Can I retrofit Apple CarPlay?
READY TO PLAY
In responding to a previous letter you said you could get an Apple CarPlay unit for around $500. I'm interested in one for my VF Commodore SS-V Redline but the cheapest I've found is around $1000.
-Lance McDermott, via email
Major auto stores have Apple CarPlay-equipped aftermarket head units from reputable brands. Check out the Sony XAVAX1000 ($384 at Autobarn as I write), Pioneer AVHZ2150BT and Clarion FX508AU ($454 each at Autobarn), and JVC KW-V820BT ($499 at Repco). Reckon on a few hundred dollars more for fitment by a specialist.
Re finding out the age of tyres by reading the DOT number on the sidewall, I was surprised to find the Hankook Kinergy GT Eco tyres on my 2017 Hyundai Tucson say they're from 2012. That said, they have excellent wet grip, comfort and low noise.
-Ron Chambers, Point Lonsdale, VIC.
Some tyres have unconventional DOT numbers, but usually it's four digits like, for example, 0517, implying it was made in May 2017. Check with your Hyundai dealer and, if confirmed true, ask why five year-old tyres were fitted to your new car. I'd ask them to cover the cost of replacements as they'll be six years old now. We're told to replace tyres every five years.
BIG BROTHER RETURNS
When will car makers start including front facing cameras that continually record on a loop to an SD card, linking to the clock and the rear screen if required? Most aftermarket dash cams do this, recording who's at fault in an accident and if there's a big enough bump to the car when parked.
-Mike Duffett, via email
This may be George Orwell's nightmare, but aftermarket dash cams are cheap and have proved hugely useful in apportioning blame in accidents. I imagine they'll be ubiquitous in new cars soon. I tested the Citroen C3 this year and it had a front-facing HD camera integrated into the rear view mirror as a $600 cost option. It automatically records and saves the 90-seconds leading up to any accident detected.
ON A ROLL
I own a 2016 VW Golf GTI with manual gearbox and push button handbrake with Auto Hold function. On two occasions the handbrake has failed. I brake, feel the car hold, jump out with engine still running, close the door and the car rolls away. Once it went forward into a fence, and once backwards into a trailer.
-Gary Bryant, via email
A serious accident could occur due to this, so you must take the car to your dealer to have it checked. Do ensure you're applying the handbrake and not just using the Auto Hold function though; it's a potential user error here. Auto Hold is to assist hill starts, it's definitely the handbrake you need when exiting the car. Play it safe. Put your car in gear and switch the engine off before getting out.