Honest John: how can I avoid the expense of cold-weather tyres for my £55,000 Porsche?

Honest John
Seasonal tyres for a Porsche Macan GTS should be a safety consideration, not a cost one

If your car has developed a fault, or for consumer advice, turn to Honest John by emailing honestadvice@telegraph.co.uk

Slide rule

Porsche suggests replacing the summer tyres of my 2,500-mile Macan GTS with specialist winter rubber now that temperatures are likely to be below five degrees C. But season-specific tyres are very expensive. If I allow extra braking distance in cold weather, is it really necessary to incur the extra expense? AN

I agree that it’s very expensive temporarily to replace summer tyres with cold-weather items. But if you can afford to buy and run a high-specification Porsche Macan the safety benefits surely outweigh any cost implications. And, of course, on the rare occasions that we get a lot of snow, there will be days when you simply can’t drive the car despite it having four-wheel drive.

Look, don’t touch

I am likely not to require my car for a few months. In order to keep it on the road, I am considering using a hire company to make the vehicle available and to earn some money. Have you any experience of such companies and would you recommend their use? RW

No, and I don't advise it. You need to be very sure who pays for any damage, or any loss if the car is stolen by a hirer. Also, who is responsible for the mechanical condition and safety of the car – and who pays if it breaks down? You could get yourself into a right old mess.

Prince of darkness

I recently acquired a second-hand, low-mileage Renault Laguna Mk3 Initiale and could not be happier with it. However, the one and only drawback is what I feel are relatively weak headlights. Are there any alternative bulbs that would cure this problem? BY

Sorry, I don't help anyone brighten their lights because the result might dazzle oncoming drivers and could also be an MoT failure under the latest rules. But there will be a thumb-operated beam height adjustment somewhere. You need to find that and set them to your preference.

Three-pointed star

My elderly friend has decided to sell her beloved 1994 Mercedes-Benz E200 auto, with 26,000 miles. It has been owned and garaged by her from new. How best can I help her sell it? ML

That will be what is called a W124 model by Mercedes and, though it has the smallest engine, its very low mileage makes it quite special. Options include Nicholas Froome at www.w124.co.uk  or a classic car auction, such as Historics at Ascot Racecourse on March 2: www.historics.co.uk.

False economy

My insurance policy states that it is invalid if the driver doesn't hold a current driving licence. A friend has been notified that his photo licence needs renewal but, being hard up, he has put it off in the belief that, although no longer in his possession, his original paper licence was valid until the age of 70. What is the legal situation? RG

The photocard replaced his old paper driving licence. If he has not renewed his photocard, which costs buttons, he probably doesn’t have a driving licence. He can find out at: www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence.

Costing the earth

My usually reliable 12-year-old Ford Fiesta Mk3 recently suffered a total loss of power. I was driving on a country road at about 40mph and managed to bring the car to a stop safely. The radio went off, as did the lights. The steering as well. I had the garage take a look at it and run diagnostics. Nothing blatantly obvious. They think it might be the alternator. Am I safe to continue driving it for now? DM

A common cause is the earth cable from the battery to the car body becoming loose. That breaks the electrical circuit, leaving nothing with any electrical power.

Drain cover

Where should you look for insurance after having submitted many claims? Credit: Alamy/Tim Graham

I have submitted a number of insurance claims over the past few years. Is there a particular company that you would be prepared to recommend for a new car insurance quotation given my chequered claims history? BL

You need a good broker such as http://aplan.co.uk – direct insurers will not favour you and neither will the many online comparison sites.

Day of the Match

I'm thinking about upgrading my 2012 VW Golf 1.4 TSI Match for the 2019 model 1.5 EVO TSI 150PS five-door manual. What are your thoughts on the engine? Would you prefer it to the 130PS version that is also available? TM

The whisper is that VW is well aware of a problem on 1.5 TSI Evo 150 engines subjected to the new WLTP emissions and fuel consumption tests, and is working to cure low-speed jerkiness. It should be coming through in the next few weeks and is worth the wait. Deliveries of new cars with this engine have been held up as a result.

Slippery customer

During a service I asked a main dealer to check the clutch of my 2014 Peugeot 308 1.2 Puretech with 34,000 miles, because it had started to slip slightly. I was assured that the reason was that the clutch master cylinder needed replacing. This was duly done at just over £300. However, on driving to France immediately afterwards I found it was just the same and still slipping. I am driving carefully to avoid as much slip as possible, of course. Do you have any advice? GM

A failed clutch master cylinder would not have led to clutch slip. A failed clutch slave cylinder would. If that leaked fluid onto the clutch and dual mass flywheel and they were not replaced at the same time as the slave cylinder, that explains why the clutch is still slipping.

Air on a C string

DL is under pressure to achieve the best ride quality on his Citroen

Following your consistently positive reviews of Michelin Cross Climate tyres, I had four fitted to my Citroen C3 Picasso. What pressures would you suggest to get the best ride quality? DL

Assuming the tyres are 55-profile or deeper, try 2 bar cold pressures. They will rise by about 10 per cent after driving 50 miles or so because of the heat that puts into the tyres.

Modesty blaze

I have always driven Volvo estates and, apart from an initially unreliable 340, they have served me well. I like the comfort, safety features and that they are high specification without being flashy. It is time to change my V70 and, as the family has grown up and my days of taking young people to university have passed, I would like a smaller model. Can you recommend something? I prefer petrol and am looking for a used car, up to three years old. MP

Volvo now has an excellent 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, but is has only been around for the past few months. The “smaller” Volvo is the V40, which is Ford Focus-sized. Best bought used with a 2.0-litre Volvo petrol engine that can be had with the modest output of 120bhp. Avoid the 1.6-litre Ford engines fitted to some V40 models.

If your car has developed a fault, or for consumer advice, turn to Honest John by emailing honestadvice@telegraph.co.uk

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