Home' Open Road Western NSW : OR0518 Contents JAGUAR HITS
THE RIGHT PACE
electric iPace SUV,
due here later this
year, has a claimed
range of 480km.
Two electric motors adapt to the drive
conditions to supply the required front
and rear drive balance needed for a SUV,
while delivering 294kW. A fast charger
can get the iPace’s batteries to 80 per
cent in around 40 minutes.
As many as eight
are mooted to be in
the works from the
Renault, Nissan and
Mitsubishi alliance, while the new Nissan
Leaf continues to win accolades. A
remarkable 300,000 Leafs have been
sold since 2010 and Nissan plans to sell a
million electrified vehicles by 2022, with
a big focus on the Chinese market.
During the recent
local leg of Merc’s
testing program, two
scenarios a Mercedes-Benz S-Class had
to cope with were kangaroos (which hop
instead of run) and Melbourne ‘hook
turns’ (where vehicles turn right from the
left lane). Testing enables the onboard
computer to adapt to these situations.
WHILE MODERN CARS are more reliable
than ever and our roads are in better shape,
a flat tyre is an irksome reminder that some
things never change. However, if you get a
puncture today, your vehicle might not even
have a ‘conventional’ spare wheel to fit.
Car manufacturers love to save weight,
improve fuel consumption and reduce production costs. We
first saw some European brands replace the weighty spare
with a space saver back in the 1980s. Their use is widespread
these days and even the new Euro-sourced Holden Commodore
has a space saver spare.
There are four main categories of spare tyres: full-size,
temporary use/space saver, run-flat tyres (RFTs) and inflator
kits. Full-size is a direct replacement for the wheels fitted to
your vehicle, although manufacturers are increasingly fitting
replacement tyres onto a cheaper steel rim rather than an
alloy wheel (if they’re fitted to your vehicle).
Space savers have greater limitations than a full-size spare
and are primarily designed to enable the vehicle to be driven
to a repairer. In most cases, they’re speed limited to 80km/h
because they’re a different size to your car’s other wheels and
can potentially upset handling and braking at high speeds.
Some vehicles don’t have a spare wheel at all and are fitted
with run-flat tyres. An RFT looks like a conventional tyre, but can
run uninflated in the event of a puncture. Like the space saver, it
has its limitations and should only be used up to a certain
distance (usually 80km). A warning light alerts the driver to lower
pressure in a tyre so it can be checked and inflated if necessary.
One advantage of the RFT is you don’t have to immediately stop
on an unsafe stretch of road to change the tyre.
Inflator or mobility kits are the least preferable option. They
incorporate either a battery-powered air compressor and tyre
sealant, or pressurised containers of sealant. In effect, you
become the tyre repairer, but inflator kits generally only work if
the puncture is small and the tyre is undamaged. In some cases,
the sealant makes the tyre unusable for a permanent repair,
and the cost of replacing the sealant kit can run into hundreds
of dollars. Another catch is they have a use-by date – so, even if
you don’t use it, the kit needs to be replaced over time.
For those commuting mostly in the city, a non-traditional
spare is less likely to be an inconvenience. While a full-size spare
lets you continue on with no concerns, trying to find a
replacement tyre on a weekend in a smaller town can be
difficult. If you’re buying a new vehicle and you live in a regional
area, make sure you’re aware of its spare tyre type.
Have a spare moment?
ADVICE FOR YOUR LIFE ON THE ROAD
Tim Pomroy explains why full-size spare tyres are fast becoming exceptions to the norm
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