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Honest John's Motoring Agony Column 01-12-2018 Part 1

Published 30 November 2018

This week’s autonomous outpourings involve a haul of residence, car control, clarity and in part two pulling the other one, TF hell, a Swift decision and considerably more.

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

Nissan X Trail 2003 Side

X-Trail, X-Trail, read all about them

I'm looking at purchasing a Nissan X-Trail, but not sure which. I tow an 850kg caravan. I have the choice of a 2.2 diesel manual or a 2.5 petrol automatic. I've driven autos for many years so that isn't a problem. Are you able to advise on the likely running costs i.e. road tax, servicing etc? I should add that the two cars I have looked at are 2003 with full service history

LG, Nettleham, Lincs

You are looking at quite old X-Trails. The 2.2 diesel manual is in theory a perfect caravan tug because of its 6 gears and reasonably low gearing: /road-tests/nissan/nissan-x-trail-22di-115ps-2002-road-test/ and /road-tests/nissan/nissan-x-trail-22-dci-136ps-2004-road-test/ But 10 years ago they were suffering a lot of problems: /carbycar/nissan/x-trail-2001/good/ The 2.5 petrol auto emits 231g/km CO2, so tax will be £315pa for a pre-23-3-2016 and £530pa for a post-23-3-2016. (Watch out for that.) While the 2.2Di diesel manual emits 190g/km so tax is £290pa.

Automatic Brake Pedal Ford Thunderbird 

Feetal mistake

I couldn’t help reading this article in the Telegraph about yet another fatality to an innocent bystander caused by a driver not using left foot braking while parking an auto. Goodness know just why she was reversing with the door open and not wearing a seatbelt though. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/09/17/seafront-jogger-killed-driverless-car-freak-accident-saw-driver/ I do not understand why drivers are still taught to drive an auto single footed. I even got into a disagreement with the Police over this, who insisted the safest way to drive an auto at all times is to use one foot. After a lifetime driving manuals, when I got my first auto I followed your advice to use left foot braking. It wasn’t hard to do. I even employed it when driving on motorways when flowing traffic started to slow down quickly. Why isn’t there more done by the IAM, by RoSPA and especially BRAKE to get more drivers to do this instead of insisting on more and more speed cameras?

DN, Thornton Cleveleys

Some older cops still have the weird idea that people will forever be stamping on the brake thinking it is the clutch. What they forget is that automatic drivers usually only have one car, which is an automatic, and usually have two feet. If they left foot brake while manoeuvring they can stop the car the instant they feel a bump. The IAM used to drive me mad over this issue for years, then finally saw sense.

  

Screamwash

No water is coming through when I operate the windscreen washer system on my 2016 BMW 520D. The BMW dealer tells me this is most likely due to a blocked reservoir filter and if this is the case then the fault is not covered by my 3-year warranty. As the washer fluid container is situated in an awkward position in the car, the time allowed for this job is 1 hour, which at their rates will cost me £176. I gather that not having properly working windscreen washers is a Road Traffic Act offence and would also result in a failed MoT, so doing nothing is not an option. I am sure a specialist, but non-authorized, BMW garage could fix it at a fraction of this cost but this too is not an option as my car is still under guarantee. Is someone taking the mick or is this just another example of rip-off Britain?

PJ, via email

What I do is first check the screenwash pipe are not kinked in the bonnet hinge and if they aren’t, get a hosepipe, shove it right into the bottom of the washer reservoir then hold it there while someone else turns on the tap. That usually blasts all the stagnant crud off the filter at the base of the tank and gets the washer fluid flowing again.

Jaguar XF 2009 Rusted Door Window Mechanism Copy

Feeling insecure

I have just discovered that both rear door lock motors have failed on my 2009 XF. The local Jaguar dealer tells me that they're "well known for failing - they're weak". I wrote to JLR whose 'customer experience centre' replied saying that the company has no knowledge of such a weakness. Have you had any reports of similar failures? Perhaps more seriously, the visual and aural signals I get from the locking system still give a 'locked' indication. So it is possible that I've been leaving my car open for months or even years without being aware. Only a visual check of internal handles or a pull on all the external handles would have revealed the fault - and I don't suppose many of us routinely do that. Neither do I believe that a system check is part of the service schedule. When I suggested to JLR that, for security, the circuit needed redesigning so that a locked indication would only result from all doors and the boot actually being locked, their reply was that that the system would have indicated correctly when the car was new. Well, self evidently - one assumes that all lock motors would have been working at that stage. But hardly a satisfactory answer, I feel. Any views?

IH, via email

Likely to be due to the amount of moisture and rusting inside the door. Water flows through car doors but if the components inside are not properly rustproofed they simply corrode. Scroll down to the pictures here: /carbycar/jaguar/xf-2008/good/

 

Sunny side up

Many thanks for your advice as printed in today’s DT. But rather than spend a not-so-small fortune on trading in my excellent Golf GTE for a convertible with 4 useful seats (I once had a SAAB Aero soft top whose electric roof was often unreliable) I took the car to Bristol Sunroofs who fitted an electric Webasto sunroof for about £1,500. James there did an excellent 'carwash waterproof' job we are well pleased with - despite some mild buffeting at high speed (but no effect on insurance policy) BSR comes highly recommended.

CR, via email

Bristol Sunroofs are among the best in the business. I’ve sent a lot of readers to them for problem solving. But yikes! £1,500 for a hole in the roof, a suspect structure, a voided warranty and buffeting around the ears. Not a great idea. That said, I'm fortunate in probably having the best sunroof in any car anywhere with a very clever wind deflector: /our-cars/renault-koleos/hj-s-renault-koleos-goes-topless/

KIA Ceed 2018 F34 Blue 

Out of Focus?

I currently drive a Ford Focus Zetec S 180. I find it great to drive, has enough power and is reasonably economical. Time is coming for it to be changed. What would you recommend of the latest cars that offers a similar drive. Mine’s a 2013. I’m looking for a 2017/2018.

AF, via email

Reports of the new Focus tell us it’s excellent, but I have yet to drive it. Otherwise the nicest car to drive in this class is a Mazda 3. Probably a 2.0 Skyactiv G 165: /road-tests/mazda/mazda-3-2017-road-test/ (Now the stunning new one with ist SCCI engine is announced prices of nearly news are sure to drop.)The most reliable is likely to be a KIA Ceed with a 7 year warranty: /road-tests/kia/kia-ceed-14-t-gdi-7-dct-2018-road-test/

KIA Sportage 2016 19 Inch Wheel

Rimming over

On 24th August I had my KIA Sportage serviced in accordance with an agreed service plan at a franchised KIA Motors dealer. It was observed by the mechanic that each of my wheels had early signs of corrosion. He said that this was fairly common on alloy wheels and could be just "a bad batch of wheels". I must admit that I thought I must have scraped the kerb, or something similar, but I don't recall such an event. The mechanic took photos or each wheel and said that he would email KIA for possible replacement wheels (as they are only 3 years into their 7-year warranty period). He said I should get a response within a couple of weeks. As I've not heard anything, do you think this is worth pursuing or do you think the mechanic was "spinning me a yarn"? 

AW, via email

If you've crunched the rims on kerbs, no chance. If corrosion has occurred on parts of the wheels that you could not have damaged then there may be a chance of a refurb. Ask again.

 

Multiplication fables

Perhaps through your column you might want readers to contemplate the potential flaws within multi-car insurance policies. After all the cars have been integrated there comes the renewal premium for say 3 vehicles at once, which many can't afford, and so are forced into handing over more money to the insurer by way of monthly "service charges" i.e. interest (which is what they like you to do).  After a claim there is usually some loss of bonus unless "protected", which of course doesn't protect the renewal premium as many will discover to their cost, and affects the whole policy, and without necessarily knowing the premium calculation for each car separately. The choice of insurer is also limited on multi policies. My wife and I share three cars which are individually insured, with full NCD bonus but deliberately unprotected, and SD&P use. The total premiums for comprehensive cover for just the two of us to drive with a maximum excess of £150 is well under £400. I am 69 (retired) my wife 60 (housewife), and we both have an unblemished accident and conviction record.  I drive a 2003 BMW 2.5 CSI Cabriolet and 2004 Skoda Octavia VRS 1.8, and my wife a 2013 Mazda MX5 1.8.  Our mileage is about 12,000 per annum in total. We live in Hampshire near the Dorset border. Quotes for a multi-car policy do not even come close to this.

PF, New Milton

Many good points. Thank you. Just remember, it isn't a "No Claims Bonus", of course. It's a "No Claims Discount". I don't know where the term "No Claims Bonus" ever came from. Possibly the same place as "main dealer" and “on the clock”.

Hyu Sonata 95M Side 700 

Suck it and see

My 12-year old Hyundai Sonata 2.0 litre diesel auto has only 69,000 miles. There are varying opinions on the Internet regarding auto transmission flushes. Would you advise this to be done? The colour of the fluid is brownish (not dirty or burnt) and I have no problems with the gear shift. I am of the opinion that if it ain't broke, don't fix it.  

AB, via email

Brownish is getting burned. Transparent pink is ideal. Only consider getting it done by a member of http://www.fedauto.co.uk using a proper dialysis machine such as a Liqui Moly Geartronic, otherwise the transmission could be damaged.

 

Superior knowledge 

You often advise to use ‘Super’ fuels to get the best engine performance and longevity. How does supermarket ‘super’ unleaded (97 to 99 RON) compare with the oil major’s proprietary ‘super’ unleaded? Are the additives in the proprietary fuel also in the supermarket ‘super’? Where I live the proprietary fuel costs about 22p/litre more (£12 per fill up) than the supermarket ‘super’.

KD, via email

It has the RON, but doesn't have the same detergent additives that are vital for keeping fuel systems clean. If it did, then this would be advertised. Apparently Costco does advertise its additives and their benefits in a leaflet, which commits the information to being true.

VW Golf IV Side 700 

Legless in London 

My sister has a tired 2001Y VW Golf on its last legs. She had to shell out to get it past its MoT recently, having to get the mirrors and a gaiter replaced. She has about £4k to spend on a replacement. She lives in London with two teen kids. She needs 5 doors. She likes the idea of the MINI Countryman. What do you suggest are her best options?

FC, via email

She’ll be pushed to get a Countryman for £4k: /used-prices/Mini/Countryman/2010/?q=1.6+Manual+Petrol / They are roomy, but the base models look better than they drive. I think her best bet is a Honda Civic 1.8iVTEC manual: /used-prices/Honda/Civic/2007/?q=1.8 /

 

Slide rules

I was vastly amused to see a note from one of your correspondents about the incidence of 4x4 accidents in winter Canada. She was in fact completely correct. I live in an area of Canada known as the "snow belt" so, in theory, 4x4 makes sense. Here's the issue: the bloody fools who buy them staunchly believe they have acquired a Sherman tank. There is no concept that a 4x4 provides superior forward traction, but is completely useless in braking or steering. They think they have a winter Porsche. As a consequence, there is indeed a startling incidence of accidents in these vehicles, a great many of them single-vehicle accidents where some bloody fool puts the vehicle over any reasonable limit and quite justly finds a drainage ditch or a tree.. There are a high number of write-of accidents in this group and insurance rates are quickly showing that. All that money, and no brains.

RK, Ontario, Canada

The main problem we have here is people thinking that four wheel drive is the answer when it isn't. Cold weather or all weather tyres are usually far more effective, though, of course, 4WD combined with cold weather or all weather tyres (and a modicum of common sense) is best of the lot.

Ford Focus 2014 Side (1)

Benefit unkind

I currently I have a Ford Focus 2.0 litre Titanium X. This is a company car that will not be renewed, so I am looking for a used car on PCP.  It very much looks like I will not be able to find a used Focus with all the extras I am used to with the Titanium X. Therefore I am considering a smaller car. However I do not want a car with less performance than I currently have. I am wondering if a Polo 1.4 TSI would fit the bill? I had considered a Fiesta ST or Polo GTI but they look a bit too “sporty” for me, given I’m in my forties. So I’m looking for a small used car with relatively high performance (minimum 150hp) that does not look too much like a sports car. Would you be able to recommend makes/models to consider?

IM, via email 

Mazda CX-3 2.0i Skyactiv G Sport 150 4WD. Or a Fiesta ST in a 'sensible' colour. Or, of course a Focus Ecoboost 182.

 

Renault Koleos LT Sunroof Copy (1) 

Skylights

I noticed that you did not recommend to CR retrofitting a sunroof in the 15thSeptember Saturday Telegraph, and instead buying a car with a factory-fitted one. The problem is that manufacturers stopped offering a sunroof option 10 or more years ago, so that a factory-fitted car will be at least that old. The excuse given is that buyers preferred air con. How this is relevant I don`t know. How does air con give you year round light in the front in a similar way to a convertible, and also offer (compared to side windows) wind-blown free air circulation, plus safety from dust and dirt thrown up by passing cars? Sadly, most manufacturers of CC models have also stopped making them due to low sales, high cost and expensive repairs for their not very reliable operation. What can we do to get manufacturers to offer sunroofs again?

TT, Stevenage 

In that case, why am I currently driving a Renault Koleos with the best, most buffet-free opening sunroof I have ever driven? There are still a lot of factory-fit sunroofs, from versions of the KIA Picanto and FIAT 500, through full-length sunroofs on Citroen C1s and Peugeot 108s and Renault Twingos and Smart Forfours, to DS3s and DS4s and all the way up to SUVs like my Koleos. The BMW 4-series convertible is still a CC.

Ford Focus 2018 F34 Blue (1)

Hopeless case

With little hope that Ford will produce a new Focus Titanium 1.6 litre torque converter auto in 2019, as I only do 5,000 miles annually, I'm investigating 2010/11 BMW 523i SE petrol, with torque auto, for under £10,000. Comments please? I would fit 4 x Michelin Cross-Climate 225/55 R17 101 W XL, but what about a 17-inch spare wheel? Incidentally, with your recommendation, I fitted Cross-Climates to my current 2008 Focus Style auto. Brilliant ride improvement.

RG, via email

Ford has introduced a 3-cylinder, chain cam, Focus 1.5 Ecoboost with an 8-speed torque converter auto that is generally rated as excellent. As is always the case, a car that was expensive new will be expensive to maintain and run. The BMW might be a nice car. If fitting Cross Climates, get an undirectional space saver spare wheel (Cross Climates are directional).

 

Drainage problem 

My wife has a 2006 BMW 1-Series diesel. She has only 30,000 miles on the clock. We are away for 3 months each year. When we return the battery is dead. We have changed battery 3 times. The last was via the AA in August. We also bought, on advice a solar charger. The battery is now dead? Can you advise?

PN, via email

Hook it up to a CTEK or Ring battery conditioning float charger in your garage. If you have to leave it outside, disconnect and remove the battery, then charge it up using a charger when you return.

Automatic Brake Pedal KIA Niro 

Feet-all position

I recently read in the Saturday Telegraph advice from Honest John about how to drive an automatic. I confess that whilst I am a regular reader of this column, which I find extremely interesting, I must have missed previous advice on this topic. Do you by any chance have an article about how to drive automatics? I have recently purchased one and would like to learn more. I am very grateful for any help you can give me.

AP, via email

My golden rule is to drive automatic cars 'two footed': left foot for the brake; right foot for the accelerator. Then you have full control at all times, which can be especially important when parking or manoeuvring because by left foot braking you can stop the car on a sixpence. You can't if you have to move your right foot from accelerator to brake. That's how 'one footed' automatic drivers kill people.

 

Riding on air

I'd be very grateful for your advice. I will probably replace my Mercedes C200 Sport Estate in March next year with a similar model because I've been very pleased with it. I only do about 7,000 miles a year, mostly local trips with an occasional motorway run. The Sport spec comes with 17 inch wheels and I'd say the standard steel suspension is slightly firm. Is it worth paying £900 for Airmatic, for my type of motoring? Is the ride noticeably improved? Are there any problems with maintenance and reliability? I need a petrol engine with a manual gearbox and I can only get this on the revised C Class with a model badged as C180, although it will be a 1.6 litre. Have you any thoughts on this engine? Do you think performance will be similar to my existing C200? Any advice you can give me will be very welcome.

LR, via email

Definitely worth paying £900 more for Airmatic. Transforms the car. Not entirely maintenance-free though because eventually the airbags can wear and split.

 

Not quite Wight

We live in a rural area on the Isle of Wight where it is virtually impossible to buy super grade fuels, unleaded or diesel. Neither our few remaining local garages or supermarkets stock either. We run a 2002 BMW Z3 – 3.0i, very low usage, and a 2017 (2018 model year) BMW X3 2L diesel (has AdBlue). Is there any additive we can use that would benefit these engines in the absence of super grade fuels? We do fill up the X3 with super grade diesel when on the mainland but this is only 2 or 3 times a year.

RH, Isle of Wight

Millers oils makes a range of diesel and petrol additives to boost the cetane/octane while lubricating and cleaning the fuel system: http://www.millersoils.co.uk/treatments/automotive / You can now get them from most car accessory shops, including Halfords. AdBlue is entirely different but is easily obtained these days from most service stations.

Click to Honest John’s Motoring Agony Column 01-12-2018 Part 2

Comments

GSTheo    on 1 December 2018

Feetal Mistake? This pun is not only tasteless in the context of this tragic accident, its's irrelevant. The driver fell out of her car, it's an auto so continued reversing without a driver and ran over a jogger. Which foot was being used for braking was not part of the problem.
More to the point, HJ should caveat this left foot auto braking advice much more carefully. Here's why: My daughter is learning to drive in a manual. Once she's passed I will advise her to get something like a Yaris 1.3 auto as it suits her needs, if she then switches to left foot braking it will very soon become habitualized. What happens if and when she steps back into a manual a few years later? She'll have no instinct to brake with her right while having to engage the clutch, let alone which foot to use to brake in an emergency. A young driver should not left foot brake until manual cars are so rare as to be irrelevant (which will happen at some point) Older drivers, I agree, can benefit from left foot braking as long as they never drive a manual.

Simon L Carter    on 1 December 2018

I had the same washer filter blockage as Screamwash above. To get at the BMW 5 Series filter entails wheel and wheel arch cover removal, hence the high labour cost. I was told to always stick to only one brand of washer fluid (not necessarily BMW's own). Apparently different brands mixed together can coagulate causing blockages.

Captain-Cretin    on 1 December 2018

Slide Rules.

I love taunting the idiots.

Every time we have a little snow where I live, the 4x4 numpties decide to go to the local common on the uncleared road, and get stuck in the dip where the carpark is located.

I stick my autosocks on and cruise past in my old fwd MPV and wave at them.

They start getting a bit antsy after my 3rd or 4th circuit, and it is not unknown to see one sliding sideways back down the slope after REALLY giving it a go following me.

Engineer Andy    on 1 December 2018

Slide Rules. I love taunting the idiots. Every time we have a little snow where I live, the 4x4 numpties decide to go to the local common on the uncleared road, and get stuck in the dip where the carpark is located. I stick my autosocks on and cruise past in my old fwd MPV and wave at them. They start getting a bit antsy after my 3rd or 4th circuit, and it is not unknown to see one sliding sideways back down the slope after REALLY giving it a go following me.

When I used to own a mid 90s Nissan Micra with relatively skinny, higher profile (60) tyres, I used to smile at the German barge owners (with wide low profile tyres) who got stuck in the snow (including the 4x4 Audi owners) whilst my little car, also shod on summer tyres, did quite well in comparison.

Looking forward to seeing how they fare this year (assuming we actually get some snow in the East this year), especially now that my FWD Mazda3 (not that much issues in [admitedly light] snow even on summer tyres) is now shod with all season tyres.

   on 1 December 2018


My Prius has a foot operated parking brake as i believe do many automatics. This has to be operated by the left foot.
However it does have autonomous emergency braking in reverse as well as forward gears. Very few manufacturers fit this as standard. Surely it should be obligatory on all autos?

valmiki    on 1 December 2018

I totally agree with you on all these points. I drive a mix of cars, hybrid (hence auto), traditional auto and manual. Never use left foot braking. I would suggest that older age is more of a common issue with these types of accidents (car "shooting off"), rather than method. Not PC though is it.

CMclean    on 1 December 2018

Agree with GSTheo, right foot braking is a completely normal thing to do for me and thousands of others as I sometimes change from auto to manual. After driving non synchromesh, splitter, range change, pre select and other types of transmissions I reckon I’d make a real b******s of left foot braking.

Edited by CMclean on 01/12/2018 at 11:26

Honestjohn    7 days ago

It's really very simple. If you left foot brake while manoeuvring you can stop instantly, within a foot if necessary. If you right foot brake you have to move your foot from the accelerator to the brake, by which time the car could have run over several people. This is what happens on a regular basis to the right foot automatic braking brigade. They kill people.

Engineer Andy    on 1 December 2018

Feetal Mistake? This pun is not only tasteless in the context of this tragic accident, its's irrelevant. The driver fell out of her car, it's an auto so continued reversing without a driver and ran over a jogger. Which foot was being used for braking was not part of the problem. More to the point, HJ should caveat this left foot auto braking advice much more carefully. Here's why: My daughter is learning to drive in a manual. Once she's passed I will advise her to get something like a Yaris 1.3 auto as it suits her needs, if she then switches to left foot braking it will very soon become habitualized. What happens if and when she steps back into a manual a few years later? She'll have no instinct to brake with her right while having to engage the clutch, let alone which foot to use to brake in an emergency. A young driver should not left foot brake until manual cars are so rare as to be irrelevant (which will happen at some point) Older drivers, I agree, can benefit from left foot braking as long as they never drive a manual.

I'd suggest re-reading HJ's comment - he's NOT advocating JUST solely using left foot braking on autos, but when doing slow speed manourvres.

PS. How does one 'fall out of your car' whilst driving responsibly? NEVER open your car doors whilst the car is in gear and without the parking brake on - EVER.

sonofgrace    on 1 December 2018

Feetal Mistake? This pun is not only tasteless in the context of this tragic accident, its's irrelevant. The driver fell out of her car, it's an auto so continued reversing without a driver and ran over a jogger. Which foot was being used for braking was not part of the problem. More to the point, HJ should caveat this left foot auto braking advice much more carefully. Here's why: My daughter is learning to drive in a manual. Once she's passed I will advise her to get something like a Yaris 1.3 auto as it suits her needs, if she then switches to left foot braking it will very soon become habitualized. What happens if and when she steps back into a manual a few years later? She'll have no instinct to brake with her right while having to engage the clutch, let alone which foot to use to brake in an emergency. A young driver should not left foot brake until manual cars are so rare as to be irrelevant (which will happen at some point) Older drivers, I agree, can benefit from left foot braking as long as they never drive a manual.

I'd suggest re-reading HJ's comment - he's NOT advocating JUST solely using left foot braking on autos, but when doing slow speed manourvres.

PS. How does one 'fall out of your car' whilst driving responsibly? NEVER open your car doors whilst the car is in gear and without the parking brake on - EVER.

When I drove manuals and autos I used my right foot for check-braking on the open road, which came naturally. When parking an auto, and reversing up a slope, for example, where gravity overcame the creep, increasing engine power with the accelerator and controlling speed by left-foot braking worked very well. The tendency of the left foot to act as if it were operating a clutch, i.e. down quick up slow, stops you lurching backwards or forwards. However, in 45 years of driving, I've never mistaken the accelerator for the brake pedal!

Honestjohn    7 days ago

Thank you, Engineer Andy. t's really very simple. If you left foot brake while manoeuvring you can stop instantly, within a foot if necessary. If you right foot brake you have to move your foot from the accelerator to the brake, by which time the car could have run over several people. This is what happens on a regular basis to the right foot automatic braking brigade. They kill people. I even had a case a few years ago where a retired driving instructor had always taught his pupils to right foot brake. Following his own advice killed him.

Theophilus    on 1 December 2018

Re Screamwash - PJ writes that BMW propose charging £176 to flush his screenwash with the comment "Is someone taking the mick or is this just another example of rip-off Britain?"

Why "rip-off Britain"? I always thought BMWs were German, not British.

   on 1 December 2018

Feetal Mistake
I am very conflicted about HJ's continued advice about left foot breaking. I understand the logic of HJ's argument, but remain unconvinced that it would improve road overall safety.
My issues are:
- All drivers are taught to right foot break from the first time they sit in a car
- When in an emergency situation we all revert to instinctive behavior and when I was trying to learn to left foot break there was a moment’s hesitation on which foot to use
- I have been a member of The IAM for over fifty years and they make no such recommendations for driving automatics. The IAM has been the leaders in road safety for many decades
- Probably my biggest issue is that none of the automatics I have driven over the years has been designed for left foot breaking – simply put, the left foot rest is not conveniently placed to allow the foot to quickly move and to provide controlled breaking in all conditions. It just always feels awkward and I have little control of breaking pressure
- If right foot breaking is such a safety issue, then why has left foot breaking not been mandated in countries where the vast majority of vehicles are automatic?
My concern is that JH is trying to solve a specific, low incidence problem when some drivers are maneuvering, with a solution that may reduce overall road safety. I accept that HJ may be right and the rest of the motoring road may be wrong, but I am going to need some more convincing.

Slow Eddie    on 2 December 2018

My concern is that JH is trying to solve a specific, low incidence problem when some drivers are maneuvering, with a solution that may reduce overall road safety.

I couldn't agree more; HJ has a bee in his bonnet about this, and comes across as cranky and inflexible. However - why the hell can't somebody as literate as yourself learn to spell BRAKING ?

Honestjohn    7 days ago

I repeat and will continue repeating this until people see sense. t's really very simple. If you left foot brake while manoeuvring you can stop instantly, within a foot if necessary. If you right foot brake you have to move your foot from the accelerator to the brake, by which time the car could have run over several people. This is what happens on a regular basis to the right foot automatic braking brigade. They kill people.

Slow Eddie    6 days ago

This is what happens on a regular basis to the right foot automatic braking brigade. They kill people.

Remind me, HJ, why this doesn't happen to the right-foot manual braking brigade.

watsoa    on 2 December 2018

After reading your advice (on several occasions) I started using 'super' diesel - do you think that your continual recommendation for this is having an adverse effect on the price as it is now generally 20 pence or more per litre than standard diesel - almost £1 per gallon. You also said that we shouldn't pay more than £1.50 / litre and lo and behold, most filling stations are now charging £1.495.
Your column seems to be very influential.

Alan W

jchinuk    on 2 December 2018

Regarding : Feet-all position, the 'one footed; style of driving automatics is often advised by hire-companies if the driver is used to automatics (perhaps not so common these days). I've heard advice like, "tuck your left foot under the seat to avoid mistakes".
My late Father, back in the 60s and 70s alternated between automatic Zodiacs (company car) and a manual Fiat 500, he never had an issue in either.

zundapp    on 3 December 2018

With regard to left foot braking, I am now on my 6 th VAG diesel engined auto, all of which have had the higher power motors. I have a long drive leading into a cul de sac and on tickover the engine has more than sufficient torque to reverse the car without touching the accelerator.
I just check the speed with my right foot covering the brake.
In fact, come to think about it, most parking manoeuvres I do are done with the engine on tick over.
I am by the way a senior. !!
I am a great long time fan of HJ, but on this topic,sorry, but I’ll stick with my right foot for the brake.

Chrishunt    7 days ago

The left foot braking debate shows no sign of stopping. In my view left foot braking is sound advice; however once a left foot braker always a left foot braker should be the maxim for autos. After 36 years driving various manual cars I switched to an auto nearly 4 years ago and at the same time switched to left foot braking - it took a while to establish smooth braking under all conditions but is now second nature. There are advantages to left foot braking in addition to those applicable to low speed maneouvering in car parks etc - rapid and smooth braking in traffic queues comes to mind.

Incidentally I have no issues braking in manual cars - only forgetting to change gears at junctions.

   7 days ago

Here is a scenario, auto driver, possibly older, gets distracted or confused whilst using two feet method to manoeuvre at low speed. They press both brake and accelerator, engine fights the brakes, driver is not mechanically sympathetic enough to know what they are going. driver eases or releases brake while the engine is still reviving....
Car lurches forward, with potential for panic and serious loss of control. I think this is the reason hehind some of the very serious crashes. Yes I have seen a relative do it.
Everyone I ask say they use one foot only.

YorkshireJumbo    6 days ago

Your body uses quite different habits driving a manual and driving an auto. We currently have 2 autos and 2 manuals in the household, and I switch between the two types regularly and easily. I have been using my left foot in an autos for well over 20 years, and have never felt the urge to "do the wrong thing" in either manual or auto.

YorkshireJumbo    6 days ago

Hope this is allowed: this youtube video shows 2 identical cars driving on snow. One is 2wd with winter tyres while the other is 4wd with normal tyres. Guess which one gets stuck and crashes...
www.youtube.com/watch?v=atayHQYqA3g

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