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Top 10 Ways to Beat a Car Dealer | Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia
Here are the updated top 10 tips for beating a car dealer and buying a cheap new car without getting ripped off. It's how you can fight back, and organise a much better deal on basically any new car. Buying a car is not fun. Everyone on the other team is match fit, and systematically incentivised to rip you off - if you let them. But it doesn't have to be this way. Here's how to recognise the car dealer's tricks and sidestep the traps. Let's focus on the car you want. It might not look like a commodity, but that's exactly what it is. There's no qualitative difference between the car you want at Dealership A and the same car at Dealership B. They came out of the same factory. Their mothers can't tell them apart. The dealership doesn't change them in any way, or add intrinsic value. The dealership is actually just a fancy vending machine. When you're buying a commodity, the only factor that matters is the price. Lowest price wins. That's what you need to deliver. For more advice, fill in the contact form on the right at www.autoexpert.com.au - I'll help you see just how low the price on your new car really goes. I'll also show you how to put your trade-in out to tender and arrive at the highest possible price, if you lack the time or the inclination to sell your old car privately. Buying a car is not an uplifting experience. It should be, but it's not. It's challenging, stressful and generally fairly unpleasant. But it doesn't have to be a rip-off. You absolutely can drive away in a cheap new car without being absolutely violated by a car dealer. Especially now.
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Top 20 Ways to Beat a Car Dealer | Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia
Full report: http://autoexpert.com.au/buying-a-car/top-20-ways-to-beat-a-car-dealer The Top 20 ways to beat a car dealer Buying a new car from a car dealership is awful. Getting that new car should be a pleasant experience, but it’s not. The deck is stacked against you, and your opponent (the car salesman) is match fit. That car salesman is not on your side. The dealership is not ‘helping you’. The dealership's mission is to extract your cash - as much of it as possible. Car salesmen have a playbook full of tricks and traps. They do it every day. This video - and these 20 tips for beating the dealer - is the cure. 1. Shop at the end of the month 2. Buy a car in stock 3. Pitch a low offer 4. Abrogate the limit 5. Walk away 6. Sell your used car & get independent finance 7. The dealership is a vending machine 8. Any time a car dealer talks, it’s probably bullshit 9. Time pressure is definitely bullshit 10. There’s plenty of profit in the deal 11. Normal conversational rules and etiquette don’t apply 12. Don’t answer questions - ask them 13. Don’t cave in to emotional pressure 14. Dealer delivery is a scam 15. Don’t queue up 16. Scare tactics (protection) 17. Accessories 18. Extended warranties 19. Branded insurance 20. Use a broker - that’s where I come in. My strong advice is: use all of these tips at the dealership. Negotiate the best deal you can on your next new car. Don’t pay a deposit. Don’t sign a contract. Don’t succumb to any of the car dealer's BS about the deal evaporating when you walk out the door (it won’t). Then contact me online at AutoExpert.com.au - I’ll get my brokerage onto this purchase, and they’ll use their inside knowledge and bulk-buying power to cut even more cash out of the car you want. There’s no obligation. It’s easy, quick and painless, and it’s not a scam. We’re currently saving new car buyers a total of more than $100,000 off the recommended drive-away price of new cars - every month. You can save too.
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Novated Lease Basics, Tricks and Traps | Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia
Here’s how to avoid GST on a new car - without breaking the law. It's one of the most cost-effective and tax-effective ways for an ordinary mortal on a salary to own a new car. http://autoexpert.com.au/buying-a-car/salary-sacrifice-car Novated leasing - also called ‘salary sacrifice’ - makes real sense for a lot of employees. It’s often the best way to own a new car. You can even do it on late-model used cars. I’m John Cadogan - the founder of AutoExpert.com.au - the place where Australian new car buyers save thousands on their next new cars … when they’re not roasting on Bondi Beach watching European tourists working on their sun tans. I handle a lot of novated leasing enquiries every month. A novated lease is a simple three-way agreement between you, your employer and a finance company. Basically, you agree to the payments. They come out of your pre-tax salary. The Federal Government gives you a big, fat 80 per cent free kick on the fringe benefits tax (even if the vehicle never gets used for work). Your employer makes the payments as a payroll deduction, from your pre-tax salary. So some of the money you would otherwise have paid in tax helps get you the car. That’s where the term ‘salary sacrifice’ comes from. That also reduces your taxable income. And the finance company does the administrative heavy lifting. They also technically own the car, and they lease it to you - which is why it’s a novated LEASE. The LEASE part is a huge benefit to you, too. The finance company buys the car as part of their operational expenditure. And that means they get to claim the GST as an input tax credit. So, effectively, they get the GST back, and they pass this saving on to you. Bottom line - you pay the ex-GST price for the car. On a $40,000 car, that’s an up-front saving of $3600 - a walk-up start, with no negotiation required. On a fifty grand car it’s four-and-a-half thousand off. No questions asked. Show me the other way a normal employee gets the GST off a new car... More employers should agree to novated leases for their key staff - and for purely selfish reasons. Think about it - if you’re an employer, you want to motivate and incentivise your key employees, right? Because they’re the ones making you the big bucks. You want to keep them pumping up the productivity. Here’s a small problem: Most incentives cost money. But a novated lease is essentially a zero cost incentive for you. Like, here’s that several thousand dollar saving up front. Here’s your free kick on the tax front that effectively gets your employee either a better car for the same take-home spend, or the same car for a lower take-home spend. And if the employee leaves the business, the lease is theirs - it departs with them - it’s not a residual burden for you. It’s a virtual zero-cost option for an employer, with huge benefits on the table for the employee, and it’s a super-effective incentive for those employees who are critical to the success of your business. Do not get railroaded by a lazy, locked-in novated lease provider amping up the fees and charges. Do the sums - because there are other ways to get cheap car finance, and it’s philosophically reprehensible to see an arsehole financier profit from your hard work. If you want help with a new car, the finance, novated lease, whatever - hit me up via the website. And remember: Always be yourself. Unless you can be a Jedi Knight. In that case, always be a Jedi. It’s the secret to happiness, and you heard it here first. I’m John Cadogan. I hope this helps. Thanks for watching.
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How to Beat a Car Dealer at the End of the Month | Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia
People get this wrong all the time. And then a car salesman bends them over. My number one tip to new car buyers is to shop at the end of the month. It’s strategically important to go to battle when the enemy is weak, right? That’s the end of the month. Unfortunately, though, a lot of potential car buyers go in at the end of the month, but get the approach monumentally wrong. They blow the deal, and it costs them thousands. I’ve worn hidden cameras into car dealerships on top-rating tabloid TV in Australia, to expose car dealers’ grubby little secrets. And I’ve built my business off the back of deploying countermeasures on the showroom floor on behalf of car buyers. So let me tell you how the end of the month really works. When you look at all the shiny new cars there in the dealership, realise one thing: The carmaker has already sold them. The dealer has purchased them. They’re his problem now. He bought them on credit and the interest hurts him in the wallet. It’s payable at the end of the month. He needs to clear that stock. It’s imperative. The importer who sold him those cars is under pressure, too. They need to account to the mother ship overseas - the factory - every month - because when you own a factory there’s a real simple equation: production equals sales, otherwise you go tits up. Importers therefore incentivise dealers. They say: Your quota this month is X. There is a massive carrot dangled out the front of this quota, and the message is simple: Make your quota, we’ll pay you a huge bonus. Don’t make your quota: no fat bonus for you. The end of the month is a strategically significant time to buy a car, because it’s good to go into battle when the enemy is most likely to be vulnerable. So what you need to find is a dealer who has the car you want in stock, and who is also just short of making that all-important sales target. That’s a plan, right? It’s the 29th of the month right now, as I’m getting this report package together. For the past several days I’ve been deluged with end-of-the-month enquiries from punters. It happens every month. And a lot of those people are making a critical error. This happens every month, too. The error is: Some people seem to think that simply turning up at the end of the month in some way guarantees a great deal, as if the rest of the process will just unfold automatically in their favour. This is the wrong way to think about the end of the month. At its core, I think this presumption exists because a lot of people really don’t want the confrontation that buying a new car entails. And trust me, it’s intrinsically confrontational - even if the wolf is wearing Armani and a Rolex. Some people hate confrontation so much that they imagine some magic time when confrontation in dealerships just evaporates. Like, they’re gunna walk into the dealership, sing kum-bah-yah, braid each other’s hair for some suitable interval, and drive out with a great deal - all because they got the date right. Frankly this is nuts. It’s a bit like going into battle at exactly the right time, breaching the door with that glint of malevolence in your eye … but forgetting to draw your weapon. Result: you get shot in the face. And this is exactly what will happen at a dealership if you forget to draw and fire. Even if the date is right.
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2018 Subaru XV Review (A.K.A. Subaru Crosstrek) | Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia
What strikes me more than anything is: XV is what Forester used to be - a substantively pumped-up Impreza. Same footprint - but a bit over five inches higher. It’s compact and affordable. Just right for active lifestyle adventuring - but not proper blue-singlet off-roading. It’s typically Subaru - well built, good ergonomics, and an easy to understand range - four variants with one powertrain. New Global platform - that’s the fundamental architecture. A two-litre Boxer four and a CVT with Symmetrical AWD. The EyeSight safety system is brilliant. If you care about your loved ones - you really do want EyeSight. Don’t scrimp on this - it’s only $2400 more, and you get a bigger touch screen and dual-zone climate air thrown in. It’s a no-brainer. EyeSight also adds adaptive cruise, which is just awesome. So good on the freeway - the car automatically adapts to congestion, slows down and maintains a safe following distance, then speeds back up. You’d never go back. The weight is within 100kg of Impreza. It’s the same powertrain. Therefore: Very similar performance. Basically line-ball with other strong two-litre petrol SUVs - the 2.0-litre Sportage and Tucson, and the 2.0-litre CX-5. XV keeps up in traffic and on the highway. It’s reasonably quiet and it goes where you tell it to go. Perversely the boot space is smaller even than Impreza (310L versus 345 on Impreza) and just to get the volume in perspective (a lot of people think SUVs are bigger because … SUV) the new i30 is 345 litres. Subaru only provides a space-saver spare, which is kinda at odds with the wild adventuring this vehicle is otherwise so well set up to accommodate. And I don’t know why they do that - the other SUVs (Forester and Outback) see fit to run full-sized spares). It seems an odd choice. This begs an obvious question: All things considered, then why not just buy an Impreza hatch? Same powertrain. Same parking lot footprint. Impreza even holds more luggage. But it’s a close thing. One reason might be ground clearance. The other might be your mobility. The extra height - 135mm or 5 inches adds both. So if you want to traverse rough roads, XV is going to be a better option, and if you have a bad back or a bung knee - ditto. Getting in and out is just going to be easier. Subaru added X-Mode to extend the all-terrain envelope. It chills out the throttle response at low speed to minimise the chance of you provoking traction-sapping wheelspin. Hardens up the limited-slip diff and also sharpens up brake response. This is all for the slippery stuff, under 40km/h. Under 20: HDC - you take your feet off and let the computer manage that, and just steer. It’s a real plus when traction is low - if you want to avoid becoming a toboggan - which - trust me, you do.
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The truth about modern car reliability (with added nuts) | Auto Expert John Cadogan
Thanks to the car, you enjoy more mobility than a Roman emperor - but none of us plays air guitar over this nearly as often as we should. Not enough riffing and too much bitching about the cost of unexpected repairs. "I know your pretty keen on the Santa Fe but I wonder about its mechanical longevity. I have a 2009 Santa Fe that has done 115,000ks. Every driver should expect wear and tear but so far, I have replaced a starter motor, (just under warranty) a rear seatbelt, and now a harmonic balancer where rubber has separated from the steal pulley. What SUV's do you recommend that can last the distance (i.e. around 10 years over and above the regular replacement parts being required or with a considerable warranty period?" - Bill Here’s a nine-year-old vehicle that has done three laps of the planet, effectively. In that time the starter motor failed and they replaced it free. Plus a seat belt and a harmonic balancer. Fairly small-ticket items, I’d suggest. If you think this is bad, a brief conversation with the owner of a Volkswagen should turn you around... Since the 1970s, cars have been packed with ever more features, they’re tremendously safer, they’re far more comfortable, the price has plummeted in real terms. They’re cheaper, better and more reliable, despite being significantly more complex. That’s just how it is - it’s an amazing achievement. One of the negative consequences of this is: People expect their cars, increasingly, to last forever and require no maintenance. I’m not saying everyone expects this - but there’s a growing class of person who resents paying $400 to service their car once a year, and who thinks it’s outrageous to pay something like five bucks a week over 10 years for replacement parts. Of course, there’s another class of person whose tyre pressures, oil and water levels and brakes only ever get checked during that annual service... I corresponded a bit with Bill over his problem. Apparently, what tipped him over the edge was a bill for $1200 or something to replace the harmonic balancer. So I found him a new one for $300 on eBay and advised him to get an independent mechanic to fit it at a greatly reduced cost compared to the Gestapo - and by ‘Gestapo’ I mean ‘authorised dealer sniffing blood in the water’. But Bill managed to get the shits with me anyway. I formed the view this was his default position on basically everything. And it might surprise you to learn that I am occasionally undiplomatic. Anyway - knock me down with a feather - I had the hide to point out that the second law of thermodynamics pertains even to modern cars, and as a result some unexpected repairs over nine years are just unavoidable. Second law of thermodynamics for dummies: Everything wears out. Every old, busted car started out as a shiny new one. Then, unless outrageous resources are devoted to upkeep, this trajectory towards inevitable old and bustedness is inevitable. This process affects everyone and everything. Expecting it not to pertain to your car - or you, as you age, or your computer, mobile phone, clothing, your home or your garden - is nuts.
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2018 Subaru WRX Review | Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia
I just stepped out of the STi and into this base-model manual WRX - and frankly I expected to be disappointed at being punted back to economy from business class. Happily enough, I wasn’t. Far from being underwhelmed at my ersatz demotion to economy class - I actually kinda like it. In some ways it’s better than the STI. Purists will be pounding the keyboard indignantly, but I can think of 12,000 really good reasons up front why I like it a whole lot more than an STI. One of the unfortunate consequences of separating WRX from Impreza is that the new Impreza (released a year ago in November 2016) does not herald a platform-up re-jig of this 2018 WRX. A new model is not due until 2019 - so this version is more of a comprehensive primp of the hair and makeup. This is sticky and firm - there’s a joke there, I’m sure. But let’s keep it classy, for a change. To me, this car is kinda the Goldilocks tuning for a performance car that you could drive every day. WRX sits seemingly dead flat in the corners, the steering is precise and the ride’s firm but not brutal like the STI. And it’s so neutral - meaning you can tweak its attitude easily with the throttle. Steering is maybe a frag light - but it’s very precise, and the ride is firm but not brutal. I could drive this car every day and be pretty happy - this is in the context of owning a performance car. It’s not the epitome of comfort. It’s the epitome of great value and chuckableness. That’s not a word. But it should be. In many ways it doesn’t choose to highlight all your driving deficiencies the way an STI does. WRX proves to me you really don’t need 100 different driver-selectable modes and settings. This thing just works, out of the box - tha Apple Mac of performance cars. Wet, dry, sealed, unsealed, it’s a blast. And despite the firm ride, it’s not skittish on rough surfaces. It’s like: This is a performance car. Here’s your firm suspension - no ‘comfort’, ‘sport’ and ‘track’ modes. Here’s your direct steering. Here’s your 245/40s on 18s. Here’s your symmetrical AWD. Wet, dry, sealed, unsealed, it’s a blast. And despite the firm ride, it’s not skittish on rough surfaces. It’s also very forgiving in the way a BRZ is not. I’d be getting the interplay between steering and throttle dead right in the wet in a BRZ, unless you want the rear to overtake the front. WRX will give you more rope - and more warning that the limit is imminent. But it will ultimately let you hang yourself if you drive like a Muppet. A couple of criticisms: The six-speed manual is pretty notchy. I’d describe it as adequate rather than a delight. There’s no sat-nav on the base model, and it’s about $800 a year for servicing at six-month intervals - in a market where the competition is on 12. And I get that turbos are hard on oil, so maybe the more frequent servicing is ultimately a decent investment in longevity. We’ve had WRXs for a quarter of a century now - and there’s no question this is the best one ever. That’s on objective criteria - you’re allowed to be infatuated with the past. There can absolutely be a special place in your heart for the WRC Blue bug-eye hatch. Just be aware you’re looking at history through rose-coloured glasses. It’s also pretty clear the WRX recently has lost its place in the drug-dealing, ram-raiding hall of fame. And, as nostalgic as those glory days were, I’m sure senior management at Subaru Central is patting itself on the back for that. Today’s WRX is a car that a fat middle-aged white man could own without feeling like a paid-up member of the Neddy Smith fan club. WRX is six seconds to 100 kays an hour for $40-odd grand. And in the wet it’s one of the fastest, most confidence inspiring cars on the road. Always super-rewarding to drive. It’s 0.8 seconds slower than an STI to 100 - a saving of about $15,000 a second, when you calculate it out. On that basis alone, I’ll take one.
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How to Test Drive a New Car
Most people test driving their next new car at a dealership get it horribly wrong. Here’s how to get it right. I’ve driven thousands of different new cars over more than 20 years. I love it. It’s one of the best bits of the job: getting in new cars and figuring out what they’re good at - and not so good at. Like everything else, a test-drive is a game with rules. It’s an essential step in choosing the right new car. There’s a lot at stake, too. So this video shows you everything you need to know. Before you start - make sure the car is insured. If it’s not, and if you crash, and if it’s your fault, you could be in for monumental financial pain. Make sure you know exactly what the insurance excess is, too. Dealers often ramp the excess right up to keep the premiums low. So a mistake you make out there on the road might still cost you five grand - even though the car is - technically - insured. This video shows you the top 10 tips for test driving a new car at a dealership. More at www.autoexpert.com.au
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Ford Powershift transmission problems: $10 million penalty | Auto Expert John Cadogan
Earlier this week, my heart was as heavy as a garden full of hummingbirds on the first day of spring, when the Federal Court placed Ford Australia’s head in a vice and handed down a $10 million fine for unconscionable conduct orbiting the infamous PowerShit transmission. It’s one of the biggest consumer law penalties ever in the nation. Well deserved, too. Ford will also - and this has really gotta hurt - finally have to address customers’ PowerShit transmission issues and - heaven forbid - actually comply with Australian Consumer Law, as interpreted by an independent umpire. Those customer-violating blue-oval mother-lovers will also be required to upgrade and independently review their consumer law compliance and complaints handling systems. Fancy that. Actually having to obey the law. Talk about fundamental change. Unfortunately, the official review program that flows from this ruling will only help a fraction of the 70,000 people who bought Focus, Fiesta or EcoSport shitheaps. For the remainder there’s always the class action. Details on who the current ruling actually helps and how to apply coming up at the end of this report. A $10 million reaming in Federal Court would be a heart-stopper for you or me, but for Ford it’s really just a speed hump. The cost of doing business. And you need to bear in mind that Ford made $6 million profiteering from affected PowerShit owners, denying them refunds and forcing them into expensive upgrades. For a corporation like Ford, a net $4 million wrist slap is not the sandpaper suppository it would represent for you or me. It’s just not. Rod Sims, who fronts the normally asleep ACCC, said: “Ford’s $10 million penalty is one of the largest handed down under the Australian Consumer Law and reflects the seriousness of Ford’s conduct. Ford knew that its vehicles had three separate quality issues, but dealt with affected customers in a way which the Court has declared to be unconscionable.” That last bit is important - because Ford’s unconscionable conduct is no longer a matter of speculation. It’s a legal fact. The court has determined this about Ford’s conduct. ‘Unconscionable’ means ‘unreasonably excessive’. There’s no way Ford could have done this by accident. They screwed thousands of customers, causing immense emotional distress and financial hardship, because they thought they could get away with it. They even saw that distress as an opportunity to make money. Rod Sims said Ford’s illegal behaviour was an act in three parts. Firstly, Ford told owners the uncontrolled shuddering was a result of their driving style when the company knew it was a design defect. Secondly, Mr Sims said: “Ford knew that the symptoms of the quality issues with the vehicles were experienced intermittently, but required customers to demonstrate them on demand in the presence of a dealer in order for repairs to be undertaken.” And, third, (the big one in my view): Ford’s refusal to provide a refund or no-cost replacement even after multiple repairs had failed to resolve the problem. Instead, Ford instituted the Orwellian ‘Ownership Loyalty Program’. This would be like a frequent flyer program where one of the ‘rewards’ is to charge you $10,000 and drop you out of the bomb bay without a parachute, if you complain. The company told owners a refund or replacement was not an option. And that’s a bare-faced lie. It’s a legal entitlement. Instead, owners were coerced into making a significant payment to get out of their PowerShitboxes and into another Ford. So - just to be crystal clear on this: Ford knew the transmission was defective. They denied it. They failed to resolve the problem. They treated consumer law as if it were optional or disposable, and then they profiteered off the affected owners. I don’t see how Ford could do this by accident. That would be like robbing a bank by accident or mass murder by accident. You simply can’t do that. It’s not possible.
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2WD versus AWD SUV: Which is best? | Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia
2WD versus AWD is the classic SUV dichotomy - and the default presumption is: AWD is better. But the truth is, a lot of this depends upon you and how you’ll actually be using the vehicle. Mary’s question about this is pretty typical: “I’m looking for a good SUV. I’ve been told AWD is a better safety choice as there is more control in braking. I am doing a lot of driving between Ulladulla and Sydney and often have the grandchildren with me, so this is obviously a concern. Can you help?” Some simple advice up front: If you want to go off-road adventuring exploring, on fire trails, whatever: get the AWD. You do not want to be in a position where you drive down some fire trail to an idyllic campsite, where you can burn the dinner and commune with nature, listen to the kids bitch about not having WiFi all night and then it rains in the morning and you can’t get home because … 2WD + muddy ascent equals fail. Regular trips to the snow, launching a boat on a ramp, rural property with driveway from Hell - all excellent reasons to own the AWD. But if you want an SUV really only to act in the capacity of a defacto family station wagon - and that’s all you want it to do - you probably don’t need AWD. In fact, if you’ve had a car all these years, and you’re getting an SUV, and you don’t plan on driving any differently, 2WD will be fine. The first thing to remember is that plenty of SUVs are only 2WD. Nissan’s Qashqai and Honda’s HR-V, for example, are 2WD only. And the base models of plenty of other SUVs - like the Mazda CX-5, Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson - the base models are all front drivers. At this point, let’s put Subaru in a box on its own - that company only does AWD. And it’s a unique-ish selling proposition. In fact, Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD is an excellent system and (together with their involvement in rally) it rocketed them from obscurity in the 1990s to where they are today in the mainstream. In Subaru’s case - all-wheel-drive really does mean all the wheels are driving, all the time. But in the majority of the rest of the market … not so much. We’ll get to that now. Most AWD systems are ‘on-demand’: meaning they are predominately, overwhelmingly, 2WD for the vast majority of their operational lives. AWD is only invoked when there is front wheel spin. When the front wheels lose it, that’s the demand for all-wheel drive. So let’s be perfectly clear - your common, and notionally AWD SUV, just driving down the street normally, is doing so under the tractive effort of just the front wheels. It they’re not threatening to spin, the rear wheels aren’t threatening to drive. Sure - you can lock AWD in, manually. Locking in AWD is a really good idea in that ‘rain overnight/camping’ scenario we discussed earlier. But it’s a really bad idea at other times - especially on high-traction surfaces, where driving in AWD will start scrubbing out the tyres and (potentially) break the transmission. Good safety tip there. Leave it in auto. You have to remember that the front end of the car and the rear end follow slightly different paths when you drive around curves. Therefore they travel different distances. Therefore they need to turn at different rates. If you lock them together by pressing the button, and traction levels are high, there’s an excellent chance you’ll break something. Subaru gets around this problem with a viscous coupling just behind the gearbox. It’s a bunch of precise hardware swimming in very thick silicone fluid, and the upshot is that it allows the front and rear prop shafts to turn at different rates without blowing up. Apart from additional traction in slippery conditions - the purported advantages of all-wheel-drive for ordinary drivers pretty much just fluff. AWD used to be a huge contributor to overall dynamic stability. But then, when the dinosaurs all died and Twitter was invented, cars came with a bunch of other stability-enhancing systems (like electronic stability control) that have levelled the playing field by making 2WD vehicles just as stable in most driving scenarios. People say AWD gives you more grip, but this is unmitigated bullshit. Grip is a function of rubber on the road - it’s not a function of which wheels are driving. What AWD does, however, is reduce the tractive effort at each wheel for any given throttle input. In other words - AWD makes it more likely you’ll be able to maintain traction in slippery conditions where equivalent 2WD system would be spinning their tits off like a pole dancer on crack.
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The truth about sulphur levels in automotive fuels | Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia
Sulphur is an impurity in fuel - petrol and diesel. Currently our regulations here in Ass-trailer (‘Straya) have a deplorably excessive sulphur limit for 91 RON gasolina at 150 parts per million (PPM) while 95 and 98 premium unleaded are 50 at parts per million. Among developed nations in the OECD only Mexico is worse. Well done, ‘Straya. Yesss! Australia is always somewhat spasticated on fuel quality and emissions regulations. But things here are not as bad as they seem. Despite our stratospheric limits on sulphur, in practice, the bowsers here in Shitsville average 28 parts per million for 91 RON and 16 parts per million for premium. I don’t think we should be high-fiving ourselves, however, because global best practice is a mandated maximum 10 parts per million. We are thus ‘only’ double-to-triple where we should be. Sulphur content matters because the stuff passes through the combustion chamber and impacts the effectiveness of catalytic converters. One of the key jobs the cat does is to magic away gasses called oxides of nitrogen in exhaust. These are also known as NOx - the twisted freaks of the stoichiometric combustion process at the centre of the Volkswagen monkey-spanking dieselgate scandal. NOx are a respiratory tract irritant and generally burden on human health. Pollution kills a lot of people - and NOx is a big part of the problem, which is why it’s so heavily regulated. Drilling right down into this - the catalytic converter grabs NOx on the way through and reconfigures it with mad chemical voodoo to become plain old nitrogen gas and oxygen gas - the two major components of the air you’re breathing right now. So that’s nice. Sulphur gums up the works and stops that from happening. And NOx is emitted, the better to kill people prematurely. Which is exactly what it does. That’s bad. The fuel industry bitches and moans about how expensive it would be to comply with 10 parts per million and the car industry bitches and moans about not being able to meet emissions regulations without it. They deploy their arsehole lobbyists to Canberra armed with A-grade, export quality bullshit. Our politicians - useless lawyers, overwhelmingly - technical spastics - are the referees of this bitching and moaning world championship. They drive around in government cars with their heads up their corpulant arses, calling the shots. Which is, of course, why nothing ever gets done. If you’re a combustion propeller-head in some super-secret engineering skunkworks, it’s like this: The leaner you run the fuel-air mixture, up to a point, the more torque you get at the crank. You know you’ve been over-enthusiastic on this if the engine misfires. But running leaner than the ideal stoichiometric air-fuel ratio is good because you’re getting more work done with less fuel. Temperatures increase somewhat, so you have to make sure (using robust R&D) that you don’t over-temp critical engine components, because owners often hate it when their engine melts the pistons or the valves. But, basically, a lean-burning engine does more with less. Meaning manufacturers can get away with smaller capacity lean-burn engines doing the same work as larger, richer-burning engines - so there’s a compounding fuel economy benefit there. (Less weight from a smaller engine and intrinsically less fuel used into the bargain.) Unfortunately, the rate of NOx production increases as you make the mixture leaner. There’s too much oxygen, and not all of it gets laid with its first-preference partner on tinder (gasoline). Frustrated and alone, remaining oxygen does what any of us would do - it gets drunk and goes home with nitrogen, and wakes up humiliated. We’ve all been there. There’s no shame. This of course means designers need to do even more mad catalytic converter voodoo to ensure the NOx limits in the emissions regulations are met, with a lean-burn engine - and that’s precisely what the monkey spankers intentionally failed to to in the dieselgate scandal. So, to Jason I’d say it’s probably OK to use 91 or e10 on the highway, but better to switch to premium around the city - because the city is where the impacts of NOx are really felt. It’s not an environment thing in the sense of climate change. It’s an environment thing mainly in the human health domain.
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How to choose the right car in 2017 | Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia
Buying the wrong new car is one hell of an expensive mistake. So here’s how to get it right. In most markets in the developed world there’s an overload of choice. Here in Australia, there are (let’s call it) 300 vehicles from 60 brands - and each one of those brands can give you several dozen typically bullshit reasons why each of their vehicles are the best. It’s so easy to stall on the grid - confounded by choice - especially if you’re that typical mainstream car buyer who doesn’t think about new cars when you’re not actually in the market to buy one. I’m John Cadogan, the founder of AutoExpert.com.au - the place where Australian new car buyers save thousands on their next new cars, and I see this a lot - because new cars are hard to buy. If you need a new TV or a new refrigerator, you can go to a retailer and see the competitors side-by-side. If you get a good sales consultant they can give you some insight on which brand has the best deal right now, and which brands see the fewest returns and warranty claims. You can’t do that with cars - there are about 30 different Toyota Corolla-sized cars available, and you just cannot see them side-by-side. It’s a disgracefully dickensian anti-consumer arrangement. A car dealer wants to sell you his brand. He doesn’t really care if you buy a Yaris, a Corolla, a Camry, a Hilux or a Landcruiser. He doesn’t really care which one of those is right for you. But he sure as shit doesn’t want you walking out the door so that you can see if there’s a better option from Mazda, Hyundai or Kia. So that’s tip number one: Never ask a car dealer for advice - you won’t get it. All you’ll get is propaganda. Six more steps to choosing the right new car in 2017 in the video
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New Cars Cheap: Why Price Ain't Everything | Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia
In this FAQ report, Neal asks about Subaru Outback 2.5 Premium, Mitsubishi Outlander Diesel LS Safety Pack, Hyundai Santa Fe Elite He says: "Hi John and Auto Expert team. I'm just wondering what prices are you able to obtain for the vehicles mentioned above, given we're nearing the end of June and EOFY. I'm trying to gauge affordability and financing." I'd suggest pricing is not the biggest determinant of which vehicle to buy here - certainly discounting is not the right way to choose the right final vehicle. Tangible differences between the vehicles are much more relevant to ultimate satisfaction (or not) as an owner. Hyundai & Subaru deliver excellent customer support. (Mitsubishi is OK) Hyundai has the best diesel powertrain performance with Santa Fe. Subaru has EyeSight and Symmetrical AWD (huge advantages) but offers the least standard warranty & most expensive servicing Outback has 5 seats only, while Santa Fe has seven across the board, and Outlander has a foot in each camp with some 5- and some 7-seat SUV models. These differences are probably a lot more important in the long run to ultimate satisfaction (especially as price variation across the board is likely to be only slight.)
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The Truth About Speedo Accuracy | Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia
Is your speedo the biggest bullshitter on your entire instrument panel? Find out next. This question, is from Andrew P. "Why have I notice lately they Speedo’s in cars a lieing. In my mums brand new xtrail her car seems to be doing 6 Kms less ph then what the gps says in my Audi it’s less then 3 kmph and my other aunties xtrail it’s 6kmsph again and my partners RCZ 5kmph ah is this so? Are manufacturers doing this on purpose?" Yes, Andrew, they are. About 11 years ago the essentially globally homogenised regulations for speedos in new cars changed. Essentially they’re not allowed to under-report your speed. So a speedo cannot display - say - 100 when your actual speed is 105. On the 1st of July 2006, here in ‘Straya, they updated the speedo compliance regulation called ADR 18. New ADR 18 says speedos cannot indicate less that the true speed, and over-indication accuracy is limited to a maximum 10 per cent plus 4km/h. This means that at a true speed of 100 kilometres per hour the speedo can’t be displaying 99, or under, but it could be displaying up to 114. Before 1 July 2006 the speedo accuracy was simply plus or minus 10 per cent - so the true speed could be 100 and the indicated speed could be anything between 90 and 110 - something to bear in mind if you own an older car. It’s not really a conspiracy to slow us all down - it’s a compliance issue. What galls me is this this: I want to drive on the freeway at the limit. For example, it’s 300 kays door to door from my joint to Canberra - mostly freeway. If ‘Strayan Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbullshit calls me for an urgent consultation on running the nation, some thorny issue (which tie makes me look like less of a Churchillean git) I have no tolerance for dilly-dallying on these pressing matters of national security. If I drive at the 110 kilometre per hour limit the drive to save the nation will take me two hours and 44 minutes. And, just like my hero Jack Bauer, I don’t want to keep Bullshit Mountain waiting. The PM needs my help, to prevent Tiegate. However, should I happen to be in a car with the least-accurate (but still compliant) speedo, I’ll be staring down at 110 but my actual speed over the ground will be just 96 kays an hour. Transit time: Blown out to three hours and eight minutes. Nobody wants that. This means I’ll be keeping Bullshit 6 Actual waiting for 24 minutes longer than absolutely necessary. I hate that - also, back in the real world, that’s not driving: it’s just wasting your life bored shitless on the freeway, and I have no wish to do that for a nanosecond longer than needs must. So, you could use GPS - but not integrated GPS, from the carmaker, because it generally does not display speed. Presumably because manufacturers don’t want to open the floodgate of complaints about speedo inaccuracy from indignant customers, when they see two mutually irreconcilable readings on the same instrument panel. If you want to drive legally, but at the maximum permitted speed, you can suck a GPS unit to your windscreen (but remember not to burn your lips approaching the summer solstice here in ‘Straya). Once sucked on enthusiastically, you might compare suck-on receiver’s speed to that of the speedo and derive a correction factor. Or, if you want to use the correct technical jargon, a ‘fudge factor’. Couple of caveats on this - I’d be doing it on a flat, level section of road, because GPS accuracy is potentially compromised uphill or downhill. The system itself is reasonably robust for the Z-coordinate, but the receiver you use might not be paying that much attention to elevation in practise. I’d also use a wide-open road without overhanging trees - because canyons and trees that occlude the sky can block the line of sight to multiple satellites and degrade the suck-on unit’s accuracy. If you’ve ever been on the freeway in a 110 zone and blasted over a crest or around a curve and come face-to-arse with a highway patrol interceptor lying in wait, and then - visceral reaction - you look [LOOK DOWN] down there and you’re aghast that the speedo is nudging 120 kays an hour. ...and then you wonder why the blues and twos never actually go on, in this situation, like a deleted scene from Mad Max (you know, the first one, before Mel Gibson emerged like a butterfly from the anti-semitic nutbag cocoon) it’s probably because your actual speed could have been as low as 105 on a perfectly legal speedo.
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Nut-fest Friday #27 - Flying Car Takes Out Bus on Freeway & Holden Axes 30 Dealers
Coming up on another fake news Friday: Holden marhes one dealer in 10 down the hall for a Zyclon B shower. 30 Holden dealers in total are being boned. Full details of Volkswagen’s shock re-branding announcement. Brilliant. Bold. (But might not be actual news...) Plus, we identify (literally) the world’s hottest Ming mole, and a horrific glimpse of what flying cars in the future might really look like when a flying car takes out a bus on a Japanese freeway. (You'll have to wait for the Hollywood adaptation 'Crouching Mazda, Hidden Greyhound' due for release next year...) Some of it’s even true this week. Like this story about Holden: Holden will - literally - decimate its dealer network. The company, of course, misses no opportunity to talk up the future of its operations, after the factory closes later this year, but the facts are inconveniently at loggerheads with the corporate spin. Reports are emerging that 30 Holden dealers are for the chop - slightly more than one in 10. In a statement, those disingenuous arseholes said: “Taking into account a number of factors, the difficult decision has been reached that the size of the dealer network must be reduced. This will be a challenging period for those dealers impacted and their staff. Just as throughout the wind-down of our manufacturing operations, we are trying to put our people first and help them wherever we can.” Let me translate: [Clears throat] After a rolling series of eff-ups with the product and also unethically siphoning money from the taxpayer under entirely false pretenses, Holden’s poor decisions have finally bitten it on the arse. Sales are in freefall and they’ve had to take the unpalatable - not to mention unprecedented - step of unceremoniously boning their dealers. But, hey, have you seen their new Commodore V8 Supercar concept? It’s awesome! Let the good times roll.
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Crash Tackle - Understanding Airbags | Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia
Full report: http://autoexpert.com.au/buying-a-car/why-didnt-my-airbags-deploy-in-a-crash You crash your car. It feels pretty bad. Car crashes are violent, brutal and chaotic. Maybe there’s a lot of damage. Maybe you sustain some injury - bit of whiplash, bruises, a few cuts. You look at the wreck and you discover the damn airbags didn’t even deploy. And you presume your car is defective. You’re understandably angry with the manufacturer. Maybe you can smell a lawsuit. Before you retain a lawyer, let’s look at the counter-intuitive line between life and death in car crashes, and the mad science of survival. I get questions about this a lot. 'My airbags didn’t deploy in a crash: Should I sue the manufacturer?' Or: 'I’m never buying another [INSERT BRAND NAME HERE]. Never.' These questions - I get dozens of them every year - tell me there’s a fundamental misunderstanding about the dynamics of violence in car crashes. The physics. The engineering. So let’s clear that right up.
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Car Loan Calculator - Easy Car Loan Comparison
How do you choose the best car loan? This easy car loan comparison shows you how to cut through the BS and choose the best and cheapest car loan. Doing this makes car finance easy, and allows you to identify the truly cheap car loans from the more expensive ones. The best car loan rates are often not the best way to choose a loan - because fees and charges add substantially to the real cost of car finance. Choosing the lowest car loan repayments is a flawed strategy too. This review is a simple 'how to' guide to deciding - simply and logically - which car loan is the best car loan for you. Don't decide on the spot at the dealership - take your time and look hard at any finance that is offered to you. For more information on the different types of car finance, go here: http://autoexpert.com.au/buying-a-car/car-finance/what-are-the-best-car-finance-options If you need help getting a bunch of solid car finance options in front of you - all from reputable Australian lenders - contact me here: http://autoexpert.com.au/contact You can be sorted in under 48 hours. And don't stress if you have a bad credit history - reputable lenders have tailor-made products for you, subject to meeting some sensible credit criteria. Don't be put off by the names - 'bad credit loans' or 'bad credit car loans' - these are reputable commercial car finance products.
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FAQ | The Truth About Dealer Delivery Charges | Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia
The dealer delivery charge on new cars is a grubbly little scam that pumps up the car dealer's profit out of all proportion to the work that is actually done. I get questions about this all the time like this one from David, who says: "One question I have is in regards to the dealer delivery. You mention dealer delivery consists of only a few basics tasks, but I've asked a few dealers (nissan and subaru) what is dealer delivery and they tell me its the costs to ship the car from overseas to Australia, I said doesn't nissan australia pay for that and they said they pass the costs onto us dealers. Is this true? If so it's perfectly justified for dealers to be charging $2000+ for delivery or are they just pulling my leg?" I go into some detail in the video, but basically, dealer delivery is a basic car preparation fee for detailing the car, putting in a full tank of fuel, giving it a mechanical once-over, the labour cost of registering it for you (legwork). It absolutely does not include the cost of international shipping. That's absurd.
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The physics of turbochargers (for dummies) | Auto Expert John Cadogan
You want the physics without the mathematics and the consequential intracranial bleeding? OK - here we go: Today’s chat is inspired by JB007: "30 years ago I was told the heat loss through the turbo causes it to turn and I have been trying to get my head around this ever since. ie, heat loss creates a pressure differential that creates flow. It’s still bending my brain. How does this work?" Combustion is the process that drives everything. Fuel has a high amount of stored energy. Combustion byproducts (CO2 and water) have a low amount of stored energy. The difference in the two stored energy states is liberated and used for motivation (and to drive the alternator, etc.) It’s the heat that energises the gas in the combustion chamber. And it’s the energetic state of the gas that does the mechanical work on the piston. Unfortunately, we just throw some of that apparently serviceable energy away, out the exhaust pipe. It’s this wasted energy - at least some of it - that is used to drive the turbocharger. There’s a lot of energy still in the exhaust gas as it exits the cylinder and enters the exhaust manifold. The energy inside the gas in those headers exists in the form of heat, pressure and motion. Because it’s pressurised relative to atmosphere it’s on the hunt for a way out, and the only exit sign is hanging over the entry to the exhaust turbine part of the turbocharger. It’s like a pressure release valve. Lots of processes take place here. The pressure inside the exhaust manifold is caused by heat - because there’s a direct, linear relationship between absolute temperature and pressure. So there’s high pressure on the engine side and relatively low pressure on the exit side. Therefore, there’s flow. (Because gasses flow from areas of high to low pressure.) Gasses have mass. Exhaust is mainly nitrogen gas, CO2 and steam. They’ve all got mass. If you’ve got mass and flow, you’ve got kinetic energy. So the heat and pressure turns into kinetic energy by virtue of its motion through the turbine. The gas also has viscosity - which is a fancy way of saying it just doesn’t like being pushed around. Or at least it resists being pushed around. So it hits the turbine blades on its way out out the door and the resistance translates to force acting on the blades, and that spins the turbine, which is connected to the compressor on the other end of the shaft. The compressor pressurises the air on the way into the engine, and that’s basically the mechanism for transferring energy that would have been wasted in the exhaust to additional energy in the inlet air stream (in the form of pressure). A couple of points on this: Several people took issue with the fact that I said turbochargers are not driven by heat. And I stand by that statement - a turbocharger is driven by mechanical flow - kinetic energy and viscosity. The gas that flows is energised by heat, certainly, but you cannot drive a turbine by heat - you need flow. If you want to claim it’s heat also driving your alternator, then yeah - OK. We’re totally on the same page here. There’s a thing called the first law of thermodynamics, which basically covers the conservation of energy. It essentially says the sum of work and energy in a closed system is constant in the time domain. So if you put a box around the turbine in a turbocharger, you’ve got energy going in (in the form of highly pressurised, hot gas). You can see it’s hot because it’s heating up the headers to bright yellow while it waits for its turn to go through. You’ve got energy coming out, in the form of mechanical work done spinning the turbocharger (the rotational kinetic energy acquired by the turbine and the compressor). And also in the form of the energy left in the exhaust gas after it passes through the turbine. Energy in has to equal energy out, or you violate the first law, and that’s not allowed. So the energy coming out of the turbine equals the energy on the way in minus the work done on the turbine and compressor. So the total energy of the exhaust gasses after the turbo must be less than before the turbo. It’s definitively a lower temperature on the output side of the turbine (you can see that) and the pressure is also lower (otherwise there wouldn’t be flow in that direction). And these are two of the key indicators of the energy state of any gas, all other things being equal. So instead of thinking about this like: ‘How does the temperature difference (or heat loss) drive the turbocharger?’ just think about it like this (at the risk of dumbing it down to the point where even a politician would get it): You’ve got high energy gas going into the turbo. It comes out at a lower energy, and the difference between the energy states, before and after, is the energy that’s been returned to the engine by the turbocharger. The temperature and the pressure differences are just individual pieces in the thermodynamics jigsaw puzzle.
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The truth about Hyundai's court enforceable undertaking with the ACCC | Auto Expert John Cadogan
Hyundai in the news: Court enforceable undertaking. OMG. It doesn’t sound good, does it? Lots of enquiry yesterday by e-mail and via YouTube and Twitter. Here’s a representative taste from Tone167: “Any chance of an update, John? Looks like Hyundai has signed a similar undertaking [to Holden’s] with the ACCC. Keen to hear your take on this, especially given that you've cited Hyundai as more responsive to customer issues than some other makes.” The ACCC is running a stiff brush through the entire car industry, and they’re going in through the distal end of the digestive tract. It’s about time. There’s no point having laws that are not enforced. No point having laws that carmakers’ franchise agreements violate. No point having laws that some dealers treat as if optional. The ACCC officially put the Australian car industry on notice last August. One of its major beefs with the industry concerns complaints-handling procedures. Some brands and some dealers ignore consumer law totally. In July 2017 the ACCC dragged Ford’s sorry arse to Federal Court, alleging Ford engaged in: “...unconscionable and misleading or deceptive conduct, and made false or misleading representations in response to customer complaints” At about the same time, the ACCC had a knife fight in a phone box with Holden. Holden acknowledged publicly that misrepresenting the rights of consumers and its own obligations under consumer law was in fact how it did business in many cases. This is a public admission by Holden that it acted unlawfully and screwed consumers over. Companies hate doing that - they put incredible effort into imparting positive spin on everything. The ACCC is pushing for things like transparency from carmakers so that consumers are aware of their rights. It also wants carmakers to review recent complaints and current complaints handling procedures, with that last point extends to dealers and the way they handle your initial complaints, if the car’s not meeting your expectations. Here’s a question from yesterday from Shane Hean: "Nothing [from you] about Hyundai being reamed by the ACCC? Hyundai has apparently agreed to court enforceable undertakings in a similar vein to Holden. " Let’s unpack that. The ACCC is pushing for every carmaker to enter into formal compliance agreements. Those agreements are called a court enforceable undertakings. Some carmakers are going to fight back (like, say, Ford). Some are going to be coerced into it (like Holden), and some are going to do it willingly. Rod Sims from the ACCC: “Hyundai worked constructively with us and formally committed to improve their systems to comply with consumer guarantees. By putting the consumer law front and centre, Hyundai is seeking to ensure its customers get what they’re legally entitled to...” Scott Grant is the operational big cheese of Hyundai in Australia. He told News Limited: “The ACCC has not been investigating us, or identified any number of complaints or problems with our products or services, or highlighted any particular individual consumer issues to build a case against us.” This philosophically very different to the ACCC’s dealing with Holden. There’s no coercive pressure - no statement about non-compliance. Make no mistake: The ACCC is expecting a court enforceable undertaking from every carmaker, soon. This is great news for you - the car owner, auditioning for the part of David, perhaps, in an upcoming battle with Goliath (a carmaker). Rod Sims told the ABC he is: “...currently in talks with all the major manufacturers to get them to follow Holden and Hyundai and change their warranty policies.” This statement underlines how easily (personal opinion) these corporate bureaucratic wonks shoot themselves in the foot. They just don’t understand the media or the corporate world. Again, personal opinion: By lumping Hyundai together with Holden in ill-considered statements, Rod Sims is failing adequately to differentiate good carmakers from bad. This matters. The media: So dumb. Like a runaway horse: All brawn; no intellect. Inherently biased towards sensationalism and conflict. They amplify the message, and they skew the framing. You can bet your arse there are 50-something carmakers and their senior executive management teams watching this voluntary compliance by Hyundai like it’s a blood sport. Because if Hyundai is emerges reamed in the prison shower of public opinion here, you can be those corporate spectators are going to push back against the ACCC’s court-enforceable undertaking demands. And that’s a bad result for you - the consumer.
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Adblue diesel additive explained | AutoExpert John Cadogan | Australia
AdBlue goes into your diesel engine’s exhaust, and fewer toxic emissions come out - that’s what it does. But on the consumer front, can the carmaker compel you to use their own brand of AdBlue in your car? That’s next. This report is inspired by a damn fine recent question from Robert W - and I’m tipping he is not alone: I went for a service at my MB Dealer. I told him I fill up with AdBlue at the BP truck pump. He said I should not use it because it crystallises. He told me I should only use MB Adblue, but of course it is a lot dearer. At the fuel pump it is only 90 cents a litre. So, is Adblue that different between the petrol station and what MB sells? Robert is the owner of a Mercedes-Benz ML 250 diesel - so I know you’ll join with me in extending my sincere sympathies to Robert on this. An ML 250. Nobody deserves that. Frankly, what Robert was told sounds like illegal, shady advice from a pretty dodgy and/or ignorant dealer to me. It reinforces my belief that a car dealership is not the kind of place one should attend to procure advice. The ACCC is very clear that Mercedes-Benz (or any other carmaker) cannot mandate the use of genuine parts or consumables used to service or repair the vehicle. That would be illegal. There is, however, an obligation that the parts you do use be fit for purpose. A simple example is: The oil filter on your car. It does not have to be the carmaker’s filter, but you must use a filter designed for that engine. Same for the oil used to service the vehicle, or a replacement radiator used in crash repair - whatever. My understanding is that AdBlue is trademarked by the German Association of the Automobile Industry - meaning that anything marketed as AdBlue is just a 32.5 per cent solution of urea in de-ionised water. It’s also called AUS32 - for aqueous urea solution, 32.5 per cent. As chemicals go, AdBlue is not rocket science. Not even close. It’s not 224 trimethly pentane, is it? (Look it up.) AdBlue is clear, non-toxic and safe to handle, easy to make and store, and it’s classified under the ‘minimum risk’ category for transportable fluids. Anyhoo … AdBlue goes to war against oxides of nitrogen in your exhaust. Oxides of nitrogen are toxic chemicals that are respiratory tract irritants. Very bad for you. AdBlue decomposes them to harmless nitrogen gas and oxygen gas. You use up to five litres of AdBlue for every 100 litres of diesel. And the car will not run if you run out of AdBlue - so, don’t leave it too long with the warning light on. It seems to me that anything legitimately called AdBlue would be compatible with any Merc that requires AdBlue - if it has the AdBlue trademark it complies with the ISO 22241 quality standard - regardless of whether you pick it up at a filling station or the Mercedes-Benz dealership. To see what the mothership said on this, I scoured Mercedes-Benz’s Australian website. They do have a page on AdBlue, which is currently required on S-Class, G-Class and ML-Class. Basically, any Benz with the BlueTEC badge needs glorified piss to run. Happily enough, nothing on the Merc AdBlue reference page says you must use the genuine Mercedes-Benz AdBlue solution - presumably because requiring that would be illegal. They do suggest it. (That’s allowed.) So, Robert, it seems to me that you may legitimately power ahead with non-genuine glorified pee in your glorified luxury German SUV. So that’s nice. Of course, this is unlikely to make your local dealer very happy, in respect of his unjustified billion per cent AdBlue markup. (Actual ACCC determination of average dealer profit margin in the servicing business across all brands: 64 per cent. Service is the most profitable part of a new car dealership. And they do so pump up the price of the consumables.)
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e10 Fuel Problems (It's not clean or green - or a good deal for you.) | Auto Expert John Cadogan
Time for the ethanol chat. I’m pretty sure there’s gunna be a fatwah. (Said the actress to the bishop...) My comments in this report relate to Australian ethanol - which is mainly produced from wheat. In the US they use corn, and in South America they use sugar cane. And the energy economics vary as a result. At the risk of being totally parochial, we don’t have a famine problem in Australia. We have some poverty, but there’s enough arable land. Here in ‘Straya, farmers are going to grow what they can grow on their land, and they’re going to sell it to the highest bidder. If part of that market is for ethanol production - fine by me. At an ethanol factory, the wheat gets separated into its two constituents - starch and gluten. They ferment the starch to produce the ethanol, and they sell the gluten into the food industry. The first big problem is: ethanol’s not green. All that marketing bullshit - clean, green leaves coming out of the petrol bowser? It’s A-grade bullshit. We produce ethanol here, using coal and diesel. It’s environmentally disgraceful. Here in Shitsville, there’s effectively an ethanol monopoly - it’s all made by Manildra. The company operates one large ethanol plant in Bomaderry on the South Coast. Coal and wheat roll in at one end, and ethanol pours out the other. Manildra is privately owned by a rich dude named Dick Honan through his personal company Honan Holdings. He’s a prolific political donor - kicking the tin to the tune of $179,000 in the 2014-15 financial year. According to the ABC’s Four Corners, Manildra made $4.3 million in donations over the past two decades - straight in the favour bank. Personal opinion. On fundamentals, Manildra seems like a pretty shitty business. I don’t know why they bother. Total income on sales for 2013-14 was a staggering $1.2 billion for Honan Holdings, according to Fairfax, but the taxable income was just $35 million - that’s a margin of less than three per cent. That’s terribly thin. This means the income tax payable was just $6.6 million. On $1.2 billion in sales. To put this in perspective, if your taxable income here in Shitsville is $100,000 per year for the total sale of your labour to your employer, and you paid tax on that at the same rate as Manildra, the impost of income tax to you would be $500. Annually. Mr Honan appears to be rather the regular at meetings with the big end of town. According to Fairfax Media he met with then NSW Premier Mike Baird and other cabinet ministers on 20 occasions in the lead-up to the government compelling small filling station operators to sell e10 for the first time. Here’s what the NSW Treasury said about that in 2012: “Beyond Manildra it is difficult to identify a net benefit for any other segment of society.” The ACCC said in 2013 that e10 had (quote) “reduced consumer choice” and resulted in (quote) “significantly higher prices”. Even the Greens weren’t convinced. The late Greens MP John Kaye said: “There's no evidence that requiring motorists to use ethanol-blended fuels has any net greenhouse gas gain or much in the way of air quality improvement.” It kinda sucks when you can’t sell an allegedly sustainable fuel to the Greens. Yet, none of this convinced the Premier. In February this year the NSW Planning Assessment Commission approved the reopening of one of the state’s shittiest coal mines so that the dodgy output can be trucked to - you guessed it - Manildra’s ethanol plant in Bomaderry. The Planning Assessment Commission said in 2014 that operating the mine would be: “Incompatible with the significant conservation of the site” The allegedly independent agency rejected that previous non-Manildra mining proposal saying open cut mining there posed: “Unacceptable risks and impacts, and only limited short-term benefits.” I wonder what changed. Because soon, it seems, 20 filthy, stinking coal trucks every single day will stuff themselves full of low quality shit coal, and head across the the Blue Mountains to the Manildra ethanol plant - which has breached its EPA licence more than 2000 times, according to the Financial Review - to keep those boilers ticking over and that clean, green ethanol flowing. According to Fairfax Media, Manildra has development applications in play, which will see the plant expand from 126 million litres to 300 million annually. Do you suppose there’s really any doubt that this plan will get the green light? When it does, I can guarantee you that it will be a great deal - for Manildra.
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Nut-fest Friday #6 | Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia
Let’s empty out the mail sack, bust 10 inaugural 2017 nuts and reveal this year’s first champion cock of the week. In the immortal words of Adam West: Atomic batteries to power; turbines to speed. I’m John Cadogan, the founder of AutoExpert.com.au - the place where Australian new car buyers get the right advice and save thousands on their next new cars, and my cock and I would like to thank you sincerely. We just cracked 10 million views on YouTube - so high-fives all round there, and thank you for assisting. We appreciate your support. Well, actually I do. He doesn’t contribute that much - mainly just hangs there looking wrinkled. In this episode: * A nut who hates Japanese cars (but can't spell 'Japanese'...) * More uneducated conjecture about water in air in tyres * Is it legal to film and drive? * Why you need to understand radians to calculate power from torque * The composition of air (again for tyres). Spoiler alert: it's 78% nitrogen. PLUS: An epic cock of the week (cod-name 'Biturboism') who is wrong about Volvo being on a roll after being acquired by the Chinese in 2010. On Volvo: I don’t recommend Volvo - especially here in Australia. It’s a dud brand. Biturboism's comment is in response to my recent report on how to choose a new car in 2017. One of my recommendations on doing that - if you’re a mainstream car buyer - is by eliminating dud brands which have no traction, poor reliability and crap support, and Volvo is, sadly, one of those. Volvo spent 11 years from 1999 to 2010 as Ford’s bitch in the prison shower - and you know what that does to a person - before being fire-saled, used and abused, to the Chinese. A company called Geely now owns Volvo. Volvo was such an attractive asset in 2008, as Ford teetered on the brink of bankruptcy in the GFC, that it took Ford two entire years to sell Volvo off. To someone. To anyone. Volvo made a name for itself as a great safety innovator - and those innovations were very impressive. They included laminated glass in 1944, three-point seatbelts in the 1950s, rear-facing child seats in the 1960s, and the brand was a great side impact innovator in the early 1990s. Unfortunately, however, apart from a few minor safety tweaks, there’s been deafening silence from Volvo under the ‘great safety innovations’ rubric, for almost 20 years. Volvo cannot rest on its laurels for that long and still be the great safety innovator. The use-by date has expired on that claim. Volvo essentially ditched safety and strived for sexy under Ford. Biturboism, to your claim that Volvo is on this (quote) “absolute roll after the Chinese bought it”. In 2011 - the first year after Chinese acquisition, Volvo sold 449,000 cars. In 2015, global sales were 508,000 units. That’s annualised growth of three per cent. I don’t know, but I think this is at least one order of magnitude less than “an absolute roll”. The only significant growth has been in China where sales jumped from 47,000 to 82,000. That’s hardly unexpected, now that Volvo is a Chinese ‘home brand’. Sales have not been so rosy in the remainder of the world - very modest gains in Europe and the USA, and a slight drop for the rest of the world. In Australia, Volvo sold just 5272 cars in 2011 - the first full Chinese year of the Volvo. By 2015 these alleged ‘on an absolute roll’ Volvo sales dropped six per cent to 4943, with a consequential drop in market share from 0.5 to 0.4 per cent. These are all official, verifiable figures. Sales climbed to 5878 in 2016, and market share was back at half a per cent for the big V. It’s essentially gone nowhere in six years in this country. Biturboism, you’re the 2017 inaugural [LOOK LEFT] big cock this week because you are absolutely not entitled to an opinion that is unsupportable by facts. Volvo is still nowhere. It’s a sideshow exhibit - at best - everywhere on earth that’s not Gothenburg or the Binjiang district in Hangzhou. It’s a formerly great safety innovator that lost its way, got run down and fire saled and has a reputation for poor reliability and crap support at both dealership and corporate level here in Australia. If you still want to buy one, fine. Be a nut. Happy to help. Hey. Hit me up via the website. (Australia only, sadly.) Or I’ll help you get a good car, alternatively. Volvo’s still a shot duck. But buying one is up to you. I’ll still tell everyone else I respect you in the morning if you do.
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Top 3 Worst ever Automotive Engineering Component Names | Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia
Top three worst names ever in automotive engineering 3. COOLANT The coolant in your radiator - the red stuff, the green stuff … it’s not there to assist the cooling. In fact, water on its own would do a better job just cooling your engine. The most common so-called coolant is ethylene glycol - the green stuff. (The green is fake - it’s just a dye.) Ethylene glycol has lots of interesting properties, but carrying heat from your engine is not, frankly, one of them. It’s only about half as good as water at doing that. Water is the commonest heavy hitter of heat transport. A technically cognizant person (every mechanical engineer on the planet) knows the specific heat capacity of water: it takes 4.18 kilojoules of energy to heat one kilo of water by just one degree C. Allow me to translate for the non-cognoscenti: water is effing hard to heat up. It takes a shitload of heat to warm water up just a bit. Therefore, it’s the perfect fluid for moving heat away from something (like a hot engine) and into a radiator, where that heat can be rejected into the air. When you mix ethylene glycol with water about 50:50 you actually reduce the ability of the liquid blend to carry heat away from the engine by about 25 per cent. The main reason for adding it is to drop the freezing point and raise the boiling point. That same 50:50 ethylene glycol and water mix freezes at about -37 degrees C - and it’s really good if the water in the cooling system doesn’t freeze - because it expands when it does and that often breaks expensive components from within, as well as rendering the car undriveable. So that’s bad. As a side benefit, together with pressurising the cooling system, a 50:50 mix of ethylene glycol in water, together with 15 PSI of pressurisation raises the boiling point - to almost 130 degrees C. It’s kinda bad if the coolant boils in the engine - it leads to a generalised class of failures fairly categorised as ‘catastrophic’. The other chemicals in the so-called coolant also have nothing whatever to do with cooling - it’s all about the lubrication (of the water pump) plus corrosion inhibitors for the engine. 2. RADIATOR I know: What’s he got against cooling systems? Nothing. I love me a good heat exchanger. Everything from cars to nuclear power stations use them. It’s just that radiators do not cool your engine by radiating. They’d be different if that’s how they really worked. Heat transfer for dummies. Heat is like water - it flows. Water flows from high to low heights. Heat flows from high temperature to low temperature. There are three mechanisms for for that flow: conduction, convection and radiation. Conduction is mainly about heat transfer in solids. Convection is all about losing heat into a fluid (pro tip: fluids are liquids and gasses). Radiation is like: You’re sitting in front of a fire. It feels warm because: Radiation. When you look at a so-called radiator, you can tell instantly that it’s not designed to radiate - if you’re scientifically literate. For starters - it’s up the pointy end of the car, and they hacked a big hole in the front of it to facilitate airflow. That’s a big hint. Anything involving airflow and cooling is about convection. If radiators actually rejected sufficient heat by radiating, they wouldn’t need the big hole in the front of the car. The sun doesn’t need any air to radiate its heat 150 million kilometres to earth. If so-called radiators actually radiated effectively, they would not need fans (the fans are only there to maintain airflow when you stop in traffic). They serve no other purpose. 1. SHOCK ABSORBER If ‘Shock Absorber’ is not the worst name in all of automotive engineering, I don’t know what is. You think about it - you drive over a pothole: the suspension droops into the hole, then the leading edge of the wheel and tyre crash into the ridge on the far side of the pothole. The tyre compresses, then so does the spring. These are the devices that are absorbing the shock. If it’s a big pothole and you hit it hard enough, the suspension will hit the bump stop and the rubber pad there will also attempt to absorb the shock. If it’s a really big pothole and you hit it sufficiently hard, you might also bend or break the wheel - that’ll help absorb the shock. (But it’s probably not that helpful overall…) The one thing that does not help absorb the shock is a so-called shock absorber (which is really a vibration damper - hence the more correct name: the damper). So-called shock absorbers are really there to smooth out the subsequent unhelpfully bouncy response of the spring - they don’t really do very much primary absorption of shocks. The salient difference between springs and dampers: Springs push back with a force that’s related to their displacement - dumbing this right down: how hard they push is based on how far they’re compressed or how far they’re extended.
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Best Steering Wheel Hand Position | Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia
Best Steering Wheel Hand Position The web is drowning in car reviews and automotive technology deconstruction - but hardly anyone ever talks about arguably the most important part of the car - you - and becoming a better driver. So let’s do that. Here’s a new segment - Pro Tips. Every Tuesday I thought you and I might sneak off for a quickie, in the most hetero possible way, aimed at upgrading your software. Could be pretty useful if you’re teaching someone to drive, too. Here we go. How you hold the wheel is vital - and there really is no alternative to getting this right if you want to exert control over the driving process. Put your thumbs at nine and three - not coincidentally where the thumb-rests are, and leave them there. Here’s why. * Upright and symmetrical - vital for perceiving the world * Indexed for straight ahead - vital in a crisis * So you won’t spoil the deployment of the airbag If your shoulder needs to leave the seat back to move the wheel around, you’re sitting too far away. Get the hand placement right, everything flows from there. After a few weeks, it feels like the most natural possible way to drive (because - newsflash - it is). Once you get used to it, it’s actually more relaxing to drive with your hands at nine and three than any other way. Make sure you like this video, and subscribe for regular updates - including more of these pro tips. I’m John Cadogan. I hope this helps. Thanks for watching.
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What to do if you get a flat tyre | Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia
Are we doing a terrible job teaching people to drive? Here in Australia we obsess about speed, fatigue, alcohol and seatbelts as the so-called 'four key result areas', and we obsess about the rules generally, but we don't spend nearly enough time teaching young drivers how to manage risk. This came horribly unglued for one young driver recently when she stopped on the freeway to change a flat tyre. A minibus ploughed into her, and after that ... well, there was no 'afterwards'. Even more tragically, if she had made a different set of decisions about what to do in this situation (ie - drive to safety, then deal with the flat tyre) she would probably still be alive today. Driving is a 'low probability/high consequence' activity, in terms of risk. (Risk of crashing = low. Consequences of crashing, potentially = high.) It's a challenging environment in which to train people for making safer choices. What a pity that, in many cases, we don't even try.
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DCTs for Dummies. (How dual clutch transmissions really work.)
Ever wondered how a dual-clutch transmission works? Her it is: DCTs for Dummies - the 'even a politician would get it' explanation for the underlying functionality of the dual-clutch transmission. I’m John Cadogan from AutoExpert.com.au, the place where Aussie new car buyers save thousands off their next new cars. Hit me up on the website for that. This episode is rated ‘Triple-C’ because that’s what dual-clutch transmissions are. Compact, complex and (increasingly) commonplace in the new car mix. Carmakers are including them for three main reasons: Fuel efficiency, performance and lightning-fast shifts. You can expect 6-10 per cent improvement in fuel efficiency compared with a standard auto, and maybe a six per cent improvement in 0-100 kilometres per hour (that’s 0-60 im ‘Murica). And the shifts take place in less than one tenth of a second. Both Volkswagen and Ford have tried as hard as they could to trash the global reputation of DCTs - Volkswagen with it’s botched DSG recall fiasco, and Ford with its infamous PowerShit, a living nightmare that many a Ford owners experience daily. But not all DCTs are disasters - the important thing is to know if you are buying one, and drive appropriately. I’ll cover that off in a separate report. They look just like autos from the cockpit - there’s a lever you move from P through R and N on the way to D - and then, the shifts are automated. This report explains exactly how they work. Over the next week or so, I’ll be releasing a three-part series on DCTs - everything I learned from just driving 10,000 kilometres in one. The good, the bad and the ugly. You’ll see my three key positives, three key negatives and four critical conclusions that’ll help you decide if a DCT is the right transmission for your next new car. What an excellent reason to subscribe. Smash that subscribe button now - with great anger and furious vengeance if you must - but (while you’re down there) show the bell icon thingy a little love, and it will be reciprocated in the form of a notification whenever I inflict a new version of myself on the YouTube universe. You know you want to. 10,000 kays in a DCT - did it make me or break me? That’s coming up in the week ahead.
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How to Buy a Car: Top 6 Tips to Buy New Cars
How to Buy a Car: Top 6 Tips to Buy New Cars details the top six things new car buyers don’t investigate, but should: NEW CARS: BUILD DATE A listener of mine on Radio 2UE in Sydney put a deposit down to buy a new car in January 2015. It turns out the new car - a Suzuki S-Cross - was actually built in 2013. The compliance plate went on in 2014, and the new car was set for delivery in 2015. Disaster. Get a discount on your next new car if you’re actually buying old stock - last year’s model - because you are certainly going to pay for it at trade-in time. NEW CARS: SPARE TYRE When you buy a car, check the spare tyre. Space saver spare tyres are one of the car industry’s great, enduring frauds. They are of absolutely no benefit to you on a new car. They’re limited to 80km/h, and they don’t grip the road very well. Always investigate your intended new car’s spare tyre, at the dealership, before paying a deposit - and sometimes you can negotiate to fit a full-sized spare when you buy the new car. If it’s critical to the new car sale, the car dealer might even throw it in for free. If you only ever drive 15 or 20km from home in suburbia, space-savers are probably OK. But if you get out on the highway, even occasionally, don’t risk your life by buying a car with a space-saver. They’re a joke. NEW CARS: LIGHTS You don’t normally test drive new cars at night, right? But there are two things you really should check here: outside the new car, you need to know whether the headlights - and in particular the high beams - are adequate. Some new cars are just anorexic in the high beam department. Again, not so important if you only ever drive in the city, or suburbia. But very important in the country. Inside the new car, the reverse applies. Dimmers on instruments are great for driving in isolated areas at night - you dim the instrument lights down to maximise night vision out there on the road ahead. Very important. But the big, fat centre LCD display often doesn’t dim sufficiently (or at all) for night driving. NEW CARS: DEPRECIATION There are two ways to lose money on a car. You can pay too much for it up front, or the depreciation can burn you at the back end of the deal. OK - all cars depreciate, but some depreciate like Dresden on the ides of February, 1945. A classic example here was in last month’s Ford Territory review - which Ford fans hated, principally because it’s such a lemon. Mechanically as well as on the depreciation front. It pays to do your homework on depreciation - and here, past performances are excellent indicators of the future. NEW CARS: UPDATE TIMING You don't want to buy a nice new whatever, and see the manufacturer upgrade it four weeks later. Even a mid-life upgrade is a bit of a disaster because a) it usually comes with more standard equipment at the same price and b) the one you bought - the suddenly ‘old’ model - becomes instantly obsolete and its value takes an immediate hit. You need to let your keyboard do the walking here: google the car you want and keywords like update, upgrade, plus the current year and the next year. Find out what’s going on in the near future. NEW CARS: FIRE SALES Here's what the car industry does with its marketplace dogs. When all else fails, and sales have flatlined, the manufacturer bends over and drops its pants. Every time. They fire-sale the price in an attempt to prop up or stimulate sales. Generally unsuccessfully. Holden dropped its pants on the latest Cruze and Commodore, and Ford has just played the same undignified card with the Territory. Although none of them put it like that in the press releases... So I guess that's good news if you desperately want a Cruze, a Commodore or a Territory… Of course, if you actually bought one of these marketplace lemons a few months earlier, guess what happens to the value of your car? It just evaporates. Desperation discounting by manufacturers slashes the same amount from the value of the lemon you own - because used car prices vary directly in line with replacement cost. So there you go: Six things you probably weren’t considering while you’re poring over the specs and the pretty pix of your possible next new vehicle.
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Minister Paul Fletcher Breaks Promise on Grey Imports for Australia
Goodness me: Paul Fletcher, the Federal Minister for Urban Infrastructure, seems to have an interesting relationship with the truth all of a sudden. If I’m not mistaken, that odour you’re smelling … it could easily be weapons-grade bullshit. Paul Fletcher, whom I had previously considered a decent federal politician - one of the oxymoronical few - has shot himself in the foot, announcing today he would renege on his promise 18 months earlier to allow private imports of near-new vehicles from right-hand drive markets. the Turnbull Government has decided not to proceed with one element of changes proposed earlier, which would have allowed personal importation of new motor vehicles from the United Kingdom and Japan. 18 months earlier, on the 10th of February 2016, he announced “Planned changes to the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989, announced today by the Australian Government, will give more choice for car buyers and save industry over $70 million a year in lower regulatory compliance costs.” It hardly seems equivocal. This is a minister making a commitment. A done deal. At least that’s how I read it. He dribbled on: “The law will be changed so that, from 2018, a consumer will be able to personally import a new car or motor cycle from another country with comparable standards to Australia's, up to once every two years, if specified conditions are met. The vehicle must be a motorcycle or right hand drive passenger vehicle, be no more than 12 months old and have no more than 500km on the odometer.” I can’t believe it’s just me who is getting a sense that this is absolutely going to happen. A commitment. With a due date. But in case there was any doubt, he added: “The changes announced today follow an extensive consultation process undertaken as part of the review announced in 2014. Legislation to implement the changes will be introduced into Parliament later this year.” Isn’t it hard to believe these two positions - separated by just 18 months - are issued from the same ministerial mouthpiece? But no - we were firmly committed to doing that. Only, now, we’re not. Because politics. Mr Fletcher cited: “...the cost and complexity of providing appropriate consumer awareness and protection arrangements, including investigation of each vehicle before it was imported to Australia; ensuring consumers were aware that the manufacturer’s warranty may not apply in Australia; and establishing systems to deal with a manufacturer’s safety recall.” This is exactly the barrow the car industry’s arsehole lobbyists have been pushing from Day One on this, if memory serves. I have actually tried to imagine some viable middle ground that justifies the Minister’s apparent bullshit position on this. Some movement in the goalposts that change the state of play, necessitating this insane policy reversal. Trump becoming president, pehaps. Kim Jong Un Vaginabrows threatening to bomb Guam with his ‘shake and bake’ nukes. But I can’t see a single salient strategic piece that’s even moved inside its own square on the chessboard in the past 18 months. What follows is my honest opinion, and of course I could be wrong. I’ll leave that to you to judge. In my view, the relationship between the first and second announcements is that they are mutually exclusive. The apparent absence of justification - real, tangible change in circumstances - leaves me holding only two possibilities. One: that the minister is an epic bullshitter who goes off half-cocked - or who acts on behalf of bullshit information from half-cocked departments inside the bureaucracy. It’s either that, in my view, and/or (two) he and/or his department is/are incompetent.
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2018 Kia Stinger Review: Should you buy one? Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia
The first burning issue is: Who is a Stinger right for? I’d suggest if you’ve previously been into that rear-drive muscle thing, and you’ve been gutted by the demise of Holden and Ford, then Stinger is the light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve seen some reviews quite keenly out of touch with the facts on this, and I’d suggest these are A) looking in the rear view mirror with rose-coloured glasses, and B) written by people still grieving the loss of the local bent eights and blown sixes. And if you need a ‘C’, then, C) two-thirds of car reviews online are bullshit. So there’s that. Me? I’d say hyper-criticality here is undignified and also that these things are machines - so they’re overwhelmingly better assessed in an objective and not emotional way. The fact is: the limits of performance on a V6 twin-turbo Stinger are very high… ...so high that you’d need to be a crazy-brave individual indeed, with breathtakingly poor impulse control, to drive one of these babies at the limit on a public road. Because if you did, and it all went wrong, your clothes would be out of fashion before the scenery stops. I guess that leads to the key question: Should you buy the turbo 2.0-litre four cylinder or the twin turbo V6? It’s a $3000 upgrade, which in my view is trivial in the context of a $50,000-ish purchase that’s going to be a one-off for three-to-five years. You get 50 per cent more peak power and 50 per cent more peak torque with the V6. And it’s 4.9 to 100 (kays an hour) versus 6.0. So it’s pretty hard to make the case for the four. I spent a week in each - the four-cylinder first - and the four was OK. But the V6 is like going to business class for the first time. Economy seems even more shit, next time you fly, right? I guess, if you make all your own clothes and you’ve always wanted to be a hairdresser, and you’re a tightarse, the four could be just right for you. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. There weren’t too many things I hated about the Stinger. The transmission logic could be better. It does play some … interesting tunes in the cabin on entry and departure… the point is you need not suffer some South Korean software engineer’s idea of auditory foreplay and post-coital cigarette every time you drive your Stinger. Just get the appalling chimes turned off. That’s do-able, I’m told. Speaking of customisation, this car is very customisable. You really can select a range of modes and settings as your ‘Goldilocks’ Stinger settings preference. So if you buy a Stinger I’d highly recommend you take the time to wade through the menus and do this, because it’s certainly not a one-size-fits-all deal. There’s some very nice touches, too, from a user-interface point of view. You get message centre confirmation when you alter, for example, the lights. That’s quite neat. However, I’m not sure it’s not just a little claustrophobic in the back for extended trips, given the somewhat high sills and the low roofline. But at least people do definitely fit back there, even full-sized ones - unlike in a lot of sports coupes. Finally, there’s the safety rating - five stars for all but the entry-level models, which get three. I’m not going to dwell on this here - I’ve already done a full report on this, which I’ll link to a the end of this report. Suffice to say, it’s not a cynical exercise on Kia’s part, like it was for Ford with the two-star Mustang. All Kia Stinger models crash the same, in the ANCAP tests - and the crash performance is worthy of five stars. Kia’s meeting a price-point on the entry-level models, and they don’t come with enough safety-assistance technology to earn five stars under the new ANCAP test regime. If you want five, it’s pretty simple: spend more money. Stinger is a true grand tourer - it’s quite a bit harder-edged than a luxury car, but very rewarding to drive at eight out of 10 from A to B in the country. It’ll get you to the office and back Monday to Friday as well, plus it’s a bit of a head turner. In my two weeks in Stinger I drove it in all kinds of conditions - freeways, backroads, urban cut and thrust. I really enjoyed it. I wondered for the millionth time what the obsession with SUVs was all about. I could live with a Stinger V6 for three-to-five years without once feeling like I’d sentenced myself to a kind of automotive Guantanamo Bay. Quite the opposite. It’s got a couple of minor quirks, but you can live with those. And the straight line performance is sensational. Serendipitous timing for Kia in ‘Straya - turning the demise of Ford and Holden into a solid commercial opportunity.
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Nut-fest Friday #29 | Shock: Holden's marketing Manager tells truth + Porsche: Still bitchin'
In this week's show: World’s worst airbag manufacturer collapses under the weight of the biggest ever automotive recall. Plus: the Texas mother who killed her kids to teach them a lesson while spliffed senseless. Holden’s marketing manager tells the truth - a shocking development. (I’m pretty sure that’s a breach of the marketing manager’s code of ethics.) And the coldest, hardest cock of the week ever. And so young... The world’s worst airbag manufacturer, Takata has gone out, not with a bang, but with a whimper. The company, whose 100 million potentially defective airbags globally have so far killed 16 people and injured 180, sparking the biggest recall in automotive history, has entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. Takata’s assets will be sold to US auto parts supplier Key Safety Systems for $1.6 billion US dollars. If you’re affected, the recall process will continue, over the next several years. And, no - you should not disconnect your airbags. That is far more likely to kill you in a crash. Holden’s marketing director Mark Harland has seemingly had a rare attack of honesty. GoAuto - a boring industry online rag that nobody ever reads, statistically, reports Mr Harland admitting the Holden brand is (quote) at an “all-time low”. Mr Harland also admitted, allegedly, the vast majority of the population is indifferent to Holden, and that loyalty rates had plummeted. He also said the brand was bombing with younger buyers, and women (irrespective of age). I think he’s being optimistic. Sales are in the sewer. So far in the sewer that they make the distant memory of the S-Bend look like a suite at the Palazzo Versace. 24-year lows. This is because Holden betrayed you, the Australian taxpayer. Holden took your hard-earned tax dollars under entirely false pretences for many years. And they foisted some of the worst cars on unsuspecting people like you, and offered atrociously bad customer support. The Cruze and the Captiva - utter shitboxes. Holden deserves every bit of public shaming it gets. Because you simply cannot burn people without consequences. Clever marketing does not overcome unconscionable conduct in the boardroom. And the current marketing is shit - let us not forget that. This gay-appeasing, ethnically homogenised, dumbed-down, cult-like, intelligence insulting, bland quasi-marketing communications shit has to stop. Be honest and lift your game instead.
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Mazda 3 Review: Mazda 3 SP25
This is John Cadogan's Mazda 3 review. It covers the Mazda 3 SP25, Mazda 3 SP25 GT and Mazda 3 SP25 Astina models. It's the new Mazda 3 reviewed in 2014 but still current in 2015. If you want a notionally small car that’s big on performance and loaded with equipment, that's also a solid value proposition, the Mazda 3 SP25 is the car to have on your short list. On objective criteria, the Mazda 3 SP25 model variants are the best conventional small cars on sale in Australia. There’s no doubt Mazda has done a sensational job on the new Mazda 3 SP25, Mazda 3 SP25 GT and Mazda 3 SP25 Astina - you might get turned off by comparatively minor inconveniences like i-stop, and the instrument cluster could be a hurdle, but everything else about the Mazda3 SP25 is very impressive. Claims you might have heard on the internet about road noise are completely over-blown. It’s refined. Even the app-based centre information display is clever and cool at the same time - and you can’t always say that about carmakers’ proprietary menu-driven systems. Mazda 3 price: From just under $30,000 to just under $40,000 plus on-road costs, for the SP25 Mazda 3 model variants there’s a lot to like. It’s got me stuffed why anyone would buy an entry-level German car when you get so much more with a fully loaded Mazda 3 SP25 Astina. Read the full report at John Cadogan's website: www.AutoExpert.com.au - which is also the place to enquire if you want to pick up a new Mazda 3 SP25 (or any other car) at the cheapest possible price.
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Cheap Car Loans: Is 0% Car Finance a Good Deal?
Cheap Car Loans: Is 0% Car Finance a Good Deal? Is the truth about zero per cent car finance - and you're not going to like it. It's not a good way to get cheap car finance. Find out why car companies feel compelled to offer you an apparently unbeatable low interest car finance deal - even though if it's true, somebody's losing money by the truckload. Are there better deals around? You bet. Find out why zero per cent car financing is a con - designed to help a car dealer greet you, hook you and gut you ... in the shortest possible time. And find out where the profit really comes from. There are better cheap car finance options. There are better ways to get a great deal on cheap car finance - whether you need a cheap car lease, a low interest car loan, whether you have good credit, or whether you need a bad credit car loan.
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Top Six Ways to Break Your SUV | Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia
Have you ever wanted to break your shiny new SUV? It’s easier than you think. Thanks for joining me out here in the great Australian cultural vacuum. If you’ve ever wanted to break your seemingly robust new SUV, this report is exactly what you’ve been searching for. I’m John Cadogan, the founder of AutoExpert.com.au - the place where Australian new car buyers save thousands of their next new cars (and SUVs) These are the top six ways to generate thousands in additional revenue for the service department - without breaking a sweat. 1. Put in the wrong fuel 2. Keep the centre diff lock engaged on a high-traction surface 3. Hydraulic the engine by submerging the air intake 4. Suck water into driveline components via the breathers 5. Clog the radiator with mud 6. Don't drive a diesel the right way to regenerate the DPF This is great advice for you, if you want to tackle the terrible problem of service department poverty head-on. The dealer principal - he’s probably got five kids to three wives, past and former (I’m not alleging he’s a Mormon). They all go to private schools, failing basic mathematics at considerable cost - just like dad. That all costs serious money - and you can help. Act now. Alternatively, be a bastard - don’t do these things, and your SUV will live to drive another day. It’s completely up to you. Or, you can be a cheap bastard and not do these things, saving heaps of cash. Thanks for watching.
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2018 Kia Carnival Review | Top 5 Reasons Why Carnival Beats an SUV | Auto Expert John Cadogan
The 2018 Kia Carnival is an eight-seater, but in this report, let me show you why it’s actually the ideal seven-seater for most families. Five compelling facts to prosecute this case, coming up. I’m John Cadogan from AutoExpert.com.au - the place where Aussie new car buyers save thousands off their next new vehicles. All without the brain damage that is car dealer interaction. Hit me up on the website for that. And now: Needs versus wants. When objectivity and subjectivity collide. I can’t help you with the subjectivity - that’s your problem. But the facts are, nine out of 10 seven-seat SUV buyers would be better off in a Kia Carnival. The only exception here is if you actually want to do hardcore off-roading or heavy towing. Frankly, most families are happy driving to the beach; they don’t have to drive on it. People fantasise about all the off-roading they could do - the only problem with that is: They never do it. So they drive around for years in a vehicle compromised by capabilities they never exploit. So, let's identify the top five five key reasons that punt the Kia Carnival to the top of the extended-family mass-transit class. REASON 5: Automated sliding doors and tailgate. REASON 4: Head-protecting curtain airbags even for row #3. REASON 3: Four child restraint anchor points - three with ISOfix. REASON 2: Loadspace and accommodation versatility. REASON 1: Third row seating access (if you remove seat 2 of row #2). It’s over to you now - time for your id to battle your super-ego over the right new conveyance. May logic and rationality prevail. Good luck with that. Whatever you choose - happy to assist with a discount, anywhere in Australia. Plans for world domination, sadly still pending. Hit me up on the website, and don’t forget to check out my full Carnival review - link to that coming up. Hit the like button if this report has flooded your neurons with dopamine, and (just for kicks) take the mouse right now and beat the ‘subscribe’ button to death with it, should you feel inclined to be apprised of regular updates. You know you want to. I’m John Cadogan. I hope this helps, and thanks for watching.
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FAQ | Who's responsible for a blown diff? | Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia
This is part of my new FAQ series. A customer has a blown diff and the manufacturer can't (or won't) help. What do you do in this situation? Here's the question: We purchased a used Hyundai ix35 in July last year. Not long after we had the vehicle serviced by the local Hyundai as the vehicle was still under warranty. As part of this service the tyres were rotated. There were no issues with the vehicle. In May this year the vehicle was serviced and my wife advised them it felt like the transmission was slipping or a noise when taking off on an incline. The dealer advised there was nothing wrong. Three weeks later the vehicle has developed a loud noise in the rear end, and now the dealer says the rear differential has worn & requires replacement. The vehicle still being under warranty I assumed would be repaired at their expense, but Hyundai has refused to cover the damage as they state the vehicle has had incorrect tyres fitted and this mismatch had voided the warranty. (Two of the tyres in the vehicle are correct at 225/55R18 but 2 are 235/55R18) I was unaware the tyres were incorrect as they look to be the same size all round, I have asked if Hyundai were able to assist in covering the cost of the repairs (over $7000 quoted). Unfortunately neither the dealer nor Hyundai are willing to assist us in covering the cost of repairs. An independent mechanic has confirmed the issue is the differential and has had the cost of a new rear differential quoted as over $6000 from Hyundai. At this point my wife & I are at a loss as to which way to proceed. Any advice you could provide would be appreciated. Here's the answer (in brief): You might also see if there’s a rebuilding option for these with a specialised transmission repairer. Although it is inconvenient, it is hard to apportion any liability for this failure to Hyundai. Even the servicing guys are in the clear on this - servicing involves rotating the tyres, checking the pressures and looking for obvious damage, but making sure the tyres are the right size is not part of that remit. Basically the former owner fitted the wrong tyres (for whatever reason) and it caused the part to fail, over time. It’s pretty clearly your problem, even though I know it’s galling. There are probably cheaper repair options as discussed above. A bit of Googling might save you a few thousand dollars.
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The 2014 Top 10 Motoring Myths
Have you been sucked in by one of the top 10 motoring myths of 2014? - Is it better to fill your tyres with nitrogen? - Are solid, old cars actually safer? - Does your car actually run better on premium fuel? - Can mobile phones cause fuel station fires? - Is petrol that expensive in Australia? - True of false: Speed kills... - Will a fuel saver actually save you money? - Are you on your own with the manufacturer when the warranty is over? - European cars: Are they just built better? Find out here - and let me know if you agree. TRANSCRIPT: Visit www.AutoExpert.com.au and search 'top 10 motoring myths'
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Nut-fest Friday 35 | Turbochargers, Hydrogen and Ford Fires Making News
Nut-fest Friday is back - only a bit leaner. And, definitely, meaner. I’m John Cadogan from AutoExpert.com.au - the place where Aussie new car buyers save thousands off their next new cars. Hit me up on the website for that. Now - sorry about the Nut-fest hiatus. Had to recharge the batteries - and figure out how to do this so it doesn’t kill me. So time-consuming. Anyway … we’re here now. And now - to the nuts. First up let’s talk etiquette, diplomacy and the black art of comporting one’s self in a gentlemanly fashion at all times. Now, here’s R Down using his sweeping breadth of thermodynamic knowledge the better to help us all understand turbocharging and combustion. LOL. "Energy that would have been wasted" used to drive the exhaust side of the turbo. You're sounding a bit like those nuts with the hydrogen generator. You don't get something for nothing. The exhaust side of the turbo takes energy from the moving exhaust gases which take energy from the moving piston that pushes them out of the cylinder. (Yes, depending on valve timing, the exhaust gases do somewhat push themselves out of the cylinder but even so - Newton's 3rd law - they rely on the upward moving piston to do so.) A few points on the facts here: One: There is no ‘something for nothing’ first law of thermodynamics violation, as Down, Jnr, alleges. There is in fact lots of otherwise waste energy in exhaust gas - especially at medium to high revs, and big throttle inputs. It’s one of the major ‘loss’ areas of internal combustion. Two: Differential diagnosis. Turbochargers actually work. That’s proven beyond reasonable doubt. They only work because they use some energy that would be lost in the exhaust to energise the induction side of the engine’s inlet airstream. If they were only lunching off energy provided by the upwards motion of the piston (acting like a pump) they would not, in fact, work. Three: When the exhaust valve opens, the main mechanism for the ejection of the combustion gasses is pressure from their own expansion. The engine does incur some pumping losses, but engines are not pumps. The main thing ejecting the gas is its inherent greater pressure, with respect to the exhaust manifold, by virtue of the combustion process and vast energy release. Four: Please do comment again, young Mr Down, and fuck you very much for your contribution to date. And now, my favourite nut: Roj C Sir, I am compelled to make contact with you to inform you of a grave misleading claim that you have publicised on your YouTube channel. The episode is on ''The truth about HHO. With all due respect to your expertise in the auto industry I'm qualified to say the decomposition of the water molecule is NOT a chemical reaction. You DO know Einstein's famous equation- E=MC2 ? FACT - there is a mathematical equation that expresses a loss of mass within a closed loop 'water-HHO' system. (E=MC2) FACT - in recent months, scientists have detected Helium after the recombination of the water molecule. Helum is the second element in the periodic table,and can ONLY be created when two Hydrogen atoms 'fuse'. (Cold Fussion) So John, please please remove that episode as you do not fully comprehend the disassociation between Classical Pysics and Quantum Mechanics. Simply stunning. Here on Earth, there is no such thing as cold fusion. Real fusion of hydrogen into helium has to be quite hot. Come to mention it, there’s an operating fusion reactor above your head most days. It’s called the friggin’ sun. Surface temperature: about 6000 degrees absolute. But who’s counting? Tragically enough there is no magical nuclear reaction component to the electrolytic decomposition of water. It is an entirely electrochemical process so simple that even school kids do it in science class, for kicks. And hardly anyone ever dies doing it. Nuclear fusion: Not so much. Hydrogen produced by electrolysis has tremendous potential as a viable transport fuel to replace hydrocarbons. But making it yourself under the bonnet with a so-called HHO generator and believing it helps boost efficiency makes you dumber than our ace correspondent Roj here. Holy conflagration, Batman. An ACT family travelling on the Bega Highway recently were the latest shitheap Ford owners to go up in flames - according to the internationally renowned Bega District News. Up in smoke. Just like that. Knock me down with a feather. Thankfully, nobody was injured. But the reputational damage to Ford and its crap engineering is ongoing, and they are in my view worthy recipients of the fowl-est award in automotive journalism this week.
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Tyres FAQ: Owning, buying & troubleshooting guide | Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia
In this report: The definitive FAQ guide to the problems that car owners commonly experience with their tyres (or 'tires' in some other countries). If you want to skip ahead: 1:00 - Why do your tyres make your car pull left? (Or right, if you live in a LHD market like North America.) 3:45 - Everything you need to know about why tyres scrub out (especially the left-front in RHD markets or the right-front in LHD markets). 6:00 - What's the correct pressure and how do you determine this specifically for your car and style of driving? 9:20 - Thinking of modifying your tyres? Here are some considerations you (maybe) have not thought about. 12:55 - How tyres play in the 'performance upgrade' equation for your car. Spoiler alert: It's the most cost-effective performance upgrade you can make. 15:20 - did you know tyres have a 'use-by' date after which their performance is likely to be seriously compromised? Find out what that date is, and where you find it.
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2015 Subaru Liberty Review
The latest Subaru Liberty 2015 from Subaru Australis is a real step forward from previous Subaru Libertys. But, tragically, the new Liberty 2015 is looking for love in a world infatuated with SUVs. A family car doesn’t have to be an SUV. Most SUV buyers would be happier in the new Subaru Liberty. Prices on this new 2015 Liberty have been slashed. They’re three to four grand less for the four-cylinder, and $14,000 has been dissected from the six-cylinder Subaru Liberty. Where, exactly, did they find $14,000 in savings on the Subaru Liberty 2015? This is the cheapest six-cylinder Liberty ever. And pricing on the four-cylinder Subaru Liberty just woke up back in 2002. So what’s behind this massive Subaru Liberty 2015 pricing slash-fest? Subaru Australia says the currency has moved, it’s manufacturing more efficiently and the free-trade agreement between Australia and Japan has kicked in. They even euphemise ‘increased competition’ in the market. This price reduction is the proof that the stiffest competition produces the best deal for consumers, and also the best vehicles. If you’re looking for premium family transport, the new Liberty is a great car. This Liberty is the Safest Subaru ever. And the standard features across the range make this 2015 Liberty more attractive than many notional competitors. It’s fascinating to see Japan dusting it up on price, in the ring with contemporaneously with Europe and South Korea. Subaru Australia (and Subaru the brand, globally) sticks to its guns and it knows exactly what it is. They do boxer engines. In fact, they’ve done 15 million boxer engines, over the past 49 years. Subaru has also managed to make 14 million symmetrical all-wheel drive systems since 1972. That's the Subaru DNA. That Subaru Liberty Symmetrical AWD driveline - all four wheels driving all the time - is a huge advantage every time traction is marginal. None of these notional competitors offers you that. It’s a huge fundamental plus. The Symmetrical AWD system even has torque vectoring now, which delivers outstanding neutrality in corners. For several years now, the Liberty has been a very ugly car. You could set your clock by it. Until this one - it actually looks as good as it is. Finally. Even if they did have to clone Hyundai’s grille to do it. The biggest problem with the new 2015 Liberty is this national affair everyone is having with SUVs. It’s completely irrational. Only 150 people are going to buy a Subaru Liberty every month in Australia, which is a shame. If one of them is you, don’t be afraid to buck the SUV trend: you’re doing the right thing. If you want to save some cash buying your new Liberty, contact me via the website: http://AutoExpert.com.au.
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Diesel Australia - the Diesel vs Petrol story
You're looking at an increasingly diesel Australia - diesel cars, diesel SUVs and diesel utes and light commercials are all selling in record numbers. There’s been a meteoric rise in diesel vehicle sales. Here in Australia when you add diesel cars to diesel SUVs the sales growth is staggering: up more than 70 per cent - in seven years. Diesel cars, SUVs and utes have sold to private buyers in record numbers - up a staggering 130 per cent there. What, exactly, is behind the rockstar rise of diesel? More people than ever are doing the diesel vs petrol comparison for themselves, and discovering diesel motors increasingly suit them better - as in better real world performance and much better fuel efficiency. In fact diesels are among the most fuel efficient cars money can buy. Diesel vs petrol engines: Comparable petrol engines make more peak power - but diesels deliver huge torque at low revs. That means more low-rpm power from the diesel - maybe three or four times as much down at 2000rpm. That makes diesel feel unfussed and effortless in traffic. Diesel motors are about 30-40 per cent more fuel efficient. That means more cruising range out of a diesel, and less spent every week on transport. Nothing’s free though, and diesel engines cost more up front. Generally two or three grand more for ordinary cars. And the diesel fuel pump is always filthy, smelly and slippery underfoot. But the fundamental difference between petrol and diesel engines is still where the fuel actually mixes with the air. In a standard multi-point injected petrol engine, the fuel injector does its spraying in the inlet port, just upstream from the valve. In a diesel, the fuel gets injected directly into the combustion chamber, just in time. There’s four or five precise little fuel injections per combustion event - we’re talking precision down at the millisecond level in the time domain. There’s no spark plug - the fuel just burns spontaneously. (Some of the latest direct injection petrol engines inject like that. But they still need spark plugs; they’re not auto-ignition engines like diesels. So, in a sense, petrol engines are playing a game of combustion catch-up.) Diesels cost about $2500 more. Some people get obsessed with calculating a break-even point - the hypothetical distance you might need to drive to save enough fuel to offset the extra cash you pay up front, for the diesel engine. It’s a fundamentally flawed economic analysis. For starters, the diesel goes better. It’s therefore intrinsically worth more. More importantly, when you sell the car down the track, the extra cost of the diesel is reflected in the value of the car. You always get a proportion of the price premium back. You’re probably wondering if the extra cost is justified. It certainly is. Two reasons: First: economies of scale. Carmakers make more petrol engines, and that reduces the per-unit cost of each petrol engine. And, second, the diesel is more complex. It’s turbocharged. It’s intercooled. It’s got a 2000-atmosphere fuel rail. There are peizo-electric injectors, and it’s got to be built to withstand higher internal pressures because of the greater compression. Often, because of the greater torque, diesel vehicles need a beefier driveline as well. So that extra cost is actually fair enough. It costs more to service a diesel, too … but not really that much more. In fact, in terms of total cost - fuel, depreciation, servicing - cost of ownership is very similar. Too close, actually, for the cost to be a factor in your decision to buy the petrol or the diesel.
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13 things you don't know about crashes
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Advanced Driving Techniques - Tweak Your Vision
What day is it? That’s right. Pro Tip Tuesday. Time to get more proficient behind the wheel - because, contrary to popular belief, it is not OK to be a crap driver. I’m John Cadogan from AutoExpert.com.au - the place where Aussie new car buyers save thousands off their next new cars. Hit me up on the website for that. There is no more fundamental driving interaction than the interplay between vision and car control. And so many people get this wrong. So let’s be perfectly clear: if you only ever learn one so-called advanced driving skill it’s this: Look where you want the damn car to go. And if you want to learn two things, the second thing is: Don’t forget to look where you want the car to go. So: This plays out in a few different ways. Most obvious is that people don’t look far enough ahead. They’re typically either fixated on the car in front or somewhere in the middle distance. And that kinda sucks because if you look as far ahead as you can possibly see, you don’t lose track of that car in front, nor everything in the mid range. But the big plus is that you buy yourself valuable time to take action earlier. Distance equals time - and if you can see further, you get more time to react. It’s that simple. Second way this plays out is in tight bends - two-thirds of the driving population just stops looking when they get to the A-pillar. If the road really snakes hard to the side - keep tracking it by looking past the pillar, through the side glass. Third, and in some ways most important, is target fixation. You’re driving along, and suddenly there’s an obstacle you don’t want to hit, dead ahead. A pothole, a kid, a truck, some animal, the Empire State Building - whatever. If you look at the obstacle, you will hit it. Look instead for the escape route. Most people instinctively steer where they look. Therefore, don’t look at things you don’t want to hit. Especially in highly stressful situations. Lastly there are skids and slides - what most people would think of as loss of control events. That’s a big subject on its own, but the hot tip there is: Drive conservatively, and don’t get in situations like that, because you need hours on a skid pan to be any good at recovery, and it’s a perishable skill. But if you are skidding or sliding, and here, it doesn’t matter if this is a planned or unscripted event - a complete surprise - look where you want the car to go. Like, you just swerved past the Empire State Building - such a near miss - but now, problematically, you’re sliding sideways and it would be awfully nice if you could regain the road as opposed to option two: hitting that hundred-year-old tree at the roadside… In this situation, don’t look at the tree. Look where you want the car t o go. And of course it would be awfully nice in this situation to have your hands at nine and three … like we discussed in the last Pro Tip. So - that’s vision. Like I said earlier - if there’s only one advanced driving skill you ever master, make it this one. And make sure you like this video, plus: subscribe for regular updates - including more of these pro tips. I’m John Cadogan. I hope this helps. Thanks for watching.
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Repaired Write Offs
Related: Full report on the website - http://www.autoexpert.com.au/buying-a-car/buying-a-repaired-write-off REVS check: http://www.revs.com.au/ Car History Report: http://www.carhistory.com.au/ Dodgy used cars cost Australians more than half a billion dollars every year. It’s big business. So here’s how to sidestep ‘rebirthing’ and other used used car sales scams - by making sure you don’t unwittingly drive away in a repaired write-off. This report is inspired by Stephen, who contacted me via the website: He’s thinking of buying a 2014 Kia Rio that’s a repaired write-off - effectively 40 per cent below fair market value for the equivalent used car. So: it’s above board - but is it a good idea? A repaired write off is the six million dollar man of used cars. Only it’s not better, stronger or faster. The best you can hope for is that it’s almost as good, and a lot cheaper. Repairable write-offs happen when insurance companies declare a vehicle uneconomical to repair. This might be following a crash, or some other insurance event like a flood, or severe hail. The owner cops a cash payout or a new replacement vehicle - whatever the policy stipulates - and the wreck is generally sold at auction. Depending on how crappy the condition, that wreck might be stripped and sold for parts. But if it’s only partly crappy it might end up repaired, inspected, re-registered and re-sold. Now, because YouTube is global and I live in Australia I can only comment on the repairable write-off legalities down here. Nothing is intrinsically wrong with repaired write-offs, provided the repairs are done to a professional standard. But I wouldn’t be paying the full freight for one. I’d want a discount for the abuse it’s suffered in the past. There are scumbags who routinely attempt to pass off these repaired write-offs as run-of-the-mill used cars - at the full market price. So you have to protect yourself from inheriting one of these without the appropriate discount. In ‘Australia, there are essentially two categories of written-off cars: Repairable write-offs and statutory write-offs. Statutory write-offs are the ones that, by law, must never be repaired. They’re usually badly damaged, and they can only be sold legally for spare parts. Here in NSW, the state government made it illegal in 2011 to re-register any repaired write-off. Here, they can only be scrapped and sold for parts. That was done in an attempt to reduce re-birthing. Re-birthing is where you steal a car, you park it somewhere unobtrusive and then you buy a wreck of the same make and model. Then you transfer the wreck’s identity to the stolen car and attempt to sell it as if it’s above-board. This set of ‘zero tolerance’ write-off repair rules only applies to NSW. Other Australian states still allow you to repair and re-register repairable write-offs. There’s even an official inspection process to get them re-registered and back on the road. Most people buying a used car in Australia do a REVS check, which reveals financial encumberance. It’s bad to buy a vehicle used as the security over a car loan - because it can be repossessed if the loan isn’t discharged with the sale proceeds. But a REVS check won’t identify repaired write-offs. In Australia there’s an official Written-off Vehicle Register. And the best way for you to access the data on that register is to drop $37 online and get an official Car History Report. In addition to the financial liability check from REVS, a Car History Report will also give you the vehicle’s full insurance claim history, it’ll tell you if it’s ever been stolen or written off, you’ll also get a valuation and the registration details. It could just be the best $37 insurance policy of all time. To get a Car History Report, you’ll need the vehicle’s VIN code - a 17-digit alpha-numeric code (effectively a serial number) located on an official plate in the engine bay or inside the door frame. The other thing you really should do, no matter where you live on Earth, is get your own trusted, independent mechanic to inspect the car - not only for its mechanical health, but also for evidence of major repair work. Especially dodgy crash repair - which is easy to spot if you know what to look for. If you buy a repaired write-off, you need to tell your insurance company that’s what it is. It’s part of your duty of disclosure to tell the insurer anything that materially affects their decision to insure you. The final thing you need to do is clarify the vehicle’s warranty status with the manufacturer. This is especially important for reasonably new cars, like the 2014 Rio that Stephen’s sniffing around, which sparked this report - don’t just presume the balance of the factory warranty protects you because you might find that the factory warranty is voided.
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