Opinion

A Nissan that sends you to sleep? Sign me up

NORMALLY it’s not a good thing if a vehicle is so routinely monotonous that it sends you to sleep – but Nissan’s latest LEAF is actively encouraging it.

Parents – this one’s for you, particularly if you’ve ever resorted to strapping a young child into a Government-approved safety seat, gently clicked the driver’s door shut behind you (no slamming, unless you want to make things worse), and gone on what the chaps at the Japanese carmaker call ‘dream driving’. Nope, it’s not the sort of dream drive I’d have in mind – that involves a Ferrari F8 Tributo, a deserted Alpine switchback and a mountain-top restaurant at the other end – but those drives you do for no other reason than to lull a baby or toddler to sleep. You see, we all though it was the motion of being in a car that proved so relaxing but, according to Nissan’s scientists, it’s the rhythmic patter of the internal combustion engine that does the trick.

All of which proves a bit tricky if you’re an up ‘n’ coming parent doing the upbringing in a world that’s fast developing an electric car addiction. Skoda, which has just launched a new all-electric car named after Enya (no, really), reckons a quarter of the cars it sells will be all-electric in just four years’ time – quite a jump when you consider that at the moment these zero-emissions offerings account for a rather more pitiful three per cent of the UK new car market. Vauxhall is launching its new Corsa in electric guise first, to get us all used to the idea, and Kia’s about to launch its new Sorrento in Greenpeace-friendly form. Even Maserati’s getting in on the act; where the old Granturismo had a Ferrari-derived V8, apparently the new one will be a sort of tarmac-ripping Italian answer to Tesla. All very promising – but not exactly helpful if you’re trying to nudge your little one into nodding off.

So what Nissan’s done is teamed up with some sleep coaches – now that’s a job that’ll leave you yawning – and come up with a clever system that’ll essentially play some automotive lullabies instead. Sounds, it reckons, that’ll mimic the repetitive tones of a quiet petrol engine, but without upsetting the climate change lobby. So, everybody wins.

Obviously, this is a very clever idea and one that’ll win it loads of new mates on Mumsnet – but I reckon it can go even further. If Nissan makes equally rapid progress with nailing autonomous driving than I’d definitely be up for the idea of a grown-up version that plays BBC Radio 4’s Shipping Forecast on a loop; the car would be doing all the hard work while I’m drifting off, listening to how there are warnings of gales in Forties and Cromarty and how the general synopsis is good, occasionally poor. I’d much prefer that to having to tackle the M58 at 3am.

Better still, I can see Skoda being able to nick the idea for an equally effective idea that ties in brilliantly with its latest model – an all-electric SUV that plays Enya’s Only Time on repeat, ad nauseum, every time you set off on a night drive.

Forget lullabies – I reckon Nissan’s about to put Caledonian Sleeper out of business. Chaps, come up with a hot chocolate maker in the centre console and a compartment to store my pyjamas, and I reckon you’ve cracked it!

Why the Suzuki Jimny deserves a stay of execution

CANCEL the lilies and chuck your funeral clobber back in the wardrobe. The Suzuki Jimny, contrary to what you might have read, is alive and well.

Sort of. Over the past week or so there have been rumours suggesting that Britain’s favourite bitesize off-roader was about to face the chop, but since then Suzuki’s UK division has itself decided to try and quash what it calls “media speculation”, and insists that the plucky little mudplugger is still very much part of its range. Yet you can’t help but worry for the Jimny’s chances when, in exactly the same statement, it says that it’ll only be on sale in “very limited numbers” and that, if you’ve ordered one, it’ll “make every effort” to make sure you actually get a small, rather square-shaped 4×4 on your driveway.

So how has a funky, go-anywhere companion that offers Land Rover-bating talent in the rough stuff for a fraction of the price – and been picked up an enviable haul of gongs from the motoring mags in the process – been put on life support? It’s all to do with emissions, and specifically, the average amount of carbon dioxide across an entire carmaker’s range.

The Jimny has a relatively inoffensive 1.5-litre petrol engine, but unlike, say, Nissan with its LEAF or Vauxhall with its latest Corsa-e, there aren’t yet any zero-emissions Suzuki offerings to offset a range entirely dependent on petrol engines. Sure, it’s fitting the Swift with hybrid technology in the spring, but that’s a fairly small shuffle compared to the giant leaps European legislation is now demanding, and it’s the same thinking that’s making city cars – where the benefits of pricey electric tech get harder and harder to square up – increasingly uneconomic to develop.

All of which leaves the Jimny on a bit of a sticky wicket, which is a shame because it’s a cracking little car. Sure, it might be equipped with a distinctly old-fashioned ladder frame chassis and not be the most inspiring thing through the corners, but that’s precisely why it’s won so many people over; in a world full of bland, me-too crossovers this is a proper small off-roader. It’s got short overhangs, four-wheel-drive a low-range transfer gearbox to help you out in a boggy field, and a simple, no-nonsense interior that won’t be ruined the first time it’s introduced to a muddy set of walking boots. It’s a Jeep Gladiator for people with pound shop budgets. So it doesn’t have a pricey all-electric option. So what?

I reckon the long-term solution is for Suzuki to team up with its latest minority shareholder – a small up ‘n’ coming carmaker called Toyota, who you might have heard of – and get some tried and trusted electric cars onto the market sooner rather than later. It might even be worth doing an all-electric Jimny, as reportedly the factory back in Japan’s working at full pelt to try and meet all the orders.

Put it this way; the old Jimny survived 20 years in Suzuki’s showrooms because so many people loved it, and that car’s predecessor managed another 16 years before that. It’d be a crying shame if the current one’s caught out after just two.

Lease a brand new car? That’s far too sensible

THE price of being sensible starts at £114 a month.

That’s roughly what you’ll pay at the moment for a lease deal on an entry-level Kia Picanto, for which you’ll get five doors, a delightfully revvy one-litre engine, a warranty that might as well outlast the universe and endless, unrelenting reliability. Or you could do what I do, and like old cars too much.

Occasionally this works a treat, because it means that for a fraction of the £10,195 a showroom fresh Picanto costs you can have a whole fleet of cars that are faster, roomier and far more likely to attract knowing nods at car shows. It also means that you’re doing your bit to preserve the nation’s heritage, and you’re saving the world’s resources by sparing a carmaker the bother of building a brand new one from scratch.

But it also means you’re worryingly likely to end up in the conumdrum I did the other day, when the 21-year-old Toyota Avensis that I’d taken to a car show ended up above a small, rainbow-coloured lake when it decided to dump virtually all of its 10w/40 through a hairline crack in a split pipe running to its oil cooler. One AA get-you-home repair later and it’s now facing a £400-plus bill to nurse it back to health – a bit depressing, when the car itself only cost a grand.

Normally I’d just leave it at that and resort to the Volkswagen Polo MkII that I’ve been running around in over the last few months. It’s even older, marking its 28th birthday this year, but with sweet handling, plenty of visibility and the ability to suckle 48 miles out of a gallon I’d happily recommend it as a commuting charity. Except that it’s off the road too, at another garage, because it’s awaiting a new fuel tank.

Not to worry. I can just drop the roof down on my Mazda MX-5, which is still one of the most entertaining and beautifully balanced cars you can pick up for under £1500 and – crucially – is most definitely not broken. It works a treat, but the problem with owning multiple cars is that invariable you have MoTs creeping up on you on multiple occasions throughout the year, and the Mazda’s is due next Wednesday. So it might be working now, but chances are it won’t be in a few days’ time.

All of which leaves the Reliant Scimitar, which is working just fine but normally struggles to top 25 to the gallon on account of its three-litre Ford V6 – so spot on for sunny drives in the countryside, but not exactly ideal for daily commuting. So, for someone who normally has four cars at this disposal, I’ve ended up doing the drive to work in a borrowed, J-registered Mitsubishi Galant.

Do I mind? Not even slightly, because I love all of these old cars far more than I ever could an entry-level Kia. It’s just not remotely sensible, that’s all.

Why I was sad to see the Leisure Lakes Steam Rally go

BURNOUTS in brand new McLarens. Gourmet grub from TV chefs, and evening performances from prog rock bands. The Leisure Lakes Steam & Vintage Vehicle Rally had none of these things – and was all the better for it.

I’ve been to plenty of car shows that have had all sorts of clever gimmicks – and the eye-watering ticket prices to go with them – so it was always refreshing to park up at Tarleton’s annual motoring bash and revel in a show delightfully devoid of pretentious add-ons; you got shedloads of nostalgia, some stands from community organisations, a couple of old fairground rides borrowed for the weekend, and that was about it.

It wasn’t, as the name rightly suggests, even a car show – it was the Leisure Lakes Steam & Vintage Vehicle Rally, which meant that you were as likely to see a lovingly maintained steam traction engine or an old David Brown tractor as you were a Ford Prefect or an Austin Cambridge. In fact – keep this quiet, as I know this is supposed to be a car-related column – I think Fred Dibnah’s Land Rover might have been narrowly pipped to the post by the vast array of vintage lorries built up by the hugely impressive William Hunter Collection. Over the past decade or so this event’s grown into a carefully curated overdose of motoring nostalgia, and I’ve loved every one of my outings.

So I was saddened to learn the other day that the organisers have decided to go out on a high after raising more than £330,000 for charity – not bad for a small-ish, volunteer-run event that’s had to contend with date clashes with other events, venue switches, horrendous weather and waterlogged fields along the way. In a letter put out on the show’s website, the team behind it said that no one had stepped forward with offers to help out with the months of planning needing to organise the two-day show, so the team’s decided to call it a day.

There are, of course, plenty of events going ahead later this summer if you love nothing more than a Sunday of peering wistfully at old Wolseleys – the Ormskirk MotorFest and Lydiate Classic Car Show to name just two – but the cancellation of the Leisure Lakes event definitely leaves a void as it had a wonderfully warm atmosphere all of its own. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that some enterprising car nut decides to hold a vehicle rally of their own to plug the gap, because there’s definitely an appetite in this part of the world for this sort of show, where you’re as likely to hear the toot of a faded fairground organ or the chuff of a steam engine as you are the clatter of an old sidevalve engine.

My one request to whoever does, though – tell the companies hoping to flog overpriced gourmet grub and brand-new McLarens to do one. We’ve got plenty of shows for them already…

The Cygnet – a ten year challenge Aston Martin nailed

TEN YEAR challenges are all the rage at the moment. You don’t have to venture far online before you spot a fresh-faced snap of one of your mates, circa 2010, presumably just before they were about to pop to the cinema to watch Inception.

I tried it with cars the other day. A decade ago I wrote a piece for The Champion about what were then the freshest, most happening motors of the lot, and it’s amazing how far virtually all of them have fallen from showroom fresh grace. The Honda CR-Z – a sort of latter day successor to the tiny CRX coupe of the Eighties – stood out for me because it was the first hybrid I’d ever driven with a want-one factor, and I’d happily forgo the rear legroom for its pert looks and entertaining handling. I vividly remember driving one of Peugeot’s first RCZs too, and it distracting every other driver for miles around – it was a cheaper, smarter Audi TT, but with a Zagato-style ‘double bubble’ roof for added zest.

Yet you can buy both now for a fraction of their original prices and if you do, not a single person will bat an eyelid. Same goes for the MINI Countryman, the third-generation Ford Focus and – if we up the stakes a bit – a restyled Jaguar XJ which no longer looks the remotest bit controversial.

No big surprises, then. Or at least there wouldn’t be if it weren’t for 2010’s most ridiculed new arrival now attracting some equally eye-opening prices secondhand.

If I could somehow nip back to 2010 and tell you that an overpriced, rebadged version of Toyota’s IQ would now be selling for MORE than the £30,995 it did brand new, you’d tell me to lay off the Smirnoff Ices. But not only are people now asking upwards of £35k for secondhand Aston Martin Cygnets, but I’ve actually seen DB9s – as in proper, V12-engined Astons, albeit high mileage ones – being advertised for less.

I suspect that’s got a little bit to do with that 007-approved badge on the bonnet and rather a lot to do with it being rare – there are nearly 18,000 Toyota IQs still on our roads, but just 137 Cygnets. Ironically, being a bit of a flop back in 2010 has virtually fast-tracked it to classic car status. I reckon it was ahead of its time, too; the Cygnet might not have made much sense then, but then nobody had heard of Greta Thunberg either and a leather-lined city car seems a lot more on-message now than a V12-engined GT car.

So the Cygnet wasn’t such an ugly duckling after all. In fact, it’s done alright on the ten year challenge.

I’m about to break all sorts of rules…

FORGIVE me if I’m about to break all sorts of rules about product placement – but I’m fairly certain you’ll know what I’m on about if I ask what beanz meanz.

There are plenty of other fine purveyors of the flatulence-inducing dinnertime treat, of course, and you can pick up everything from squeezy bottles of sweet chilli ketchup to tins of creamy chicken soup bearing this culinary giant’s corporate logo down at your nearest supermarket, but chances are that if I challenge you to come up with a maker of baked beans you’ll struggle to think of any other name.

In exactly the same way that proper small cars, for far longer than anyone cares to remember, means Fiat.

So I was a tad perplexed to learn the other day that, as part of a mega-merger between PSA (the owners of Peugeot, Citroen and Vauxhall) and Fiat-Chrysler (no prizes for guessing what they own) being signed off that the person heading up the Italian side openly suggested that it’s Peugeot that should take the lead on making combined conglomerate’s smaller offerings. Admittedly, what the Gallic side gets in return – Jeep’s mudplugging know-how for future off-roaders – makes complete sense, but to me it still seems like an extraordinary concession from the carmaker that does it better than anybody else.

I’m not just on about the 500, which despite dating back to 2007 still manages to sell in decent numbers while maintaining a frisson of fun, or its addictively entertaining Abarth counterparts. I’m on about underrated city cars that prove to be far more engaging outside of their natural habitats than any small car ought to be. Cars like the old Panda 100HP and the Cinquecento Sporting. We could go back even further – a year or two ago I drove an Autobianchi Giardiniera, which is essentially a 1960s Fiat 500 turned into an improbably small estate car, and loved every moment. It struggled to get above 45mph, but it was agile, brilliantly packaged and equipped with an endlessly eager two-cylinder engine.

I’ve written before about how emissions legislation is – ironically – making it less cost effective to make small cars these days, and it doesn’t make sense for Peugeot, Citroen, Vauxhall and Fiat to all compete with each other when they’re under the same roof, but having Fiat give up what it does best is a step too far. Peugeot make some cracking small cars, of course, but it says a lot that its most petite offering, the 107, is actually a rebadged Toyota Aygo.

Fingers crossed that someone at the helm of this new carmaking giant borrows a Panda for a couple of hours and sees sense. Small Fiats are a bit like beans on toast – you wouldn’t want to have them all the time, but it’d be a strangely sad world without them.

The eco activists are right – crossovers ARE going to go out of fashion

IT’S not often someone who owns a 1970s dinosaur of a car, powered by a three-litre V6 knocking back a gallon of unleaded every 23 miles, agrees with a group researching ways to make Britain a leaner, greener, zero carbon emissions country.

Yet, for once, I’m completely in agreement with the scientists at the UK Energy Research Centre – we really do, as a nation, have to go easy on the Range Rover Evoques and the Audi Q3s. Lay off the new Nissan Juke and the second-gen Ford Kuga a bit. Oh, and definitely have a gentle chat with anyone thinking of chucking more than £44,000 on a BMW X4.

You’ll have noticed something all of the aforementioned beasts of burden have in common; they’re all SUVs, off-roaders, crossovers, or whatever lifestyle-orientated name they’ve been given this week. The UK Energy Research Centre’s argument is that because they now account for just a fifth of the nation’s new car sales – as opposed to 13.5 per cent just three years ago – hauling around all that extra weight is completely undermining the do-gooders currently buying 44,000 zero emissions motors a year.

Professor Jillian Anable, the group’s co-director, said: “The rapid uptake of unnecessarily large and energy consuming vehicles just in the past few years makes a mockery of UK policy efforts towards the ‘Road to Zero’”, the last bit referring to the Government’s aim of making Britain net carbon neutral by 2050.

My beef with these cars – and I choose my words carefully, as I dearly hope the UKERC doesn’t have the same wrath towards the 1977 Reliant Scimitar GTE – is that almost all of these SUVs are nothing of the sort. They’re front-wheel-drive, aren’t designed to venture up muddy tracks and don’t do anything a Vauxhall Astra can’t do. If you need more space, get a Combo Life. Only you won’t, because it looks like a van with windows rather than a trendy off-roader.

Virtually every new car I borrow is a bloated, high-riding relation of a much better hatchback that’s been cruelly forgotten by the wider market. I’ve no problem with proper 4x4s that actually go off-road – I grew up in a family that lives and breathes old Land Rovers – but ones pretending otherwise and wasting fuel and resources in the process aren’t doing us any favours.

For ages, I’ve been resigned to it being a relentless march up the new car sales chart that wipes out lesser spotted species in the process (see the critically endangered small coupé, and the extinct-in-the-wild large MPV), but I reckon in a few years crossovers will start to look desperately unfashionable, and it’ll be Greta Thunberg and the march of the green movement behind it. It’s hard enough to justify something like, say, a BMW 3-Series in a world where single use plastic bags are taboo, so turning the same car into a thirstier, higher-riding crossover just seems to be prime ammo for the anti-car lobby.

So don’t make your next buy a Skoda Karoq – make it an Octavia instead, which looks much nicer, will drive far better and be just as practical.

Just don’t follow my example and make it a three-litre 1970s sports car. Otherwise, we’re all stuffed…

The Tesla Cybertruck looks all wrong – which is what makes it all right

“Erm, that wasn’t supposed to happen”. Whatever you make of Elon Musk, you couldn’t help feeling sorry for him when his new pick-up launch didn’t go quite to plan.

His big unveiling included a demonstration of the unbreakable windows on Tesla’s latest model – which he then proceeded to smash, completely by accident, in full view of the press. What’s more, if that wasn’t enough, he then went on to show it was just a one-off freak accident by lobbing a metal ball at the truck’s back window. That one smashed too, obviously.

But while there is an inevitable schoolboy temptation to poke fun at this Bond villain clearly disguised as a car company boss getting it so comically wrong on the world’s stage, there are two things worth bearing in mind.

First, that Elon ‘fessed up on Twitter the following day, saying that Tesla clearly had a bit of work to do – and you’d never see Ford, Nissan, Volkswagen or any other big carmaker readily admit it’d fluffed up. If anything, it makes Tesla come across as a little more loveable, because to err is only human.

But more importantly – and I’m happy to stick my head above the parapet on this one, as everyone else seems to be disagreeing at the moment – I think Tesla’s new pick-up looks tremendous. Not heartstoppingly beautiful or pleasingly pleasant, but different. Very, stop-and-think-for-a-moment, different. Which has got to be a good thing.

Put it this way; for months the car magazines and the internet’s resident Photoshop experts knew that Tesla had been quietly working away on all-electric take on that most American of institutions, and almost all of them imagined it’d look like the company’s Model S saloon, albeit on stilts. A couple of them even managed to top ‘n’ tail the Model X’s design details onto a Ford F-150/Toyota Tundra generic pick-up body. Nobody, on the other hand, envisaged it’d be a wedge-shaped creation that looks like it’s escaped from the set of Total Recall. The fact that Elon later admitted it was partly inspired by one of his favourite cars, the Lotus Esprit, makes me love it even more.

Yes, I know it looks like it’s been styled by someone extremely adept with rulers, that it’s so enormous that it’ll clearly look ridiculous in the middle of Ormskirk and that – for now at least – its unbreakable windows can be defeated by a metal ball, but that’s not the point. Whether you’re nodding sagely in agreement or think the new pick-up is the stupidest-looking car since Suzuki stopped production of the X-90, at least you’re thinking SOMETHING. The world needs more new cars interesting enough for people to form an opinion of them – that’s what gets people into cars in the first place.

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is another eco-minded load-lugger, and Britain’s biggest selling plug-in hybrid, but can you remember what it looks like?

Exactly.

Le Mans ’66 is proper petrolhead cinema

IF GOD really is in the details, then I’d suggest that the makers of Le Mans ’66 aren’t exactly fastidious churchgoers.

There’s a scene in the new film – and feel free to skip through to the sports pages if spoiler alerts aren’t your bag – in which the early Ford GT40 is described as being “fresh from England”, but after those three seconds it’s an all-American affair, making no mention of the fact the original racer was based on the Lola Mk6, dreamt up not in Detroit but, erm, sunny Huntingdon.

You don’t even need to be a petrolhead to spot another rather jarring bit of chronology, either. Early on a rather well known publicity shot from Goldfinger of Sean Connery posing next to an Aston Martin DB5 is shown as part of a slide presentation at Ford HQ on what cool cars look like, conveniently forgetting that the very car Bond runs off the road in that film – a Ford Mustang – is unveiled for the first time much, much later on in the story! There’s also plenty on Ford’s team orders at Le Mans, but an equally fascinating plot twist on Ferrari’s part is omitted entirely; F1 star John Surtees was ditched from the driver line-up and quit working for the Italians altogether.

But then I suspect you’re not going to care one jot if you’re planning on a cinema outing to see it, because it’s a two-and-a-bit hours of genuinely enjoyable motoring history, neatly soundtracked by a couple of big block Ford V8s.

What really had me hooked was the amount of metal I wasn’t expecting to see on screen; the opening scene explaining Carroll Shelby’s sole Le Mans win at the helm of an Aston Martin DBR1 was wonderfully shot, but seeing the Porsche 356 and MGA being given the full-on Hollywood treatment in their own action sequences is worth the cinema ticket alone.

Most importantly, it feels believable. I remember watching a so-called race in 2013’s The Man From UNCLE in which single-seaters and Aston DB4s were sharing the same track at Goodwood and staring at the screen in disbelief, but in this film the visit to Le Mans itself is bob on. The track actually looks like the one I camped at last year for the Le Mans Classic, and the scenes inside the main complex on the start/finish straight even showed the never-ending balcony walkways that I’d traipsed while heading to and from its press office. Matt Damon does a dab hand of nailing the late Carroll Shelby’s Texan drawl too, and Batman – sorry, Christian Bale – isn’t half bad as Midlands race ace Ken Miles either.

I know that the Ford vs Ferrari war to win at Le Mans is well documented, but I do reckon that Le Mans ’66 is fast-tracked to a spot on the petrolhead living room shelf next to Rush, Ronin and Bullitt when it eventually comes out on DVD.

If you haven’t seen it already, then I’d thoroughly recommend it. Just make sure you conveniently forget the first half of this week’s column if you do…

Old tyres – surprisingly legal, but potentially lethal

APOLOGIES if I’m about to put you right off your tea – but I’d like to start this week by talking dodgy dinners.

Every so often links to terrible viral websites pop up in my Facebook page (“You won’t BELIEVE this amazing make-up trick Kylie Jenner uses”, “What this teacher told her class will change your life FOREVER”, that sort of thing), and occasionally one of them purports to show what fast food, if left unopened for 30 years, looks like.

It’s something to do with all the moisture being removed from the not-so-tasty grub at the point of manufacture – making it drier than holidaying in Death Valley with a dehydrated Jack Dee, and thus inhospitable to mould – but the result is always that burgers and fries made when Maggie Thatcher was Prime Minister look like they could have been cooked ten minutes ago. It looks weirdly appetising. But would you eat it? Of course you wouldn’t.

I was reminded of this the other day when I went car shopping – and ended up coming home with a 1992 Volkswagen Polo. I reckon that with just one owner on the logbook, 47,000 miles under its belt and 11 months on the MoT certificate still to go it was £800 well spent, and its eager little 1.3-litre engine still sounded like it had plenty of life left in it when it thrummed into life.

But it was a different story for the four little bits connecting Wolfsburg’s engineering to the A59 – the tyres, which really were the automotive equivalent of that decent-looking but dangerously healthy dinner. All four of them had legal amounts of tread left on them, and a pleasing lack of worrying cracks, marks of lumps on the sidewalls, but the first helping of snap understeer on a wet bend at 20mph told a very different story.

Award yourself an extra helping of petrolhead points if you’ve already sussed this one – the tyres may well have been well treaded enough to have been given an MoT inspector’s nod of approval just a few weeks earlier, but they were so ancient that they may as well have been made from copies of The Domesday Book. What that means is that the rubber had hardened after being exposed to years of ultraviolet sunlight, and deteriorated after being subjected to year after year of damp, road muck and temperature changes, to the point that they were near enough useless as means of keeping a car planted in a corner. In fact, the date markings on the tyres revealed that one of them had been on the car from new – that’s 28 years without ever being changed.

So the first job I did after snapping the car up was taking the car into a Southport tyre shop to give it a fresh set of boots, and it now handles and stops a lot better as a result. It’ll make it safer too – not only am I less likely to plough the little Polo into a hedge on any more wet bends, but it’ll bring its stopping distance in an emergency down, too.

I know tyres are boring and grey, but they are your car’s only link to the asphalt underneath. If they’re more than five or six years old, get ‘em changed.

Otherwise you might as well eat 30-year-old fast food – it’ll be about as safe!