Honest John Technical Q&A Part 4

Feb 4, 2019

Honest John Technical Q&A Part 4

Q) Can I mix different tyre brands front and back on a 4x4?

I have a 2011 BMW X1 xDrive on run-flat tyres. I don’t mind the harsh ride but they are Pirelli P7s and seem to lack grip in winter. I would like to fit Michelin Cross Climate tyres to the rear and keep the Pirellis at the front. Is this possible?

A) You can't mix tyres with cold weather tyres and you definitely can't mix tyres with an automatic 4WD system. It's probably a matter of succumbing to the BMW winter package system whereby you pay the dealer a couple of grand for a set of winter tyres on rims (preferably smaller rims with deeper profile tyres), then swap back to summers in April.

Q) My rear lights don't come in even though I have automatic lights - how can I solve this problem?

When turning the ignition on my car, the automatic light control becomes active, but the tail lights do not work in this mode. I can't find a way to solve this problem?

A) This reads as if the Daytime Running Lights are coming on at the front when you start the car but not the rear lights. That's normal. You have to switch the lights on separately or switch them to auto for all the lights to work.

Q) Is it better for a DSG gearbox to put it in neutral when stopped?

I have the latest version of the Volkswagen seven-speed DSG gearbox. Is it a good idea to select neutral when stopped for any length of time in traffic holdups and traffic lights? I understand moving parts are not then in use and the need to stand on the brakes with the stop light showing are reduced, giving the gearbox clutch system a rest, and hopefully reliability.

A) That's correct. If you stay in D and the stop/start halts the engine then there is no wear on the dry clutch pack, but that can't be guaranteed to happen, so best to select N and use the handbrake.

Q) How much should one expect to pay to replace the water pump on a Volkswagen Touran?

How much should one expect to pay to replace the water pump on a Volkswagen Touran 1.4 TSI? My local franchised dealer is quoting £675.

A) £675 will be for the timing belt, tensioner, water pump and aux belt as a combined job. It's not a good idea just to replace the water pump alone. To get a quote for your VW timing belt or for any make and model you can get a quote through the garages at MyCarNeedsA.com, compare and choose the best quote in your area in one place.

Q) Is an electric car a good choice to replace our ageing Vauxhall Corsa?

We are looking to replace our elderly Vauxhall Corsa that is a second car and usually only does short journeys of 5-10 miles. It will do around 5000 miles a year. My husband is 6ft 5in so it can't be too small. We are wondering whether we should go electric or hybrid?

A) Electric cars make the most sense if you can charge at home (i.e. have a private garage or driveway with electricity). If you can, it sounds like one would suit your requirements well. The Nissan Leaf is the UK's most popular electric car and it's been around for a number of years - so if you're looking secondhand, it'd be a good choice. If you're looking new, we really rate the Hyundai Kona Electric and Ioniq Electric. If you can't charge at home, a small petrol or hybrid probably makes more sense. The Toyota Yaris is available as an economical hybrid version.

Share this post

Car Service

Car Service

Need a basic, interim or full service? Compare quotes.

Get Quotes