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Virtual Mechanic

Car and bike questions? We have the answers


I've been riding a Royal Enfield Thunderbird self-start and disc brake model for the past four months and am very pleased with it. I'm planning to get a self-start kit installed soon. Please give me some tips to maintain my bike and improve its performance.

Anurag Gera, via email

Ensure only genuine parts are used when adding on a new starter. Keep the bike clean, change engine oils on time and adhere to company-specified service schedule and your Thunderbird will remain in good health.

I bought a Honda Unicorn in October 2005. The tailpiece rattles even on smooth roads. Is this a problem common to all Unicorns? I want to fit alloy wheels and a 100/90x18 rear tyre. Is this possible? Suggest a reputed alloy wheel-maker for two wheelers.

S J Satpathy, via email

The tailpiece rattle was a problem common to all Unicorns and has recently been addressed by Honda, with beefed mountings for the same. The company also provides a kit of rubber dampers that fit onto the tail fairing and reduce noise on their older bikes. Ask your nearest Honda authorized dealership for this. Yes, fitting a 100/90x18 inch rear tyre makes sense and will improve your bike's handling and ride considerably. Alloy rims will not be that straightforward a swap; so if you can live without them avoid these.

I am about to buy a car, my first. I like the Alto and its fuel economy. I like the Wagon R too but will have to stretch my budget. Please suggest.

Gopi Kumar, via email

If you're on a budget and can't afford to spend more, then the Alto is a fine choice. It is fuel-efficient, reliable and not expensive to maintain. The Wagon R has more space than the Alto and better performance too but only marginally so. So, if you can live with a small cabin, the Alto will suit you just fine.

I have a Rs 30-35 lakh budget. Which car should I buy - the Mitsubishi Montero, BMW 3-Series, Nissan X-Trail or any other? I am keen on the Montero but I have read that it is noisy and the interiors are not that great.

Ankit Setia, via email

The Montero is the best value among SUVs in the Rs 30-35 lakh range and we would recommend it. It has got terrific performance and handles brilliantly. Yes, the engine is a touch noisy but not enough to steer you away from this car. The interiors aren't as great as they look in the pictures but again, the quality isn't bad enough for you to decide against it. For the price, this is the best SUV about. The BMW 3-Series is a great car to drive but it's not an SUV, is it?

Write in with your queries to wheels@thehindu.co.in

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