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What has Honest John been asked this week?

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A new car for twins...

We are expecting twins later in the year and my 10 year old Golf GTI (which I cherish) won't cut the mustard. We live in London, with on street parking, and mileage is currently 7000 miles a year; as such a petrol or petrol hybrid with an automatic is the most sensible option. Naturally the priority is space, both for kids seats and in the boot for associated kid stuff. We are not keen on a full-on SUV so something well packaged is sought. Ideally something quiet, refined, that rides well, is reliable but is also fun to drive is what we'd want. Our current list is: Audi A4 or A4 Allroad (new version) BMW 2 Series (Active or Grand Tourer) BMW 3 Series Estate Citroen C4 Picasso Honda Civic Tourer Mercedes-Benz C Class estate Skoda Octavia Estate Skoda Superb Estate Toyota Auris Sports Touring Volkswagen Golf R estate Volkswagen Touran (new version) What do you recommend?

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Citroen Berlingo fault light - what does it mean?

When driving my 2004 Citroen Berlingo Multispace I've noticed a red stop sign appearing on the instrument cluster and warning sound. It happens once a day and then goes off. The van drives fine. Any ideas?

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Tax exempt vehicle

My Stag was built in December 1975 and I have the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust Certificate to prove it. Today, 1 April I took all the required documentation to my local Post Office but they were unable tax it as an historic vehicle despite having called their help line. I was told that the PO software needs updating - is this true?

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Need a good three-door diesel - any recommendations?

I need to buy 2.0-litre hatchback with three-doors. I have £15,000 to spend and quite like the Volkswagen Golf. Are there any other cars I should consider before biting the bullet?

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How much should a new catalytic converter cost?

What should the cost be for a new catalytic converter for a 2003 Peugeot 206 CC?

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Skoda Octavia battery problems

We have a 2004 Skoda Octavia that has a developed battery problem. We eventually noticed that the radiator fan was intermittently running and this in turn was draining the battery overnight. The car did have some damage following a deer incident but we are unable to find any damage. Can you shed any light on this?

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Buying a used BMW X3 - any known issues?

I have the option of buying my company car - a BMW X3 2.0 diesel automatic for approx £20k. I have been extremely pleased with the car and it has been 100% reliable to date. I would intend to keep it for a further 3-4 years but would like to know if there any specific reliability issues that I should consider before deciding to purchase it? It will have done approx 40k miles.

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What's the best hatchback with a petrol engine?

I have an Audi A3 diesel (which I have been very happy with) and am looking to replace it with a new car later year. Is the government going to discriminate against diesel engines? Most small five-door hatchbacks seem to offer only diesel in the 2.0-litre range - can you recommend any with a petrol engine?

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Missing service history - should I demand a discount?

I bought a 2008 Honda CR-V last week. The dealer assured us it has a full service history. It now transpires there is no service history. The garage want us to return the car and refund in full. However we like the car. Is it reasonable to ask for a discount on the price we paid? If so, what discount would you suggest?

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Is the Ford Fusion a good used car?

I've been offered a Ford Fusion 1.6 petrol auto (2009 model) by a dealer for £3500. Considering that Ford fusion is not produced for couple of years, could it be a good buy? Is there anything that I should look for?

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TCS warning light on Skoda Octavia Scout

I own a 2004 Skoda Octavia Scout. I've noticed that the TCS warning light has come on and stayed on. My local Skoda dealer has done a diagnostic check and says it needs new ABS control unit at £1321. Dealer says it will fail MOT if not fixed and warning light stays illuminated. Is there a lower cost independent supplier/repairer?

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Scrappage after accident, why not in every case?

A car crashed into the back of my rather old Toyota Hilux a few weeks ago. The other driver admitted liability and my insurer has written it off Cat D. I have been offered £2800 minus £350 for scappage. Market value places it at between £2750 - £3100. My friend has just had his five and half year old Ford Focus stolen and was offered slightly above market value and no deductions because the car has not been found. Can you explain why they have to have the car and charge for it in one circumstance but clearly don't get the car in another?

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Buying a nearly new Fiesta - 1.25 or 1.0 EcoBoost?

I want to buy a nearly new car. The Ford Fiesta seems an interesting proposition, but there is a considerable price difference between the 1.25 engines and the 1.0-litre EcoBoost. Which one would you go for and why?

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Excessive wear on inside of both front tyres

Three sets of new tyres in 12 months, tracking adjusted 3 times, new wish bones and bushes twice and still wearing. I can't afford to go on like this and can't afford another car. Any ideas?

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Which all-wheel drive is best for efficiency?

I am torn between a 2004 Subaru Forester X AWD 2.5 and a 2005 Nissan X-trail 4WD 2.5. I want to know which is more fuel efficient; a constant AWD like the Subaru or a car which the driver can alternate between two-wheel and four-wheel drive?

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Dashcams illegal in Austria and Luxembourg

I see you have links to discussions on and purchase of dashcams. I just had some German friends visiting, and they noticed my dashcam. They mentioned this was not permitted in Germany, so I did some checking. It appears dashcams are legal (but frowned upon) in Germany, "discouraged" in Switzerland and actually illegal in Austria and good-old Luxembourg. Huge potential fines in Austria. This could catch quite a few summer travellers out? Apparently the EU is not that harmonious. Regards Steve

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What are the change intervals for the cambelt on a Citroen C2?

What are the change intervals for the cambelt on a 58 plate Citroen C2 1.4 VTR please? Mine has done 47,000 miles.

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Windscreen wiper problem with Volvo V40 - what's the likely cause?

My nine month old Volvo V40 is about to start on it's fifth driver's side genuine Volvo wiper blade. They work fine when new but soon leave a 4-5-inch strip that doesn't clear properly. It's right in my line of vision which I consider to be a serious hazard. I've stopped the wipers midway on the return sweep and can see the bulkier part of the blade dragging on the screen which is taking the pressure off the front clearing edge. I deduced from this that the wiper arm is incorrectly angled (it's fine on the forward sweep). The dealer replaced the arm but to no avail. I noticed that the V40 courtesy car did exactly the same thing. Is this an issue you are aware of?

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BMW X3 - which wheel size is best for ride comfort ?


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