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Honest John's Motoring Agony Column 18-05-2019 Part 2

Published 17 May 2019

Click back to Honest John’s Motoring Agonies 18-05-2019 Part 1

Footloose

Yesterday my mother's good friend (who is in his mid-80s) took my mother for a hospital appointment. As he parked is his Skoda Karoq petrol DSG, (less than a year old), the car suddenly lurched forward, mounted a kerb and hit the car in the opposite parking space. The damage is considerable: bodywork and sump (all the oil spilled out). Of course, he could have inadvertently pressed the accelerator. He can't remember. Other than that, mindful that these DSG gearboxes have come in for some criticism in your column in the past, are you aware of any similar reported incidents of sudden, spontaneous movement like this? I'd like to advise him. He's very shaken up.

MM, via email

This is why I constantly exhort automatic drivers to drive two-footed. Left foot for brake. Right foot for accelerator. Then at low speeds automatics can be stopped instantly. It takes several seconds to move a right foot from accelerator to brake in which time the car can move a considerable distance even if the driver does not suffer “pedal confusion” and stamp on the accelerator thinking it’s the brake. That kills about 50 people a year in the UK alone.

Volvo XC70 2009 Side

Taking precautions

Five years ago before I retired I purchased a new Volvo XC70 D5 auto after several years of Volvo ownership: 240, 940, V70, keeping each for over 100,000 miles. The XC70 is the best car I have ever owned in nearly 50 years of driving. As I'm now living on a pension I'm unlikely to be able to afford to replace it with a similar quality car, so I'd like to keep it until it falls apart. It is not used for short trips but mostly to travel from our main home in Kent to our cottage in Scotland for which it is ideally suited. I always use good quality fuel and it has always been serviced by the excellent dealer that I purchased it from, Clelands in Galashiels. I have had nearly 80,000 trouble-free miles. What else can I do to ensure it lasts as long as possible? I also own some classic cars that I maintain myself and drive to Scotland and Devon each year and can wield a spanner when needed. Should I get the gearbox fluid changed? The brake fluid has already been changed at the recommended mileage.

AW, (Mem Sec Ford Anglia Owners Club) 

A very good idea to find a member of http://www.fedauto.co.uk and have a precautionary transmission fluid and filter change using the Liqui Moly Geartronic transmission fluid transfusion machine (has to be carried out at precisely the correct pressure and temperature).

 

Labour Partly

We are now coming up to 2 years with our Golf Mk 7 and it’s due for its second service. The local VW garage has suggested a pollen filter replacement for £230, which I have noticed costs £13 from a motor factor. I intend to sell/trade the Golf in the next year so I politely refused. Could I have your views on the MINI Clubman. I like the style and engineering but which engine, wheel size and engine would you recommend. Also, how do you rate the auto gearbox? Looking forward to your reply.

IF, via email

I wonder if that is a record? I know pollen filters are awkward to remove and re-fit on RHD VAG cars (been there, done that). But £230? Time to switch to a new model Mazda 3: /road-tests/mazda/mazda-3-2019-road-test/ Or, for a sensible 7 year warranty, a KIA Ceed: /road-tests/kia/kia-ceed-14-t-gdi-7-dct-2018-road-test/ The MINI Clubman has just been updated: /carbycar/mini/clubman-2015/

Peugeot 3008 LT 2019 Side

Terminal

I seem to recall you were to do a long-term test of the Peugeot 3008 1.2 Allure. Did you get the car yet? And, if so, what are your early opinions? Also, do you think this engine is a viable option for the 5008? And, lastly, given the rather shallow rear window, is the rear view compromised?

DJ, via email

Original test: /road-tests/peugeot/peugeot-3008-2017-road-test/ Test of my current car: /road-tests/peugeot/peugeot-3008-15-bluehdi-130-eat8-2019-road-test/ They couldn't supply the 1.2 Puretech 130 with Grip Control that I wanted. Don't know if demand exceeds supply, or there is a problem.

BMW Z3 F34 Retouched (1)

in the summertime

I have found an 1997R manual BMW Z3 1.9 with73k miles for just £1,500. The red leather and silver body look stunning. There are patches of rust on either side on the door sills and the drop-top's rear window needs renewing. I think this is a future classic and that any expenditure would soon be recovered. The service book has nothing for the last 30k miles, but I suspect a local mechanic has done the bare necessities. What servicing should I get done and what should I look out for? Also, would you say that this car lives up to the German reputation for build-quality?

IE, via email

I just picked one: https://classics.honestjohn.co.uk/news/auction-news/2019-02/1954-austin-healey-57-v8-in-historics-2nd-march-classic-car-auction/ Obviously a 1.9 is about as far from a sportscar as a Honda Jazz. Doesn't steer well. Doesn't handle well. Definitely no MX-5. But it at least give you a suntan. As long as that rust doesn't involve too much structural replacement you could be okay at £1,500. But on a car like this the sills are the strength of the car. If they fail, it will fold up like a wet paper boat. The Z3 isn’t German. It’s built in South Carolina.  More: /carbycar/bmw/z3-roadster-1997/

 

Slight hitch

I am looking to buy a 2016/17 MINI convertible, but need a towbar. These seem to be available for pre-2015 models but not later models; only the hatchback versions. Is there a reason for this? Any suggestions? 

GC, via email 

If a towbar is not EC Type Approved for a car then you cannot legally fit one. For MINI convertibles they seem to have only been available for R52s. That's the original MINI convertible, up to 2008.

Mercedes E400d Estate 2018 F34

Haul of fame

We need to retire our beloved Subaru Outback 3.0L R auto estate.  It’s been a joy to drive for 150,000 miles and never let us down. What would you recommend as its successor? We require a minimum towing capacity of 2 tonnes.

TR, via email

Tough one because they don't make many petrol-engined cars like this with this sort of towing capacity any more. There is the Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 310hp Pro AWD that can apparently pull 2,500kg: /specs/detail/?v=M133967/ My top choice would be a Mercedes E400d 4MATIC estate with the new straight-six diesel engine: /road-tests/mercedes-benz/mercedes-benz-e400d-4matic-estate-2018-road-test/ Or a V6 predecessor such as /road-tests/mercedes-benz/mercedes-benz-e-class-all-terrain-2017-road-test/ Maybe a Jaguar XF Sportbrake 3.0TDV6: /specs/detail/?v=M131333

Land Rover Freelander E D4 Side Speed

Turbo trauma

In September last year the turbocharger of my Freelander 2 failed, which resulted in the need for a replacement turbocharger. At the time the car was under 5 years old and had only done 31,197 miles. I have been in contact with Jaguar Land Rover about this and they have declined to have anything to do with the cost of the repair due to the failure not resulting from a manufacturing defect. The fault lay with the actuator and JLR (and the dealer) recommended replacing the turbocharger as they maintained that the actuator could not be replaced. I find it hard to believe that such a fundamental part of the engine would fail at such an early stage and that JLR state that the fault is not a manufacturing defect when the actuator is a fundamental part of the turbocharger and the turbocharger is a fundamental part of the engine. The car has been regularly serviced by the dealer and has not has not be subjected to any hard driving. I have seen an article on the Internet relating to Freelander 2 and Range Rover Evoque turbo actuator problems that states that “common malfunctions associated with manufacturing defects internal to the turbo actuator will cause restricted performance and an associated limp home mode”.  I have drawn JLR's attention to this article but they have declined to comment on it. Is there a problem with turbochargers on Freelander 2’s that you know of? What advice would you give me re this issue?

KG, via email

Freelander II problem history: /carbycar/land-rover/freelander-2-2006/ it’s possible that the limp home mode was caused by failure of the hose from the intercooler to the turbo and not the turbo actuator. This is a PSA/Ford engine also used in the Evoque, early Discovery Sports, Peugeot 4007, Citroen C-Crosser, Mitsubishi Outlander, so you may find more in those carbycar entries. The most common reason for turbo failure is oil starvation to the turbo bearing caused by switching off the engine when the turbo is too hot, which leads of carbonising of the oil in the turbo bearing oil feed and oil return pipes.

 

Pocket sprocket

We have just had our VW Polo back from repair. It was not a broken cambelt that caused the problem. It was an "inlet cam adjuster sprocket broken up into pieces and jammed up timing belt in lower cover / engine mounting". The total cost of repair was £1,060.81. Our garage did some research and found that there was a recall on this problem in Australia and South Africa. Any further advice, please before I speak to VW again?

AF, via email

I think it boils down to the same thing. Even though, by independently servicing, you failed to have the timing belt changed at 4 years old, the reason for that 4-year stipulation (imposed after you bought the car) is a fundamental vulnerability that simply should not occur at less than 5 years old and 21,000 miles. The problem is who to take action against. Normally it would be the supplier, but the supplying dealer will use the defence that had the car been serviced by him he would have warned you of the potential problem. So I think you have to take action against VW itself for supplying a fundamentally faulty car requiring a maintenance action neither you nor your garage could have expected.

Mercedes C-Class Cabriolet 2017 Side

Bling and buy

I own a pre-facelift 2018 Mercedes C250 cabriolet, bought as a former demonstration vehicle, which has 19-inch wheels. I never liked the wheels as the rubber is too thin and think they look slightly silly. But it was the only one I could find with red leather and red roof. If I change the wheel size, what rims would you recommend and what tyres which would improve/maintain ride comfort and have better wearing tyres? I would like to keep the wheel rims Mercedes genuine parts, but not adverse to buy second hand or reconditioned. My current sizes are: Front: 225/40 R19 93Y; Rear : 255/35 R19 96Y. Many thanks in advance for your help.

JC, via email 

The Michelin site says you can go down to 17-inch wheels with 225/50 R17 94W tyres all round. And they just happen to do Cross Climates in 225/50 R17 98W XL ZPs (ZP is 'Michelin' language for runflat). So that's the way I'd go.

Ford C-Max Clutch At 3,900 Miles (1)

Slave labour

My 2014 Ford Focus Ecoboost 1.0 litre has done 45,000 miles from new, and I have just replaced the clutch and flywheel for the second time. I believe there could be something intrinsically wrong with the car or the component that is causing excessive clutch wear. What can I do about it? I first replaced clutch and flywheel in July 2016 when I had driven the car for about 6,600 of its then recorded mileage of 20,903. The clutch and flywheel was replaced again in January 2019, the recorded mileage was then 45,257. On both occasions I was told it was fair wear and tear, and I got the same response when I complained to Ford Customer Services, and when I wrote to Andy Barrett, Ford’s Chief Exec. I accept that clutch wear can be largely due to the way the car is driven, but I have driven Ford Mondeos for 20 years, all at a time when I did a very high annual mileage, and never had a clutch replaced. And I have never towed anything with this car. You kindly referred me to your website where a large number of similar complaints were recorded about this model and year. Clearly this problem is far from unique, and clearly Ford has known about the problem for some time. Can a case be made that this level of wear exceeds fair wear and tear and have I any chance of recovering the £900 I spent on my last repair?

JD, via email

The case can be made, but whether Ford will roll over is another matter because it would open the gates to a lot of other claims. They issued a recall last year but it turned out to be no more than a minor software adjustment. They are still not taking responsibility for failed clutches and DMFs that I think are caused by leaking clutch slave cylinders. The attached photo (from a C-Max) tends to confirm my  suspicion. All that black is either caused by oil from a failed crankshaft oil seal or a clutch cooked in clutch fluid. 

 

Unlucky 13

My daughter has recently been involved in an accident with her 13-year-old Jazz. The damage to her car was to the passenger door. Her local garage has described the damage as not serious but her insurance company has categorised the car as "S". Will this categorisation give her problems if  she wishes to move to another insurance company? In the meantime her current insurance company has offered to buy the car from her for net £1,600. Your advice will be greatly appreciated.

PJ, via email

Cat 'S' means "structurally damaged but can be repaired" so there may be damage to the B pillar that was not immediately obvious to you. If the damage was confined to the door then it would be Cat 'N'. See: /faq/insurance-write-offs/ All that said, £1,600 is a fair payout for a 2006 Honda Jazz.  Whether she accepts the payout, or opts to keep the car and get it repaired herself, the claim will still be registered on the Motor Insurer's Database, so her next premium will probably be higher.

Nissan Note 2014 Side White 

Note booked 

I asked about a replacement for my Nissan Almera. I have now test driven a Honda Jazz automatic (the model you suggest) and I like this car. I have also test driven a 2015 low mileage Nissan Note automatic, which also seemed to be a comfortable car. (The price difference is immaterial - the reliability and comfort of the car are all-important to me.) You didn't mention the Nissan at all, and the Honda is much more popular than the Note and is very well-reviewed. So please could you confirm that it would be a wise decision to buy a Honda Jazz rather than a Nissan Note?

GW, via email

The Note has a troublesome CVT transmission and has was discontinued in the UK several years ago, though it is still on the market in the Far East. Note: /carbycar/nissan/note-2013/ Jazz: /carbycar/honda/jazz-2014/

MB A200 2018 White Side Derelict Building

“Hey, Mercedes”

I am writing to you with hopefully an interesting story about my Mercedes A-Class. I purchased the car from the dealership in August, 2018. It is my second car from the dealership. Since I have owned the car I have had endless faults. The car has been in and out of the garage at least once a month. I am now in talks with the finance team, which I have advised to reject the car, but three week later, they still cannot tell me what the statues of this decision is. Below is a list of the faults I have had with the car and notified the finance team.

  • · Gearbox and electronics and lag on power and then all of a sudden kicking into gear among other stuff as well.
  • · AC not working properly
  • · Ambient lighting temperamental
  • · Warning light on dashboard
  • · DAB radio intermittent

This will be my 7th/8th visit to the deanship. It is now getting seriously dangerous and putting my life in danger, which what does it take for someone to understand that I have lost all confidence in the car and in Mercedes. This morning driving into work I almost went into the rear of another car as I left the traffic light junction turning left, then the car did accelerate after few seconds and then decided to wheelspin and kicking the ABS when my foot hadn’t even touched the accelerator pedal. I have since taken it to two independent mechanics who have test driven the car and agree with me that there is a serious problem with it. I must add that I am in talks with the Ombudsman regards the issue with my car. The colleague at the finance department said I was entitled to reject the car. I also heard from Mercedes Benz head office in the Netherlands who called early today, who also said the same with the rejection of the car. What will be the next process for handing the car back and compensation as the faults have been happening since I have purchased the car meaning the car has not been right from day one and feel I am in my right for the money laid out so far is owed back to me. I must add that on one of my visit, the car was damaged, they advised me that this was repair, but never told me where on the car this was damaged. After one of the other faults on the car, a  gesture of goodwill of a track day and a month’s payment reimbursed of my car. I received an email the other day saying I had accepted this, to which I haven’t not replied advising this and I have the cheque and track day voucher at home and not cashed. The other thing Mercedes had done was leak personal information of mine to another client. They advised me they had my email incorrect, but this is one of the security questions, what my email address is and I emailed in before this rouge email, to which someone there told me if we had replied to my email sent in, this wouldn’t have happened. I hope this is something the paper will consider publishing about a well branded car manufactured not orbiting to the contract. I look forward to hearing from you. 

AP, via email

These are your rights: /faq/consumer-rights/ Reject to the dealer and the finance house jointly by letter sent by Post Office Special Delivery. Keep copies and staple the certificates of posting to the copies. If it goes to court it is not a Small Claim so will have to go to the full County Court at which point legal representation and court fees will start costing you a lot of money, some of which you might not be able to recover even if you get a judgement in your favour. MB is a tough litigant.

Click back to Honest John’s Motoring Agonies 18-05-2019 Part 1

 

Comments

Slow Eddie    on 17 May 2019

"It takes several seconds to move a right foot from accelerator to brake". HJ, you know that's not true, so why write it?
Perhaps you could also finally explain why drivers of manual transmissions don't appear to suffer "pedal confusion" to the same lethal degree?

Leif    on 17 May 2019

"It takes several seconds to move a right foot from accelerator to brake". HJ, you know that's not true, so why write it? Perhaps you could also finally explain why drivers of manual transmissions don't appear to suffer "pedal confusion" to the same lethal degree?

He wrote the same rubbish last week too. I’ve had a crash in an auto, when I used two foot control. My left foot braked too suddenly as it has poor motor control (no pun intended) and the car behind went into me. Once I switched to one foot control, I was fine. If the nonsense he wrote was true, manual cars would be crashing all the time.

mmmmm    on 18 May 2019

"It takes several seconds to move a right foot from accelerator to brake". HJ, you know that's not true, so why write it? Perhaps you could also finally explain why drivers of manual transmissions don't appear to suffer "pedal confusion" to the same lethal degree?

He wrote the same rubbish last week too. I’ve had a crash in an auto, when I used two foot control. My left foot braked too suddenly as it has poor motor control (no pun intended) and the car behind went into me. Once I switched to one foot control, I was fine. If the nonsense he wrote was true, manual cars would be crashing all the time.

Seems to any reasonable person reading your piece, that you were completely responsible for your crash and have admitted as much in great detail. Should you be driving in the first place with such a condition, notwithstanding your obvious lack of concern for others on the road?.

doi209    on 18 May 2019

It is a generally known fact that if a car runs into the back of you it is at fault because either:

a) it was following too close

b) was an automatic car where the driver was using one-foot breaking and as we all know

'It takes several seconds to move a right foot from accelerator to brake'.

That's correct is it HJ ?

Edited by doi209 on 18/05/2019 at 09:42

TQ    on 17 May 2019

I have always driven autos (30 years) and use both feet. Using only one foot is LESS safe. Reaction times are reduced for sudden braking and there should be very little chance of pedal confusion. Manual cars don't suffer from this problem because the car would stall. I agree with HJ and urge him to continue advising two-foot operation.

facet edge    on 17 May 2019

Hasn't he ever timed himself moving a foot from the accelerator to the brake?
Several seconds is an awfully long time and if it does take him that long he shouldn't be driving as he is a danger to other motorists.
At 30mph you would travel 44 feet per second so in several seconds, let's be kind and say three, you would travel 132 feet without even beginning to brake. Absolute rubbish.

Scot5    on 18 May 2019

The same old left-foot braking reply by HJ, again backed up with poetic licence but not a scrap of evidence.

1: When the driving instructor slaps his hand on the dashboard, not even the most inexperienced learner driver takes several seconds to move their foot from the accelerator to the brake pedal (if they did, they'd fail their driving test).

2: A racing driver will drive with his/her left foot hovering above the brake pedal, however everyone else has their left foot firmly planted either on the floor or on a footrest. So to say braking is quicker usig your left foot is again fake news. We're talking tiny fractions of a second here but the fact is your right foot will be nearer the brake pedal than your left so in theory the opposite is true - it's quicker to brake with your right. Come on HJ, give us your evidence left-foot braking is quicker.

3: If the driver of an automatic can mistake the right pedal for the brake, surely the driver of a manual can mistake the right pedal for the brake too?

4: With left-foot braking, doesn't the possibility exist where the right foot could stay on the accelerator? Best senario here is the car will take longer to stop, worse scenario (depending on what wheels are being driven) the car could easily spin out of control.

5: 50 people per year killed as a result of drivers mistaking the accelerator for the brake? I've been checking for such a stat but can't find anything. Can HJ reveal the source of his stat?

6: And if such a stat does exist, how do you know the accelerator was mistaken for the brake?

7: How many accidents have been caused by people following HJ's advice? Take one experienced driver who's been driving perfectly well for many years and then ask them to start afresh with left-foot braking - talk about a receipe for confusion. It would be safer if a new driver learned to left-foot brake, but then again I've never heard of any instructor advising their pupils to left-foot brake.

HJ gives great advice elsewhere but his left-foot braking advice is based on a flawed theory and comes with not a single scrap of evidence to back up his claim.

Honestjohn    on 18 May 2019

Spent a couple of hours last week driving Mercedes-Benz C63s on the various test track and skid pans at Mercedes Benz World where we prove conclusively that left-foot braking was the safest way to control an automatic in all circumstances both slow speed and high speed on all surfaces. All the MB instructors were in complete agreement. The tests included braking hard from 80mph on a dry surface and braking on simulated ice using both high quality tyres and cheap Far Eastern tyres. There is no question. Left foot braking stops you more quickly and more safely and gives you more control. So I will continue my campaign to save lives.

HJ

CMclean    on 18 May 2019

Spent a couple of hours last week driving Mercedes-Benz C63s on the various test track and skid pans at Mercedes Benz World where we prove conclusively that left-foot braking was the safest way to control an automatic in all circumstances both slow speed and high speed on all surfaces. All the MB instructors were in complete agreement. The tests included braking hard from 80mph on a dry surface and braking on simulated ice using both high quality tyres and cheap Far Eastern tyres. There is no question. Left foot braking stops you more quickly and more safely and gives you more control. So I will continue my campaign to save lives. HJ

Oh come on for goodness sake, between the unconfirmed stories about electric cars in part 1 and the “That kills about 50 people a year in the UK alone.” statement on left foot braking, your advice is getting ridiculous and can you publish proof of the deaths. As one reader who has driven automatics for the last 30 years and fully agrees with your point of view, I like to see the mess he makes of things when stuck in a manual transmission car and needs to change gear. Bang, nose pressed against the windscreen as the brake is stamped on instead of the clutch.

HandCart    on 24 May 2019

I presume then, that from now on, Mercedes will be manufacturing all their 2-pedal cars with the brake pedal positioned on the far-left side of the footwell, with a ruddy great 'transmission tunnel' kind of thing inbetween the brake pedal and the accelerator, so that the driver has virtually NO choice but to use the left foot to brake.

Otherwise, MB will be going against the above-stated conclusive proof resulting from testing by their very own instructors.

And that, now being in-writing and the public domain, would surely open the door to massive lawsuits against them, for selling cars which they KNOW to be of an inherently unsafe design.

Indisputable?

Arminius JP    on 18 May 2019

Causes of accidents are not identified in that report, only total numbers of fatalities and injuries.

Honestjohn    on 18 May 2019

30mph is 44 feet per second. If it takes 1 second to shift a foot from accelerator to brake the car will have travelled 44 feet. If it takes half a second, the car will have travelled 22 feet. This is the sort of thing The Highway Code used to call 'Thinking Distance'. If you eliminate 'Thinking Distance' you save lives. Even when parking, say reversing at 5mph, the car is still travelling 7.33 feet per second. Left foot braking significantly helps prevent fender benders. And that poor old fellow who ran over and killed two people in a hospital carpark last year in his automatic Focus can't have been travelling at more than 10mph, but that's still 14.66 feet per second. Never mind another confirmed case of 'Pedal confusion' last year when another elderly man in an automatic mounted the kerb and killed a young mother. Two pedals, two feet. Why two pedals one foot? Just doesn't make any sense.

HJ

CMclean    on 18 May 2019

Driving since 1970 and using the right foot for brake and accelerator due to the years of conditioning that your left foot controls the clutch while driving manual synchro, manual non synchro, range change non synchro, splitter non synchro, torque converter auto, ecvt and even pre select gearboxes.. Also, whether it takes 0.5 or 1.0 seconds to move your foot to the clutch, how long does it take to move your left foot from the footrest, or are supposed to drive with your left foot hovering over the brake pedal.

SteveLee    on 22 May 2019

For well over a decade now the accelerator and brake have been set at the same height in most vehicles (originally or allow enthusiastic drivers "heal and toe") using your right foot between the two pedals is natural. IMHO moving your left foot from its footrest in a panic is likely to end up stuck under the brake pedal!

doi209    on 18 May 2019

When I wake one morning with an extra foot for the clutch will I start to use one foot solely to break. Not likely to happen though.

HJ, why don't you accept people don't want to adopt one foot for the break and stop banging on about it. As you once quoted in a reply, 'STFU'.

Jamesetyefirst    on 19 May 2019

He is not forcing people to accept his advice one way or the other, if you don't want to follow his advice, then don't. Personally I follow his advice ,as I find it I find it informative and interesting. So I hope he doesn't follow your advice ,but you do.

Edited by Jamesetyefirst on 19/05/2019 at 13:33

GingerTom    on 18 May 2019

Very strange how people know exactly how much pressure to use with the left foot for the clutch and how to modulate it when releasing but cannot possibly comprehend how they could use the same foot to brake with an auto. (as an experiment when parked try using to right foot to press the clutch and see how weird it feels).

This is typical of those who are stuck in their ways and unwilling to learn a new skill. If 2 foot control is a waste of time you have to ask why all rally drivers do it. Well it's because it's more efficient and allows them greater control of the car.

I agree it doesn't take several seconds to move your foot over but I think HJ is referring to the longer delay older people have in moving their limbs including longer reaction time to a danger. In my job I come across numerous examples of senior drivers confusing pedals and pressing the wrong one including one old chap who managed to write off his brand new Fiesta on a car park. The dangerous drivers are those who don't know they are dangerous.

Edited by GingerTom on 18/05/2019 at 12:15

stojom    on 18 May 2019

AW, worried about affording a new car On a pension? Two homes, numerous classic cars. Must be one hell of a pension

GlassHalfHull    on 18 May 2019

Anyone who is confusing the pedals in their car needs to immediately give up their keys. I have tried left foot braking, but quickly went back to right foot control only; I just didn't feel safe braking with my left foot as I was coming to a stop in a car almost vertical due to years of controlling stiff clutch pedals.

Andy Lane    on 18 May 2019

I think the common factor with the automatic car breaking problems, seem to be the driver's age.
I have always had manual cars, but drive autos in the USA on holiday. Driver skill, reaction times
and age would be major factors.

groaver    on 18 May 2019

I think the common factor with the automatic car breaking problems, seem to be the driver's age. Driver skill, reaction times and age would be major factors.

The age is the BIG factor here.

It's the elephant in the room for some people.

As you get older your reaction times obviously slow.

facet edge    on 18 May 2019

Come on HJ, just admit that it doesn't take several seconds to move your foot from the accelerator to the brake.

Union Jack    on 18 May 2019

What a bunch of rude, bad tempered contributors HJ seems to have picked up this week! And yes, you know who you are.....
Disagreement with what HJ says is fine, but I do not believe that people really have to express that disagreement in such an unpleasantly worded way, especially when one considers that there simply is no other motoring website which provides such a wealth of overall good advice and information, often almost by return in response to individual enquiries, as I have discovered over many years.

IrishNeil    on 19 May 2019

What a bunch of rude, bad tempered contributors HJ seems to have picked up this week! And yes, you know who you are..... Disagreement with what HJ says is fine, but I do not believe that people really have to express that disagreement in such an unpleasantly worded way, especially when one considers that there simply is no other motoring website which provides such a wealth of overall good advice and information, often almost by return in response to individual enquiries, as I have discovered over many years.

In complete agreement Union Jack, sounds like there's a bunch of keyboard gammons, all red faced and spitting blood from broken front teeth from hitting the dashboard after braking!

I've put questions to HJ and his team, always received a concise safe reply based on evidence and experience.

If the gammons dont like the answer or opinions illustrated by HJ, I suggest they simmer & STFU...

Slow Eddie    on 21 May 2019

IrishNeil, I don't think your contribution is exactly a model of politeness and sweet reason.

IrishNeil    on 22 May 2019

IrishNeil, I don't think your contribution is exactly a model of politeness and sweet reason.

Slow Eddie, perhaps you should stop simmering like a gammon! Have a lovely day, watch out you dont get burned in the sun you sensitive soul !! ;)

CarolinaStates    on 22 May 2019

IrishNeil, I don't think your contribution is exactly a model of politeness and sweet reason.

Slow Eddie - well it seems like your humourless cartoon car driver out to pick an argumant with the Irish man! Such a shallow meek response to a funny remark....still not sure what this gammon thing is!! I guess it's not a pleasantry, have you brits lost all sense of humour??

Edited by CarolinaStates on 22/05/2019 at 12:43

daveyjp    on 19 May 2019

Another diesel driver who thinks because their Freelander has only done 31,000 miles over 5 years it should be trouble free.

The lack of use is killing it! It will barely get warmed up, not good for keeping a diesel engine in tip top condition.

Chrishunt    on 19 May 2019

I've been driving since 1980 and until 2015 all my cars were manual transmission. In 2015 I switch to an auto. At the same time (following HJs advice) I also switched to left foot braking. It's fair to say that the first few times I had to brake were a bit exciting in that I was applying far too much pressure to the pedal than the circumstances warranted; however, I persevered and left foot braking became second nature and with good control.

Left foot braking has clear advantages at low speeds, particularly if the brake is covered. Pedal confusion is significantly reduced or removed entirely. The advantages at speed are less clear - the left foot is often at rest and further from the bake pedal. However, once a decision has been made to left foot brake then all operations of the brake pedal must be made with the left foot or there is strong likelihood of confusion and hesitation leading to brakes being applied too late or not at all.

On the point of having to move the left foot from rest to brake versus moving the right from the accelerator there are a couple of things at play. Firstly, for the right foot, you have to come off the accelerator pedal before moving over to the brake pedal - that's two operations and not one. Human Factors studies have shown that the mean time between moving off the accelerator and applying an effective braking force is 1.5 seconds. This is significantly reduced if the braking foot is already covering the brake pedal, i.e. with left foot braking.

Left foot braking divides opinion throughout the motoring world but it is steadily gaining traction as a safe means of controlling a vehicle with automatic transmission during slow speed operations such as parking etc. There is plenty of material available for further reading for those that criticise HJ for recommending it.

groaver    on 19 May 2019

Firstly, for the right foot, you have to come off the accelerator pedal before moving over to the brake pedal - that's two operations and not one. Human Factors studies have shown that the mean time between moving off the accelerator and applying an effective braking force is 1.5 seconds. This is significantly reduced if the braking foot is already covering the brake pedal, i.e. with left foot braking.

Two points; it may be two operations but it's really only one movement, the same as coming off a left foot rest onto the brake pedal.

Also, You sit with your left foot constantly "hovering" over the brake pedal?

sammy1    on 19 May 2019

If left foot breaking is all its cracked up to be why don't manufacturers of autos move the brake peddle more to the left where the clutch might normally be, and where the left foot is more likely to be. Stop go with the right foot is a much more natural way to drive and probably more instinctive. When most people first drive an auto they keep their left foot well out of the way in case they go for the non existent clutch and hit the brake peddle!

Engineer Andy    on 20 May 2019

If left foot breaking is all its cracked up to be why don't manufacturers of autos move the brake peddle more to the left where the clutch might normally be, and where the left foot is more likely to be. Stop go with the right foot is a much more natural way to drive and probably more instinctive. When most people first drive an auto they keep their left foot well out of the way in case they go for the non existent clutch and hit the brake peddle!

Good point. As a manual would eventually stall if you employed standard left foot braking to a normal pedal layout, having the brake on the LHS would mean that when the revs get down to the stall level, the right foot (now doing nothing) could be used to depress the middle clutch pedal to prevent stalling.

The question would be whether this would be confusing to some or, as I think, may not provide as much braking force with your left foot than with your right if you've been driving that way for many years, not so much for learners. 'Muscle memory' is apparently real, and is noticeable when we use other things in life - not just if we are left and right-handed either - it's noticeable that the vast majority of 'arcade' style video games have the joystick on the left and the buttons on the right of the machine/console.

Chrishunt    on 20 May 2019

Muscle memory is one of the things that make left foot braking control initially quite exciting. It take practice to modulate the brakes correctly but once sufficiently practised it becomes second nature. Re braking force - most studies have found that very few drivers apply sufficient force in emergency situations which is why some cars now include the automatic application of additional force if the car's software detects it is needed.

As for the number of pedals a number of EVs now provide effective one pedal operation through aggressive regen acting as an effective brake. Chevrolet have managed to tune their system to bring the car to a complete stop without having to touch the brake pedal at all and the brake is used only for emergency situations. Now if we could only implement that in non-EV cars... :-)

galileo    on 23 May 2019

If left foot breaking is all its cracked up to be why don't manufacturers of autos move the brake peddle more to the left where the clutch might normally be, and where the left foot is more likely to be. Stop go with the right foot is a much more natural way to drive and probably more instinctive. When most people first drive an auto they keep their left foot well out of the way in case they go for the non existent clutch and hit the brake peddle!

I have had 15 + manual cars and 3 automatics, whenever on business in the USA the hire cars were invariably autos, never had a problem changing between manual and auto, always left foot brake in autos.

As far as I remember, all the autos have a brake pedal which is WIDER than a manual pedal, so manufacturers DO account for left foot braking in the design.

Chrishunt    on 20 May 2019

Lift off and move is not a single movement - it's two. Try it by depressing the accelerator then moving the foot to the left to the top of the brake pedal. It may feel like one movement but mechanically it's two. In fact there's three movements if you include depression of the brake pedal.

And no I don't have my left foot hovering over the brake pedal. I cover the brake pedal only if the situation warrants it, e.g. potential hazards or parking.

Right foot braking is a hangover from all cars having a clutch. Left foot braking isn't without its problems but at slow speeds, e.g. parking etc it is by far the safer method for braking.

groaver    on 20 May 2019

Lift off and move is not a single movement - it's two. Try it by depressing the accelerator then moving the foot to the left to the top of the brake pedal. It may feel like one movement but mechanically it's two. In fact there's three movements if you include depression of the brake pedal. And no I don't have my left foot hovering over the brake pedal. I cover the brake pedal only if the situation warrants it, e.g. potential hazards or parking. Right foot braking is a hangover from all cars having a clutch. Left foot braking isn't without its problems but at slow speeds, e.g. parking etc it is by far the safer method for braking.

Okay, we'll go with three movements but it isn't significantly different (or quicker) than moving your left foot off the rest.

I cover the brake pedal in car parks or potential hazards such as stop start driving in town when in a manual car as well.

HandCart    on 24 May 2019

Your right foot is already 'up' (on the accelerator) when driving. (angle of ankle joint)

Unless 'hovering' or 'covering', your left foot is 'down', on the floor or on a footrest; quite likely at a level 'behind' the brake pedal. So to LFB you have to 'pull' your left foot rearwards and up and cross and onto the brake pedal.

Your right foot only has to move rearwards from however far down the accelerator pedal is, which is unlikely to be all the way down.
Therefore unless your left foot is already hovering, I simply cannot believe that it can get on the brake pedal in a faster time than the right foot can.

Left foot braking is a skill, which most drivers would have to learn from scratch. We've already acknowledged that most of these accidents are caused by elderly drivers. It's quite likely that they're already using an automatic due to less-than-optimal physical condition. HJ is demanding that at this stage in their life they now start trying to learn a new technique and become skilful in it...

In my opinion it will be safer for (these) people just to confine attempting LFB purely during low-speed manouevring.

madf    on 20 May 2019

I drive both manual and autos..

Could I left foot brake?

No: and I am not going to try.. for obvious reasons..

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