Honest John's Motoring Agony Column 08-09-2018 Part 1

Published 07 September 2018

Today we examine a dodgy EC Directive, glimpse at things to come, treat an electric shock and in part two find changes under the bonnets of camper vans.

As usual, emails to Honest John should be addressed to: letters@honestjohn.co.uk  Please try to keep them as short as possible.


EC hot air

During the recent hot weather, the air conditioning of my 30-month old Nissan Qashqai failed to operate properly and appeared to circulate the outside ambient temperature from the ventilators. I reported this to the Nissan dealer in Cwmbran and arranged a repair that I expected to be covered by the 3-year warranty issued by a Nissan garage in Newport, Gwent. I was quoted £250 for a re-gas, which came as a shock. I questioned why that service was not covered under the warranty and I was told that it was the result of normal usage. Only if there was a leak on the system would the service be carried out under warranty. After reluctantly agreeing to the re-gas, should it be necessary, I was later informed that the air-con system contained only 116mg of gas whereas its capacity was 500mg. When the service was completed, I was informed that no leaks were found and the £250 charge would be made. My previous vehicles, all of which I have owned for periods of around 7 years each, have been Volkswagens and over 20 years I have never been troubled with any air-con problems. Is it reasonable to expect that over a 2 to 3 year period, 75% of the air-con gas should deteriorate or be consumed by normal usage? There is nothing to suggest this in the Nissan guidebook and neither was it drawn to my attention after the 2nd year service had been completed. Is the air-con problem that I have experienced with the Nissan peculiar to this make of vehicle?

MC, Newport, Gwent

This is because EC legislators 'Directed' car manufacturers to use refrigerant R1234YF instead of R134a. R1234YF is flammable, leak-prone via the seals, slightly less efficient and costs a lot more than R134a originally cost, but diminishing supplies of R134a have now increased its price to about the same. R1234yf is significantly more expensive because Honeywell has a worldwide monopoly on it. R1234yf also requires a slightly larger or more efficient condenser than R134a, a more robust leak-resistant evaporator and a new type of compressor PAG oil. So this has been a real EC stitch-up on the public, but obviously brilliant for Honeywell shareholders. Unfortunately, voting for Brexit doesn't stop this sort of thing because the EC has made it a pan-European standard. Only remaining in the EC and exposing and campaigning against EC Directives that benefit monopolies could accomplish that. See: http://www.ac4cars.co.uk/r1234yf.html /

Toyota RAV-4 2019 F34 

Thinking ahead

I have a 2011 Toyota RAV-4 2.2D 150HP, now with 73,000 miles on the clock. Throughout the period of ownership we have had a caravan and have towed it about 3,000 miles per year. The Toyota has been and still is wonderfully reliable. Though it is still going extremely well I feel it is time to replace it because I get concerned what we would do if we were travelling say through Poland and it went wrong. I feel it is time to change, however are very, very confused. What I should buy: petrol or diesel? My concern is not directly related to the pulling power differences but the future value. It appears that the Government is saying that there will be no more internal combustion vehicles on the road by 2030. Spend say £40,000 now and in 5 years time it will be worthless. I need a car that can tow a 1,500kg MTPLM caravan.  The car should have a minimum kerb weight of round 1,700kg and the power to tow. What fuel power should I buy? Hybrid would be excellent if it could tow. I do not know of any Hybrid that can tow?

EI, via email

The government is not saying that. It is saying that from 2040 all new vehicles registered must either be electric or electric hybrid. There is no way it could take 30,000,000 existing vehicles that aren't electric or hybrid off the road, though by 2040 that number will probably have shrunk to around 10,000,000. You have been fortunate with your RAV-4 so far. The next generation will be petrol or petrol hybrid only, coming in 2019, along with a hybrid of the new Honda C-RV that Honda says can tow 2,000kg, though 1,500kg is more realistic: /road-tests/honda/honda-cr-v-15-vtec-turbo-2018-road-test/

Wall Charging Socket For EVs 

Socket and see

Our Chargemaster electric car charger intermittently fails. It recovers after isolating it for many hours, usually overnight. I have spoken to Chargemaster and they say there is nothing wrong with the unit. We have asked them to put this in writing but they have not replied. What should we do?

DR, Camberley, Surrey

The fault may be in the electricity supply to your house. You need to get an expert assessment of the situation and this is something I know nothing about. This website links to Chargemaster help and advice: https://chargemasterplc.com/help-and-advice/ This links to a forum post from someone who had the same problem, now fixed: https://www.speakev.com/threads/16a-polar-home-charger-not-working-now-solved.14313/

Land Rover Discovery Sport Side

Totally sumped

I have a 19-month old LandRover Discovery Sport. I opted for the 150HP model, which is perfectly adequate. It required its first oil change at 12,000 miles, the second at 21,500, and now asks for another at 27,000.  Fortunately I took out the service pack for 3 years, but there must be something wrong with the engine. Most of my journeys are more than 50 miles, at about 70mph, unloaded, and I never turn off the engine from hot running, e.g. straight off the motorway. I have averaged 44.2mpg over its life so far, so am not thrashing it. At the first 21,000-mile service they carried out a software upgrade for the DPF. If it continues like this, do I have a case for claiming that the engine is not fit for purpose, having been sold with a claimed 21,000 service intervals? I would always change it at 10,000-12,000 miles anyway, but this is getting silly. I have never heard the DPF regenerating or smelled any diesel after switching off.

MvB, via email

21,000-mile oil service intervals were always ridiculous and would destroy an engine within 100,000 miles. Every engine needs an oil and filter change at least every 10,000 miles or every year. (Our most regularly used car gets one every 5,000 miles.) But the reason for your oil contamination issue must be that the DPF is located too far from the engine to passively regenerate so cannot ever work as effectively as a close-coupled DPF and has to ‘actively’ regenerate more frequently using ‘post-injected’ diesel to burn off the soot in the DPF. If you ever sense Intense heat under the car when you stop, this signifies ‘active regeneration’, so never switch off when it is happening because if you do the post-injected diesel will sink into the sump.


All-consuming interest

There have been lots of letters about manufacturers’ quoted fuel consumption figures but my experience is slightly different. Living in the South of England, we recently undertook an extensive tour of Scotland and before we departed the fuel tank was topped up and the trip computer zeroed. During the tour I carefully recorded the fuel we purchased (almost 400 litres) until the final fill-up on our return home. My calculations provided an overall fuel consumption of 40.96 mpg for our 1.4T 140PS Astra. However, whilst the trip computer agreed with the 3500 plus miles covered it displayed an average fuel consumption of 43.9 mpg. This suggests that all the fuel consumption data displayed on vehicle computers are optimistic. Have other drivers observed similar discrepancies on other makes and models?

NH, via email

For 25 years in hundreds of cars I have been doing what you did on your trip. Yes, most car 'fuel computers' are 5%-10% optimistic in terms of recorded miles per gallon of fuel, and that’s in addition to the odometer probably adding 2-3 miles for every 100.

Peugeot 3008 Bronze F34 Mountains

Yet again?

Since 2010 I have run 2 Skoda Yetis in succession, both 140TDI 4WDs. They have been good cars although a little firm and the seats are a bit hard. They have been reasonably reliable, although I did have to have a new Air Conditioning compressor and some sort of engine control unit on the first one. Luckily I had an extended warranty. The new Karoq seems to be a good car but it is generic and boring. You would never find it easily in an airport car park, unlike the Yeti. I really am warming to the Peugeot 3008 1.2 Turbo, but in the past French car reliability and build quality have always worried me. What's your advice?

JB, via email

I like the 3008. Very good. Grip Control works. Very distinctive. Very stylish and looking better the more I see on the roads. Test: /road-tests/peugeot/peugeot-3008-2017-road-test/ A 3008 1.2 Puretech 130 EAT8 will be my next car.


Pressure crooked

We purchased a new Honda Jazz 1.3iEX automatic last year and have experienced the tyre deflation warning being activated on several occasions. We have taken the car back to the dealer and they have not cured the problem. The car has low profile tyres. This must be a common problem as Honda Bognor has produced a video and our dealer a leaflet on re-setting the display. Have you any ideas on what is causing this?

LD, via email

They are quite sensitive, particularly when the high June/July temperatures raised the pressures in the tyres by up to 4PSI and increased any disparity. Just a matter of patience to sort it out.

Speed Cushion Pothole Damage 

Getting the hump

Two weeks ago, four young men died and a girl was critically injured in a local crash where Police described the car as "travelling at speed". This was but one of many similar crashes involving young male drivers who are influenced by a culture of speed, seemingly "encouraged" by motor manufacturers. I don't need to describe the horror of the clear-up by the Emergency Services, the blood-stained twisted metal, the distorted bodies, the distress of the Police who have to inform their relatives, the anguish of their parents. In this week's column you deride councillors for installing speed bumps. Of course nobody likes them. They inconvenience us all, but those to blame are those who ignore posted speed limits feeling they have a unilateral right to drive as they chose regardless of the safety of others. It is they who owe your correspondent £420 and to every one of us who suffers. Apparently your solution to keeping to the speed limit is to allow vehicles to park on both sides of the road. Not only does this narrowing of the carriageway impede emergency vehicles but also obscures sight lines from side roads making egress difficult. Not a viable solution in most cases. I always thought speed control was by gears, brains and brakes. Perhaps responsible motoring journalists should be encouraging a culture of consideration for other road users, pedestrians and residents. Our roads are for universal public use. They are not a playground for motor sport.

BD, via email

Speed humps probably kill more people than the lives they are supposed to save. They directly kill motorcyclists and cyclists and elderly people who trip over them. They are utterly lethal when covered in snow, which cannot be ploughed from roads with speed humps. They destroy the sub-structures of the roads, creating even more danger and colossal inconvenience and expense. And they abrade the hidden inner shoulders of car tyres, leading to high-speed blowouts and death crashes elsewhere. This may well be what happened in the case you describe.

MGB 4.6 V8 1971

Summer funcar

I have for the past 13 years had two Porsche Boxters and recently a Mercedes SL350. In November last year l sold my Mercedes SL and bought a Land Rover Evoque to have more space for our drives down to Italy. l was 70 in August and still miss having a sports car l am thinking of buying either an MGB, MGC or a Mercedes 129 series SL or other. As l only want to spend circa £11k, what would you recommend? The car would only be used in summer months and occasionally in the winter and would be garaged when not in use. I would like a car that would ideally hold its price going forward.

AH, via email

For 1,000-mile trips to Italy I'd avoid an old British sportscar unless you don't mind filling the boot with tools and spare parts. An R129 probably makes the best sense, but these, too, have their quirks. Lots of electrical issues and a new transmission can set you back £3,500 plus. BMW Z3s are currently on the up, but look more like sportscars than drive like sports cars, especially if you are used to Boxsters. Just for bimbling about locally then no reason not to go for an MGB. Prices have come down quite a lot. Easier to fix an MGB than an R129. Another possibility is a late Alfa Spider. Or maybe a FIAT Barchetta.


Black to the future

My wife has decided to give up driving and we are now looking to sell her May 2009 Toyota Aygo Black, which we have owned since new.  It has a full service history, current MOT and only 18,000 miles on the clock. It has some minor bodywork damage: scuffs and scratches and a small dent in one of the sills. My question is, should I get the bodywork repaired before trying to sell it in the hope that it would be more attractive to a buyer, or just sell it as it is? Could you give me an idea of its value and the best way to sell it? Should I advertise it or use a car buying site?

DP, via email

Not worth patching it up because it's only worth about £2,000 tops. A buyer intending to use a shopping car like this might see the scratches as a bargaining tool because he/she knows that he/she will inflict a few, so no point in buying an immaculate car. A cheap way of selling cheap cars can be a photo ad in a local newsagent's window.

VW Passat Estate 2003 Side 700

Famous Five

I have owned my 1999T VW Passat VR5 estate since 2000 and have done 83,000 miles. Given its excellent condition and reliability, common sense tells me I should run it until it fails. Unfortunately, common sense has (temporarily?) deserted me and I find myself having to part with it. Webuyanycar offered £50, less the admin fee so I am aware of what the market thinks of the car, but, given its rarity (I have seen only two other VR5 Estates since I bought it) is it likely to appeal to anyone, VW enthusiast or whoever?

SB, Kingswinford

You could try advertising in the Club GTI Classifieds: https://www.clubgti.com/forums/index.php / Might appeal to someone as a race car tug, or just as a general, practical runabout.


Gripping yearn

After years of satisfied motoring in my Subaru Impreza I need a smaller 4-wheel drive motor (they don’t make one). I seem to recall that you mentioned some time ago that the alternative “4 wheel” drive/traction-control systems when compared with Subaru’s all-wheel system have drawbacks to be avoided. I would appreciate your advice please. (I’m not after an economically priced vehicle. I’d be happy to pay for the best available).

AS, Altrincham

The advantage of automatic 4WD is surer steering and handling on corners. The disadvantages are that all tyres have to be kept within a wear disparity of 3mm and that most systems require a centre clutch oil change every 3 years or 38,000 miles. There's a cute and boxy new off-road 4WD Suzuki Jimny on the way if that appeals, a Suzuki Ignis 4WD; a FIAT Panda 4WD and Panda Cross; or you could go for a front wheel drive Peugeot or Citroen with 'Grip Control' and ‘all weather’ tyres that are actually more effective in snow than a 4WD on standard tyres.

Peugeot 2008 2016 Side Red Staticjpg

Expectation quashed 

My wife and I have owned Datsun/Nissan cars for the past forty years, because of their reliability. But my 2016 Qashqai 1.2 DiG-T Tekna has been a disaster. It has been returned twice for front sensor faults, the turbocharger disintegrated and was replaced; at its two-year service there was found to be no oil in the engine, so it was recalled after three months. Then, on a bright summer’s day, the battery drained, and had to be replaced. And on its recall the oil had to be topped up again, and the timing chain replaced. After so many years driving one brand, our knowledge is narrow. Could you recommend a similar sized car as a replacement that is reliable?

JF, via email

Best, a Peugeot 2008 1.2 Puretech 130 with Grip Control. As yet no tidal wave of problems with this engine that has been on the go since 2012. Or a Honda HR-V. Or a Toyota C-HR.

Suzuki Ignis 2017 Blue 

Honey, I shrunk the car

We are very fond of our WagonR but after 15 years good service we are thinking we should make a change. We can find nothing similar in shape (it fits neatly into our awkward shaped garage) and wonder if it would be wise to try and find the same model with low mileage, or would spare parts be a problem now? Is there anything of similar size out there please?

PD, via email

The successor to the Wagon R + was the Suzuki Splash (and its clone, the Vauxhall Agila). Sales ended in 2014, but plenty of them around. 1.0, 1.2, 1.2 auto and 1.3 diesel. This is replaced by the Suzuki Ignis that we like very much: /carbycar/suzuki/ignis-2017/ Closest and recent match of the smaller Wagon R was the Perodua Kenari, but this is not recommended.


Broken rules

You recently published a list of laws of which many motorists are unaware. You omitted one that I have yet to discover anybody knows about. Some years ago a colleague overtook a car, which, without signalling, turned right from a main road into a country lane and precipitated an accident. The police attended and, failing to read their body language, he insisted they prosecute - and was convicted of driving without due care and attention. The normal short white central lines had been replaced by the longer broken ones that we all see regularly near junctions. Apparently if you’re on the wrong side of them any ensuing accident is deemed to be your fault.

RS, Hartlebury

Now that is a surprise. Because Rule 127 of The Highway Code expressly states: "A broken white line. This marks the centre of the road. When this line lengthens and the gaps shorten, it means there is a hazard ahead. Do not cross it unless you can see the road is clear and wish to overtake or turn off." So your colleague could have appealed.

Pirelli P Zero Tyre With Protective Ridge 

Battle of the bulge

I have a BMW 750i, with Goodyear 245/40 R20 99Y runflat tyres, within tread spec. Last year I was advised by the garage to change a front tyre due to a sidewall bulge. This year the MoT flagged up that the other front tyre has a sidewall bulge and needs "urgent attention". In both cases the bulge was not very obvious. Can you please advise if this is probably normal pothole damage and is a tyre change always essential for this type of damage? If the car is parked for two months in one spot, would you expect that to contribute to the damage? The car is generally driven in a conservative manner.

MB, via email 

Will be pothole or kerbing damage. 40 profiles are vulnerable. If you replace with Pirelli P Zeros they have a ridge around the tyre to protect the sidewalls and the wheel rims against kerbing damage.


Driveway drains

My car is a 2008/58 SEAT Ibiza 1.4 SE 1.4, five door. Over the past couple of years I have had trouble with the battery draining. At first I thought it was the cold winter weather doing this. However, it has now happened twice in the recent heat wave when the car has sat on my driveway for 3 days or more. I go to start the car and there is no battery life. Low battery flashes on the radio and the car will not turn over. I have had various mechanics, a local garage that specialises in SEAT and a mobile mechanic who suggested changing the battery. I did change the battery in February. However, since this it has not started twice after re-charging the battery and the car standing on the drive for a few days. I have been able to find a few forums that also show this problem with the same/similar car. They have found that there is a computer software update that the car needs. I wonder if you could help me with this issue and if the car does need a software update? Or anything else?

SN, via email

Yes, this is a recognised problem and a SEAT dealer can perform an ECU software update: /carbycar/seat/ibiza-iv-2008/?section=good / Might not be free, though. Another possibility is that the 'see you out' interior light dimmer switch remains live after the light goes out. Simple check for this is to turn the interior light off completely so it does not come on when you open a door.

Renault Clio D CI90 Side FL Villa Maschere

Clio pater

Our granddaughter who will be 21 in October has been saving for her own car since she passed her test at 17. She is very taken with the current shape Renault Clio and hoping to pick up a good used example at the change of registration in a few weeks. Is this a sensible choice? Or is there any other similar sized and looking car that she should consider?  Any advice you can offer would be appreciated.

IM, via email

Very good looking cars. Tight choice of engines at first: only a 1.5 diesel or a 900cc 3-cylinder turbo petrol. The petrol makes the most sense: /carbycar/renault/clio-iv-2013/


Key hole surgery

I have a 2015/64 petrol Ford Focus that has done 24,860 miles in just over three years. I now get a message when starting up: "Key Battery Low, Replace Soon". This is presumably a car-generated message as it applies to either of our 2 keys, one of which is hardly ever used. I have spoken to my dealer asking whether the battery can be replaced by Timpson's or Halfords (as it's 50 miles round trip) and they recommend making the journey to them to do this (the charge is £4 each). Do you have any thoughts on this?

AH, via email

Of course Timpsons can do it. But it has to be done very quickly, within 10 seconds of the old battery being removed, or the keys will lose their codes. Nevertheless £4 each is fair enough. And the 50 mile round trip will do the car a bit of good.


7 year itch

7 years ago, you recommended a Hyundai i10 for my first car, and I've loved it. However, now I'm thinking of upgrading to a car that is a bit sturdier and smoother for motorway driving, which makes up at least two thirds of my modest 7,000 miles a year. The rest of my driving is around London, so a car that isn't too wide (for parking), and is strong on fuel efficiency and running costs, are important. As before I would like to buy a second-hand car for best value, but I have no idea where to start looking or what budget is sensible! Many thanks in advance for your advice,

JG, via email

A Suzuki Swift 1.0T Boosterjet mild hybrid is good and very economical, but may be too new. Suzuki Baleno 1.0T Boosterjets go back another year. If sticking with Hyundai/KIA, for the warranties, the KIA Rio 1.0TGDI (petrol) is a lot better than the dull but worthy 1.4.

Click to Honest John’s Motoring Agony column 08-09-2018 Part 2


groaver    on 7 September 2018

Re: EC hot air

Why would the EU want to help an American multinational conglomerate stitch up the aircon market?

glidermania    on 7 September 2018

HJ shut button his lip over attempting to lecture us on his disagreement on Brexit and stick to what he's best at, giving some opinion on cars.

Palcouk    on 7 September 2018

HJ shut button his lip over attempting to lecture us on his disagreement on Brexit and stick to what he's best at, giving some opinion on cars.

HJ made no stance on Brexit other than mentioning that Brexit would have no impact

Engineer Andy    on 8 September 2018

HJ shut button his lip over attempting to lecture us on his disagreement on Brexit and stick to what he's best at, giving some opinion on cars.

HJ made no stance on Brexit other than mentioning that Brexit would have no impact

If you read his reply again he says that we should stay in and argue to get the EU's policy as regards the use of R1234yf changed. He has, in the past, made comments in his column that he favours Remain if I recall correctly.

Palcouk    on 7 September 2018

Because the companies highly paid lobyiests pulled the whool over incompetent beaurocrats

Honestjohn    on 10 September 2018

Merely the very simple point that if you object to the rules of an organisation you want to sell things to you need to be a member of it.


MrPogle    on 7 September 2018

Broken rules

The law here doesn't really matter. Overtaking through a junction is incompetent driving.

Scot5    on 7 September 2018

Ridiculous arguments by HJ regarding speed humps and completely ignoring the fact that they do reduce speed hence have saved many lives. Speed humps are everywhere yet I couldn't tell you the last time I heard about anyone's tyres blowing - it's fake news. Old people being killed by tripping over them? Well that may well be true ( I'm certainly not aware of it) but must be very rare. But compared to people who've been killed on the streets due to speeding, tripping over them is by far the lesser of two evils. Sorry HJ but you've come over as trying to defend the indefensible. Regarding the accident the questioner speaks of - if young people are determined to speed then what use are speed humps? I'd put forward an argument they may actually increase the 'thrill' or send an inexperienced driver's car out of control if they hit them at speed. As for the comment of speed being encouraged by motor manufacturers? Yet more fake news I'm afraid. Name a single manufacturer who says it's OK to break the law. People do stupid things - we've all done stupid things in a car at sometime. Other than Big Brother taking control of the car, you're never going to prevent idiots on the road.

Edited by Scot5 on 07/09/2018 at 23:35

Engineer Andy    on 8 September 2018

Scot - just like speed cameras - many people who break the law will still do so despite them. I've seen many 'yoofs' drive a ridiculously fast speeds over speed humps, and on more than one occasion actually have all four wheels in the air and nearly lose control when they 'landed' on the other side.

For many other people, and again, like with cameras, they concentrate way too much on braking hard just as they approach the hump (or camera), then floor it after passing, which means they could easily bottom out or take their attention away from the rest of the road (e.g. to the speedo for cameras) when they should be watching for people crossing.

As HJ says, cumulative damage is done to tyre sidewalls (especially those many of us who have cars [not me] with low profile tyres), which can easily lead to blowouts on fast moving roads like motorways, which can easily lead to multiple fatality RTAs. A lot of the money councils spend on road humps, including their maintenance could be spent on policing speed limits with greater numbers of traffic officers and coming down hard on bad driving in the court system. How much compensation for motorists/home/business owners after road defects (including and especially speed humps) cause damege to cars and buildings is then not spent on better education of young drivers and policing our roads?

You have to think about this from other angles - its often just moving the problem elsewhere, rather like electric cars that require polluting, inefficient power stations to provide electricity for them, rather than trying to avoid the use of the car in the first place by better city planning and public transport.

Captain-Cretin    on 10 September 2018

Speed humps also make it more difficult for Ambulances, Police an Fire Brigade to get anywhere.

Yes, their wider vehicles can safely straddle most humps, but parked cars may not allow that.

In addition, my local crazies - sorry I meant council, fitted full width humps to many roads.

Still doesnt stop the m****s as it gives them an excuse to wheel spin off the top.

Speed humps only do one thing, and do that badly. Actual Police doing their job can do many, many things - although it does actually require them to take notice and not ignore blatant law breaking.

I have seen them ignore 3 adults and 9 children in a Mini Metro doing regular school runs.
Lorries doing waaaay more than 60mph (overtook me at over 80mph)
Cars customised with road illegal mods;
Tyres sticking out inches from the bodywork,
Wheels canted over so that only a couple of inches of rubber are in contact with the road.
Suspension lowered so far, the body work is damaged and the tyres get grooved going over the slightest bump.
etc. etc.

bakeart    on 13 September 2018

I think the design of the humps is often the problem. I don’t like the cushions, as drivers are tempted to straddle them potentially causing wear on the inner edges of the tyres as he has described in the past. Humps that rise fairly gently to a flat central area are OK in my experience, they don’t cause the suspension/tyres much of a problem and I think they still encourage people to slow down.
He is right though about some of the “sharp” humps that could damage the tyres. Another problem arises when they are poorly marked and difficult to see.

Scot5    on 7 September 2018

Yet more servicing advice from HJ. It's simply wrong to suggest a modern car requires servicing at least every 10k miles. We all drive our cars differently, we drive them in different environments and in different conditions - how can anyone suggest they all be treated to the same oil change at 10k? What's wrong with flexible servicing? There is no evidence whatsoever that an engine will not last 100,000 miles if it isn't serviced every 10k miles. What is it with HJ and fake news?

Last point - I've never kept a car for more than 40,000 miles. If it were true that oil needs changing every 10k rather than adhere to flexible servicing, why should I care if that engine doesn't last 100,000 miles? I pay for the time I own the car, why should I shell out my money on behalf of the 3rd, 4th or 5th owner? I couldn't give a monkey's about them. I note HJ had a Kadjar on test and the car had it's first service. How many people are aware that an oil change is not part of a Renault's 1st year service? Yet how does HJ explain the number of Renaults or BMW's or Mercedes or other manufacturers cars which exceed 100,000 miles on variable servicing? It's fake news.

P.S. Try asking a main dealer garage just for an oil change. They want £200 to wash the car etc and all the associated rubbish that goes on with a simple service but f you just want an oil + filter change, more often than not you'll be forced to go to an indi because main dealers won't touch your car.

Engineer Andy    on 8 September 2018

And what a fool you are for buying into the system of buying new and flogging after just a few years and £££ depreciation, and paying whatever the dealer wants for servicing. Whilst I agree that if a car is used predominantly for longer distance driving and driven sympathetically, most nowadays aren't, and their emissions control systems are very vulnerable to driving unsympathetically, especially regular short trips from cold.

I see far less older German and French cars on our roads these days than 20 years ago, despite the sales of German brand cars being significantly higher now than in the 1980s and 90s. I mean, how many mk 3 Golfs do you see, or mid 90s 3-Series, or C-class Mercs from the mid-late 90s? I see far more Toyotas and Hondas from that era on the road. The reason is mainly because a) they are better engineered, and b) are far more likely to be serviced either annually or per 9-12.5k as per that manufacturer's service intervals.

If people who buy (mainly German) cars with long service intervals that have been stipulated by the manufacturer for good money at 3-4 years, then wonder why they develop (far more often than Japanese or Korean equivalents) serious and very expensive problems in the 7-10 year age range, often meaning they are uneconomic to repair, then those people are idiots and deserve to be take for a proverbial ride.

As regards the price of servicing and especially oil changes, its only because we Brits don't kick up a stink and demand better value for money (often hoping, like you, we can pass any future problems onto the next mug), as our friends in North America, and it seems, in parts of the Far East do. Surely it cannot be byond the intelligance of some enterprising business person over here to start up a basic, non-flashy chain of auto lube shops for oil changes and other basic fluid changes and top-ups for a reasonable price?

The glass palaces have to somehow claw all that investment in flashy showrooms back, and normally the service dept is the answer, which is why most cars are built to only last about 7 years before becoming unconomic to run if they are manitained to the required standard.

MrPogle    on 8 September 2018

"those people are idiots and deserve to be take for a proverbial ride"

Many people are not as smart as you. What's your overall opinion of people who think that people who aren't as smart as them deserve to be exploited and abused?

Edited by MrPogle on 08/09/2018 at 15:44

Engineer Andy    on 8 September 2018

"those people are idiots and deserve to be take for a proverbial ride"

Many people are not as smart as you. What's your overall opinion of people who think that people who aren't as smart as them deserve to be exploited and abused?

Its not about 'how smart you are', but just doing your homework. a 10 minute search on the internet can save you ££££s by avoiding such cars. Whilst I'm an engineer, I'm not an auotmotive engineer, nor do I have a skills as a mechanic.

That doesn't stop me from asking questions and finding out things before I make a purchase - of anything. If I make such a mistake (I try and minimise them, but we all make 'em), I don't blame everyone else. You don't need to be academically intelligent to have common sense and a healthy dose of scepticism. Highly intelligent people are often the easiest marks for salespeople. Savvy people often achieve the most, often by gaming the system or other people. That's LIFE.

BrendanP    on 8 September 2018

My Hyundai has a 20,000 mile service interval with an optional 10,000 mile oil & filter change. For £30 & 45 minutes of my time I can change my own oil, using top-brand fully synthetic oil, to a standard which meets or exceeds what a dealer would provide. The trend towards longer service intervals is primarily to bring down fleet costs, where all they're interested in is getting through the 3 or 4 year lease period at minimum cost before off-loading the car into the secondhand market. What happens after that is immaterial.

Personally, I think the higher specific power outputs of modern engines puts more stress on the oil, so 20,000 mile interval seems excessive. When I looked at the price of the oil you had to buy for a VW Golf to work with the variable service interval, it worked out less costly to use a cheaper oil and change it more often.

I don't believe in the throw-away society. I expect to run my car for at least 150K miles.

MrPogle    on 8 September 2018

"Last point - I've never kept a car for more than 40,000 miles. If it were true that oil needs changing every 10k rather than adhere to flexible servicing, why should I care if that engine doesn't last 100,000 miles?"

Hear,hear. Honest John really needs to take into account every single reader's personal circumstances before he issues his so-called "advice". I never keep cars beyond 8000 miles. What am I supposed to do? My brother doesn't even own a car, He was so worried that he asked Hertz if it would be OK if he rented one and had the oil changed. They became border-line abusive after 20 minutes.

Get a grip HJ!

Edited by MrPogle on 08/09/2018 at 15:34

Mike H    on 10 September 2018

Last point - I've never kept a car for more than 40,000 miles. If it were true that oil needs changing every 10k rather than adhere to flexible servicing, why should I care if that engine doesn't last 100,000 miles? I pay for the time I own the car, why should I shell out my money on behalf of the 3rd, 4th or 5th owner? I couldn't give a monkey's about them.

Remind me never to buy one of your discarded motors!

Steve Mugglestone    on 8 September 2018

Re Expectation quashed.
Same with me. After 10 years of ultra reliable Nissans I made the mistake of buying a new 2014 Qashqai which proved a big let down and a customer service dept not fit for purpose. Never again a Nissan.

Bilboman    on 8 September 2018

Re: Broken rules: overtaking on a set of long broken white lines, I wonder whether the driver who turned without signalling was also prosecuted. There is another rule which is widely ignored or misinterpreted (112: The horn. Use only while your vehicle is moving and you need to warn other road users of your presence) A driver on the continent would quite likely toot or flash (or both) before overtaking in the situation described, but in Britain "good manners" tend to trump road safety - a flash is always taken to mean "after you" and a toot is taken to be a hostile or aggressive gesture, not the warning signal it was originally meant to be.
And speaking of good manners, HC Rule 147 seems to have been consigned to the history books altogether. It refers to being considerate, understanding and patient. If only!

Edited by Bilboman on 08/09/2018 at 11:40

stojom    on 8 September 2018

No oil in the engine at a 2 yr service! Astounding, are people too lazy to check the oil level these days.

Engineer Andy    on 8 September 2018

No oil in the engine at a 2 yr service! Astounding, are people too lazy to check the oil level these days.

I think they probably meant the car's second service at year 2. I could be wrong, but I wouldn't be surprised if that was the case.

gordonbennet    on 8 September 2018

One of the reasons i don't buy mainstream used cars is because initial owners might have the mindset of the above poster, who thinks that servicing cars sensibly is wasted money, and presumably so long as it manages 40k miles it's a good 'un.

Now i wonder why typical used cars in the UK are worth the square root of nothing.

I do buy used cars but they tend to be more unusual vehicles, and they have most certainly seen more than the very minimum joke servicing as advised in the comic, sorry, handbook.

Mike H    on 10 September 2018

Re "Yet again", by all accounts the Peugeot 3008 is a great car marred by the touch screen control of everything. Even with the short cut piano keys, I haven't seen a review that praises the complicated menu system. It's something that really puts me off the car, having experience of Honda's complicated and difficult to use screens.

Add a comment


Ask Honest John

Value my car