of the engine are no longer in sync. This can have dire consequences for the engine. If the engine isn't a free spinning engine (and not too many are these days) there is the possibility that the pistons will hit the valves, either bending the valves, putting holes in the top of the pistons or both. The cost of repairing this damage will pale into insignificance compared to replacing the belt at the manufacturer's recommended interval. Each manufacturer has different intervals for replacement, but in general they range from 80,000 -- 140,000 kilometres. Can you tell me the regulations in Tasmania covering types and colours of 'clearance' lights on both sides of a caravan? I have an eleven year-old folding caravan, on which the side lights have faded so badly that I cannot be sure what colours they were originally. The front half of the lights could be either white or amber, but the rear half is obviously red. They have festoon globes and the whole units are in poor order so I want to replace all four with units that are more reliable (perhaps LEDs) and legal before we get a second police roadside check of faulty side-lights. E. Winkler Where the van is more than 2.2m wide and/or more than 7.5m long, clearance lights are required. They need to be amber forward-facing and red rear-facing. LED clearance lights are available for this purpose and can be obtained from most aftermarket spare parts outlets. If you have a question for Darren Moody, drop an email to email@example.com Q&A Darren Moody answers readers' vehicle maintenance questions Life on the move 29 February / March 10
Dec Jan 2010
April May 2010