The Sunday Times Driving Placeholder

Letters of the week: October 25

Your correspondence


Points

Wheels of misfortune

Congratulations on your exposure of Audi oil consumption (“British Audi drivers battle for compensation over excessive oil consumption”, last week). It seems all car manufacturers have skeletons in their cupboards. For BMW it is alloy wheels: my 59-plate 3-series has had 18 of them in 45,000 miles and apparently I am not alone.

David Gregory, Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire

 

Throw oil on the fire

Dominic Tobin is right to rub salt into the wounded beast that is Audi/Volkswagen. Audi has had to be dragged kicking and screaming into admitting engine faults in America and now here in the UK. A reputation hard won is easily forfeited.

Nigel Duckworth, Dartmouth, Devon

 

Hard truth is UK’s a softie

Tobin asks why there was a difference between America and Britain in how Audi handled complaints. The situation can be compared to the UK’s supine response to the VW scandal. The authorities in America warned of a potential fine of up to $18bn (£11.5bn); in Australia a fine of A$1.1m (£514,000) for every breach — presumably every car sold; the Swiss ordered VW to cease selling the offending cars. And the UK? It referred the matter to the EU.

Edward Baker, Tunbridge Wells

 

Brush-off

As seen on the back of a chimney sweep’s van while travelling along the M56 last weekend: “We also sweep VWs.”

Mike Newby, Warrington

 

Next exit: cheaper fuel

Further to Michael Dillon’s comments about boycotting fuel stations on motorways (“Pump action”, Points, last week), I’ve been doing that for the best part of 30 years, not just the one month he suggests. Surely it’s not that difficult to get fuel from elsewhere. I recall a book showing what was available in terms of food and fuel within a mile of every motorway junction in Britain. I’m sure these days there must be an app giving the same information.

James Whelbourn, Turvey, Bedfordshire

Ed: The book is Near the Motorways by Hugh Cantlie. An updated edition was published last year (about £14 from amazon.co.uk).

 

Edge of darkness

Further to the car headlight correspondence and how bright need they be (“Light relief”, Points, last week), many years ago I was involved in the sale and installation of garage forecourt canopies. Specialist companies were employed to sort out the lighting, which over a period of time became brighter and brighter as each service station sought to outdo the other. The logic was that motorists, like moths, were attracted to bright lights.

It ended when accidents occurred close by: drivers found it difficult to see clearly beyond the lights since they were so bright. The result was the introduction of a softer form of illumination.

Paul Milner, Sheringham, Norfolk

 

Riders can be drivers too

Can we stop this “cyclists don’t have to pay vehicle tax” nonsense (“Seeing sense”, Points, last week). If we own a car, then yes we do! I’m a cyclist and a driver; we are not mutually exclusive.

Christopher Betterton, Staines-upon-Thames, Surrey

 

Foggy thinking

Cyclists are not the only ones not to use lights (“Their dark material”, Points, last week). Why do so many motorists feel it’s unnecessary to switch on lights in extreme weather such as heavy rain or fog? Being visible is for their own safety.

Linda Crafter, Epsom, Surrey

 

Hot air

In Giles Smith’s test of the Hyundai ix35 hydrogen car (“The car of the future, oddly similar to the car of today”, October 11) he states that this is the way forward for sustainable transport. But he does not consider where the hydrogen comes from.

Typically it is produced by electrolysis separating the hydrogen and oxygen in water. But that takes significant electrical energy — in fact, more than is recovered by the fuel cell in this new car. The electrical power comes from coal or gas-fired power stations emitting tons of CO2. Hydrogen-powered cars are no more sustainable than petrol-powered ones.

Martin Phillips, Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex

 

Unhealthy question

Why would anyone ask whether there is a correct way to navigate speed cushions (Car Clinic, October 11)? If GP of Bushey was to encounter speed cushions of different dimensions from the ones he was used to, would his whole world collapse? If GP is indeed a GP, I am glad I am not a patient.

Dave Jenkinson, Long Marston, Hertfordshire

 

0-60mph in three puffs

Regarding Brian Newbold’s inquiry (“What a drag”, Points, October 11), I can’t help him with his problem about the legality of smoking while riding a motorcycle, but I can advise on the practicality. I always found that the cigarette burnt so quickly, due to the draught, that it permitted only two or three puffs.

Consuming ice cream cones is even more difficult. At 60mph an ice cream cone is quickly reduced to a sticky mess in the left hand that makes clutch operation either difficult or impossible.

WD Kerruish, Ombersley, Worcestershire

 

Wet wipes

Why do car reviews never feature the efficiency of screen wipers? Dark, rainy nights are coming up; the most essential safety feature is to provide good vision.

I’ve never had a Renault that didn’t have wipers that screeched and juddered. Or a Saab or a Ford. Maybe reviewers never go out in the wet.

Colin Walsh, Cambridge

 

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