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Journeys : April May 2010
Q&A Darren Moody answers readers' vehicle maintenance questions Getting our emissions in order Toyota Prius ow ner Nicholas Cummings queried the statistics we reported in the article 'New vehicles show their green credentials' (Feb-Mar issue of Motor News Jour neys.) We quoted the National Transport Commission's recent study of vehicle types, which ranked Smart as having the lowest emissions at 113 g/km. Nicholas correctly noted that the Green Vehicle Guide puts the Prius in front, with 106 g/km. We passed on the query to the NTC, who responded promptly with the following explanation: The NTC report focuses on corporate-wide average emissions rather than emissions from individual vehicles. This is because information from individual vehicles is widely available (eg the stickers on windscreens) whereas there had bee n no previously- available data on corporate averages for Australia. The average carbon emission values from all Smart vehicles sold in a year are lower than the average emissions from all Toyotas sold in a given year. This is not surprising given Smart only makes very compact and low-emission vehicles, whereas Toyota has a wide range of vehicles, from the low-e mission Prius to the Prado. The original article didn't make this distinction clear -- we thank our environmentally-aware reader and vehicle-ow ner for pointing it out. Life on the move 31 April / May 10 Recently we moved a vehicle out of a garage to swap cars. When I attempted to return the first vehicle a couple of minutes later, it wouldn't start (2005 BMW, 6-cyl petrol EFI engine, 45,000 km). I phoned the dealer who advised it was most likely flooded and suggested a procedure to follow. Although the car nearly started, it wasn't until the same procedure was repeated next morning that the vehicle started. The dealer told me the above occurrence is not uncommon, when a virtually cold engine is stopped then started again over a short interval. Is this typical of all contemporary fuel-injected engines or is it more likely to be model-specific? With increasing numbers of larger multiple unit developments, the parking arrangements on some don't allow for dedicated car parking spaces. This is achieved by arranging inline parking or 'jockey' parking, which seems a poor arrangement if the first vehicle needs to be swapped as per my experience. Is this parking arrangement good practice if modern vehicles can be flooded so readily? Rob Aitkins In a nutshell, a cold engine requires more fuel to start and to r un smoothly until war med up. The likelihood of flooding a modern fuel- injected car is much less than an engine with a carburettor, but it will happen from time to time. Most fuel-injected engines have the ability to clear the flood by holding the accelerator fully down while cranking the engine, which cuts the flow of fuel from the injectors. Things like ambient temperature and humidity can also increase the chances of it happening. Anecdotally we hear that some makes are more susceptible to this than others, but on the whole flooding happens much less now than it did 25 years ago before fuel injection became commonplace. We live in the North East of Tasmania on a gravel road. The last time the road was fully graded was about a year ago. We are running light truck tyres on our Toyota Camry, as recommended by the tyre service. Recently we had a flat tyre due to a rock piercing though the thickest part of the tread. We have other vehicles with standard tyres and have had a number of flats also caused by rocks. We recently had a interstate visitor who mentioned there was an Australian Standard for gravel roads. Do you know anything about this? Do you have any suggestions of a better way we can protect our tyres? David Weynberg Gravel roads are required to be maintained to a standard. There is an Austroads Guideline on Pavement Technology and Part 6 of this document is the reference for unsealed pavements, which includes maintenance of the surface, grading and resheeting. The owner of the road, probably the local council in this case, should undertake regular maintenance in line with this standard. I appreciate that the significant wet spell we endured last year has contributed to increased road deterioration in areas across the state. As well, councils and DIER have been busy for the last couple of months with repairs and maintenance on what I assume is a 'greatest-needs' basis, probably dependant on traffic volumes. I'd be banging on the door of the road owner, showing them the evidence of what the road is doing to your tyres. I'm not sure there is too much else you can do, other than travel at lower speeds to lessen the impact on your tyres. We were very interested in your response about timing belts (Q&A in the last issue of Motor News Jour neys). We are age pensioners and also need to replace a timing belt on our 2004 Hyundai Accent at 90,000 km OR 72 months. We have only done 24,000 km so the need is time-based. As we have been told it will cost about $400 we wonder if the time-based method is valid when kilometres are low, or are the risks as great as you detailed in your previous response? Peter and Valerie Tucker This question is more common than you might think. Timing belts are predominantly made of r ubber, which does tend to deteriorate with age. That said, the rubber and construction of these belts is high-quality given the environment they are used in. The likelihood of a failure in the shorter ter m would be low, but we wouldn't recommend against the manufacturer's directions of changing the belt on a time basis if the kilometres weren't reached. Sorry, it looks like you may need to spend the $400 to get it replaced. If you have a question for Darren Moody, drop an email to email@example.com
Feb March 2010
RACT MNJ June July 2010