How to pimp up my ride
"I own a Golf 3 GTi and I want to know how I can make it go faster"
I own a Golf 3 GTi and I want to know how I can make it go faster. How much power will I get from chipping the motor? - Imraan Dawood, Durban North
Sorry to say, but the Golf 3 GTi was never recognised as a true performance hatch, despite its badge. In its generation the VR6 topped the range, despite its performance being quite mediocre for its engine size.
The 2.0-litre 8-valve engine in the GTi will need a lot of work and money for a small return in power.
I would start by changing the exhaust and gas-flowing the head with a set of more aggressive camshafts in place. The total cost will probably be close to R10 000 and you might get another 12kW of power from it.
Chipping produces big results only on turbo-charged cars. I've seen as little as 2kW gained on normally aspirated engines. You could always try using nitrous oxide or turbo charging the engine. These options will produce the greatest gain in power.
You will always lose money on modified cars regardless of what you do and which mechanic you choose. Modified cars have a reputation for being abused, driven hard and are notorious for being unreliable.
My car is using a lot of oil - probably two tins every 5000km. It never used to be this bad so I have to believe something is wrong. The car has done 215,000km. - Themba Masondo, Alexandra
Heavy oil consumption is not uncommon for a car with a high mileage but finding the exact cause of this can require a long process of elimination.
You need to determine if the car is leaking oil or burning oil.
If it is leaking oil it could be coming from a small crack in the sump or from wear and tear around the oil filter gasket.
Burning oil through the exhaust - noticeable by the emission of light blue smoke - could be the result of worn piston rings or damaged valve stem seals. This will require taking the head off, which can be quite expensive.
If the car is losing power it is most likely the result of damage to the engine internals.
A LIFESTYLE RIDE
When is BMW launching the Mini Coupé in South Africa? I saw it at the Johannesburg Motor Show and my wife is looking for a new, small car with some character and fun.
What engine does this car come with and how is the performance? Is it a better option than the standard Mini? - Kumar, Somerset West
What many tend to forget is that the Mini Cooper is not a spacious vehicle, even with the rear seats down, so removing them to form a true coupé profile is not so much of a drawback, especially if you consider the generous 280-litre boot, which offers enough storage space for most city travellers.
If you want a Mini with a lifestyle feel the Countryman is the best choice.
The Mini Coupé is now available and pricing begins at R264,000 and ranges through R319,000 for the Cooper S to R369000 for the John Cooper Works (JCW) version.
Three engines are available: the 90kW 1.6-litre, 135kW 1.6-litre turbo and the 155kW JCW edition.
My car's radio can play CDs but not MP3 files.
Last month I bought an iPod which I'd like to use in my car.
What is the cheapest way of getting it to play through the speakers? I don't want to keep driving with headphones on. - Lucy Pelser, Ladysmith
You can use an iTrip, which plays through a localised broadcast frequency. It is probably the cheapest option but you will sacrifice a bit of sound quality.
The other option is to replace the entire CD deck with a more expensive system that will deliver higher audio quality and full iPod control.
These systems also charge iPods and if the car has steering-mounted controls they can be linked to the iPod's functionality. I'd recommend this option. Prices range from R1,500 to R7,000.