Virtual mechanic

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Car and bike questions? We have the answers

I want to buy a new car for my daily commute of approximately 50 km, besides the occasional outstation trips. I currently drive a Maruti Baleno and like the way it performs, but the car’s high maintenance cost is the main reason why I want to buy a new car. The Maruti Swift Dzire or the Swift DDIS are ruled out because of the long waiting period. I need a car that is good to drive, easy to maintain and also provides decent fuel economy. Does it make sense to use an alternative fuel to run my Baleno instead of buying a new car? If yes, what is the preferable alternative fuel — LPG or CNG?


Fitting a CNG kit on the Baleno and switching over to gas is a good way to reduce your running costs. However, while the Baleno is an inherently reliable vehicle, do remember that as a car gets older and racks up kilometres, it is going to make more frequent visits to the garage. Switching to CNG might increase the rate of engine wear as gas (which is dry) does not have the lubricating properties of a liquid fuel. We feel that a Swift or Dzire is well-worth the wait but the next best option is the Indigo CS. Though not as reliable or refined as the Swift or Dzire, Indica is quite fuel-efficient, spacious and outstanding value for money. Alternatively, do consider the new Indica Vista Quadrajet.

Lately, I’ve been having trouble starting my April 2006 Alto. It’s due for a battery change so I want your advice on the best brand of car batteries to buy. Also, how often does the battery need to be changed for the car to remain trouble-free?


If taken care of, batteries can last for up to four years. Get the battery checked by a battery technician as the reason for your car’s starting trouble could be a faulty starter motor, not the battery. If your headlights and horn are working fine, then the battery should be okay too. Also, get the electrical system checked for current leakage. You could try out Amaron or Exide Freedom. Go for maintenance-free batteries as you won’t have the hassle of servicing them.

I want to buy a motorcycle and would like to know which bike is better — the Yamaha YZF-R15 or the Bajaj Pulsar 220 DTS-Fi? Mileage and cost are not a concern. I want to know which of the two is more powerful?

Ankit Shivhare

The Bajaj Pulsar 220 DTS-Fi is a faster bike than the more expensive Yamaha YZF-R15. However, the R15 offers more than pure performance, like better attention to detail and refinement.

I own a Bajaj Pulsar 200 DTS-I which has clocked 3,500 km. While testing the bike for top speed, I find that it comfortably reaches the 108 kph mark but after this it struggles to gain speed. The top speed I have achieved is 118 kph. Is this fast enough or is there some problem with my motorcycle?

Girish M N

The top speed you’ve managed is just perfect. It is pretty close to the 121 kph mark that we managed while testing the bike for top speed. Do note that this Bajaj model comes with a negligible two per cent speedometer error, unlike other Indian motorcycles. This means that the 118 kph speed that you have achieved is good enough. So there is no problem with your bike.

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