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Quentin Willson: HELP! You ask me.

Byline: Quentin Willson

Q I HAVE a 2003 Jeep Wrangler 4.0 Sport, which I absolutely adore, but I am finding it very expensive to run! My dad has advised me to get it converted to lpg, which would halve my fuel costs. Is it worth my while converting the Jeep (I intend keeping it for at least three years), or should I trade it in for something else? - Debbie Wilson, email

A AS long as it's sunny, the Wrangler, with its gutsy six-pot, is a fun piece of kit. As you have discovered, the biggest downside is 19 mpg, so it is definitely worth converting to gas. I ran a Cherokee 4.0 on lpg for three years and hugely miss its parsimony. Make sure the firm that does the conversion is a member of the Association of LPG Installers. Details at

Q IN April I bought a 1996 Mondeo with 70,500 miles, complete with three months warranty. The car's clutch is now slipping in higher gears. My warranty does include the clutch, but specifically excludes "general wear and tear". What constitutes general wear and tear? Am I really expected to fork out for repairs on a car I've owned for less than a month? - Harry Lovett, e-mail

A THE warranty provider could legitimately claim that at 70,000 miles the clutch has failed because of reasonable wear and tear. But then it's certainly not right for a car you've only had for a month to be unusable. I'd take the view that the car is not fit for the purpose for which it was intended, so you might have a case under the Sale of Goods Act. If the warranty company mess you about, go to Citizens Advice, Trading Standards or your solicitor and threaten to sue the dealer for selling a car of unmerchantable quality. Always make sure you get a minimum of 12 months warranty.

Q I WANT to spend around pounds 10,000 on a new Mazda3 1.4 or a low mileage used Honda Civic. If I buy new, what sort of discount can I expect? Which way would you go? - G. Stuart, email

A NEW Mazdas tend to stay in the dealer network, with big discounts hard to find, so I'd buy the nearly new Honda (good dealers, better residuals). You should be able to find an 04-plate 1.6i VTEC for under seven grand.

Q I HAVE a 1986 Mini City with 22,000 genuine miles. It has recently had a new rear sub-frame, brakes, brake pipes and sills, but the bodywork could do with a respray. How much is it worth as it stands? - Tony Reeve, email

A THE City was the poverty version (I should know - I used to run one at university), and not much cop. 22,000 is a nice mileage, but a decent respray will set you back a minimum of pounds 500. If there's anybody out there willing to give you pounds 300, I'd take the money and run. Try an ad in Mini World magazine.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 15, 2005
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