Question : I REFER to a query from a reader published in the Autocare column on July 6.
He wanted to know why water was
leaking on the front passenger side just
below the dashboard of his Viva. He had
sent his car for repairs three times but
the problem was still there.
Your reply was that the evaporator - meant to collect
condensation from the air conditioning - could have been
blocked, resulting in water collected in the evaporator to
overflow into the passenger compartment.
You were right because my vehicle also
faced the same problem 10 months ago.
I sent my vehicle to the franchise holder and when they
detected the problem was due to a leakage connected with the air
conditioner and since it was still under warranty, they sent it
to an air conditioning manufacturer for repairs. Since
then there was no leakage.
I used to drive a Nissan Sunny and often had to drive uphill.
Before reaching the foothill, the car brakes malfunctioned.
On one occasion, there were two cars
in front of me. I managed to swerve
to the left and kept on depressing the
brakes, but the brakes only worked
about 50 meters away before I managed
to stop the car.
There was the smell of burning rubber
inside the car.
Why did the brakes malfunction ?
I had forgotten to use the handbrake. Would pulling the
handbrake and switching off the ignition make a difference ? Is
there any method to control the vehicle
when the brakes fail ?
Also, what is the difference between a carburetor and a fuel
injection engine ?
Thank you for your observations.
Regarding the brake problem in the
Sunny, I think that before you got to the
foothills you were already braking quite a
lot as the road was going up and downhill,
resulting in the brakes getting quite hot.
Since you mentioned the smell, and you
did not mention that the brake pedal went
down to the floor, then the likely reason for
the brake failure was the brake pads themselves.
You could have been using soft brake
pads which worked very well and gave
good response and stopping power in city
conditions, but under hard braking conditions they got too hot and actually burned
and formed a glazed surface on the lining
area in contact with the discs.
This glazed surface has little frictional
qualities, hence the 50 meters to stop the
The handbrakes may not have stopped
the car as the rear brakes may have had
the same problem, even though they were
The safest action to take is to shift into a lower gear and
keep shifting down as the car slows down. You may over rev the
engine and damage the engine, but that is
better than ending up in hospital.
Both carburetors and fuel injection control the amount of fuel mixing with the air
for the engine to run.
However, this mixture is not constant as
a richer mixture is needed for acceleration
and a leaner one when cruising.
The carburetor, although having many
jets, still cannot give as good a mixture as
fuel injection as the EFI system makes use
of many sensors to provide information to
the "brain" that decides on the amount of
fuel to inject.