What are the legal implications of sporting windscreen tints?

By: BARAZA JM

I appreciate the work you do and I look forward to reading your articles every Wednesday.

I have seen many cars today with the windscreen tint especially at the coast, Nairobi is also catching up with the trend. What are the legal implications? Include the pros n cons of having a windshield tint?

LGT

I am not sure of the legal implications, but I do know that you will receive a spot of bother at a police roadblock once they are on to you… if they get on to you, that is. They have this thing about items blocking the driver’s view and the particularly pedantic ones will give you grief for it. Drivers of overly decorated matatus can attest to this

Some of these windscreen tints are notoriously difficult to discern unless one is up close with the vehicle in question. The degree of tint varies depending on the client’s taste: some are so light as to be barely noticeable while others are so dark to the point of eliciting comments along the lines of “Dude, it’s like a cave in here, dude… so dark”

Pros: It will reduce the glare of the sun and/or headlights of oncoming vehicles, especially those operated by the antisocial types who wilfully ignore the dimmer switch at night. It also looks cool, if you are into the sort of Fast-&-Furious-Need-For-Speed-Underground car-pimping physical enhancement kind of scene.

Cons: Visibility is limited, sometimes severely, in bad weather or at night. The police will also be sure to ask a lot of questions, if and when they discover you are driving around with the windscreen equivalent of Ray Bans.

Hi JM,

I, like many other big boys was born with the dream of owning some pre-owned metal and rubber. But, here is a problem that I didn’t foresee having. That question first pre-owners always ask you in your column: “An affordable car in terms of blah blah blah”.

Let me rephrase…

I am torn between buying a 1999 manual Mitsubishi Lancer, 1998 automatic Lancer or 1999 Subaru impreza. Please give your opinion considering Its going to be TFT — That First Toy.

Oh! I forgot to mention the ‘must include’ statements: Thank you so much for your invaluable advise…I read and look forward to your articles every Wednesday…

Thank you in advance and regards

JS Olli

The closing statements came off a little sarcastic, but not to worry: I dish it out too, so I must expect it in return.

1998-99 cars should all be affordable, so in this scenario it is more a case of “eenie-meenie-miney-mo” than pure science until you pick a winner. Or is it?

Go for a manual car. As things stand, they are more reliable and easier to fix, as well as being generally cheaper, but not for long. The manual transmission car is quickly becoming something of a unicorn on the roads, so it will stand out; it will be more engaging to drive and is less likely to pack it in unexpectedly. The desirability levels will also be higher if and when you choose to fob it off on another person; but to meet this end you will have to maintain it. Nobody will buy junk, no matter what transmission it has.

Comparatively, I prefer the interior of the Lancer from the fifth generation to the GC/GF Impreza’s; not that any of them are the last word in decor and ambience -they are both rubbish, to be honest; but one is less rubbish than the other and the Lancer’s is it. I also prefer the Mitsubishi’s looks. The Impreza without a spoiler can look pretty awkward if things like vehicle stance, rim and tyre size and subtle body kits are not als put into consideration. Blame the roundish rump. These are purely subjective parameters and will vary according to the degree of madness -or “love for Subaru” if you read from a different handbook- in a person. The Lancer has a bigger boot too; and the driving position is excellent. It makes you feel like you want to drive around endlessly, much as it is a boiled-rice, bland, mass-produced Japanese white good.

While the general trend in my response so far has been towards the 1999 Lancer, of course the most important thing is this: get the car that is in the best shape of the three. Don’t think “Baraza said to get a manual Lancer” then end up buying a ramshackle with missing upholstery and only three wheels.

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Hello Mr JM Barasa,

First of all, I appreciate your column, in fact it is the main reason i never miss a copy of the Daily Nation on wednesday.

I read your story about your Peugeot 405 that was literally on fire and felt sorry for you. I am a proud owner of two Peugeot 405 saloons both imported from the UK. I have had the GL for more than seven years and the GTX is now two years old in my hands. I have not had any problem with the two! they are very reliable and consume very little on the highways.

My only issue is I am usually confused on when to service them, the speedometres are divided in two, the red is kilometres per hour while the white section is miles per hour, now what is the correct reading of it’s mileage? are they in kilometres or miles? Put it the other way should I service it at the count of 5,000km/h or somewhere between 2,500 MPH to 3,000MPH?

The other problem is the head lamps at night, they are dim at best, I have seen some other 405’s with newish lamps, where can i get them? Are they modified or are they being manufactured somewhere by someone wiser than the original engineers?

JM Musonye

Hello,

You seem to be one of the lucky few to undergo a trouble-free Peugeot ownership experience; and I do mean few.

The UK market still measures things like they live in the 15th Century, so forgive them for that. That being said, the odometer (mile-o-meter) is in miles, which is the predominant unit on that dashboard; so to translate it into Roman Catholic, multiply that number by 1.6093 (or just 1.6, let’s not go overboard with the number theme).

Quick question: what type of headlamp does your Peugeot pair use? Are they sealed units or can the bulbs be replaced? If the bulbs can be replaced then get a new set of higher wattage and prepare to blind the poor unsuspecting road users to the point of them subsequently blacking out their windscreens in a reactionary frenzy like your comrade in the above section. The 405 I had was also horrendous in this aspect: driving at night was an eye-straining ordeal. The headlamps were more for other road users’ benefit than for my own illumination — they were to inform the rest that there was another car on the road with them so try not to run it off the road.

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Dear Sir,

I had a 1300cc Toyota Corolla 102 stationwagon and sold it after three years of great satisfaction in 2010. The Toyota Probox was just coming into the market and I acquired a 1300cc machine.

Again, it gave me good service and I sold it last year after four years. It still had the battery and four of the five tyres it came in. Granted apart from the occasional drive from Meru to Nairobi and a once a year trip to Lake Nakuru National Park I don’t do much driving. I do an average of 6km per day on weekdays and about 50km over the weekend.

have now switched to a 1500cc Nissan wingroad (2007 model). I find the wingroad a good machine except for the looks and the skidding. It definitely commands more respect on the road than the Probox. However there are two major challenges that bother me and on which I request your expert opinion.

1. It is very low slung and while I really value the accruing stability, this makes driving it off the tarmac a challenge. The spring constant of its springs/suspension system is also so low that a small load lowers it considerably. My last trip in August last year to the Lake Nakuru Park was enjoyable to the family but agony to me as the undercarriage was hit many times.

Even negotiating the standard Kenyan road bump when loaded is a challenge. I think the overhang at the rear is quite large (and for once I appreciated the Passo with almost a zero overhang).

I do not like the concept of spacers but have fitted a set to the front anyway while the rear was raised through some adjustments. This obviously did not address the issue of the spring constant. I have received lots of free and unsolicited advice about fitting other coil springs with higher tension. What is your informed opinion on the general matter and the tenser springs?

2. In my layman’s estimation, the vehicle has excellent fuel consumption. Often it runs on very low revs — and here is the cause of my second problem. When running on low revs especially between 1,000 and 2,000 per minute and especially in a jam (on even a small incline), it often loses power. Strange because it doesn’t stall but pressing on the accelerator has no effect. Given time it will pick again very slowly and gradually drive off. In an ideal situation this is ok. But in a jam, with impatient and exasperated motorists breathing down your back and others attempting to cut in, it can become very messy. Equally it can be quite embarrassing for a new looking car to appear to stall on the road, with people doubting your driving skills and openly expressing their thoughts. At one point I thought it was the quality of petrol but I have tried even those products I have often heard getting rated very highly. Besides, I thought on issues of quality, petrol (SI) engines are more tolerant. Please see what you can do to save me from this occasional embarrassments.

PS

The car came with separate car and radio manuals in Japanese. Is it possible to get one in English?

OB

Hi,

For once it feels nice to talk with someone with more than a rudimentary knowledge of motor vehicles. I have rarely met a driver

who mentions overhangs and spring constants in her questions, but that aside, here goes:

1. What adjustments were made at the rear? If the spring rates are not to your satisfaction, then by all means go for a stiffer setup. You can still install a different kind of spacer that adjusts the spring rate rather than increase ride height: it is essentially a rubber bung that fits into the coils of the spring thereby increasing their load resistance without affecting ride height. And they are not expensive.

As for the poor clearance, you could raise the car provided you don’t drive maniacally in a way that the loftier ride height will compromise the centre of mass and handling characteristics. These differences are usually felt at speeds where it is more appropriate to be watching out for speed traps than worrying about your car’s funny handling.

2. There are things that some of us do to counteract the limp-wristed performance of a small engine saddled with a lazy-matic transmission: key among them being a) using the overdrive (O/D) button where available and b) using the numbered part of the selector gate; the section that lies either south of or to the side of the Drive position; either that or the +,- side gate for Tiptronic shifts.

In other words, take back some of the control ceded by using automatic shifting. You could force the tranny to downshift by selecting second (or even first) and let the engine build up the revs beyond its normal shifting points (maybe up to 4000rpm if necessary) for better acceleration and to prevent hunting (the shuffling up and down of a transmission in search of the right gear) before relenting and reverting to Drive. Also, you could turn off the Overdrive function for better acceleration. Please be warned, both techniques will have a detrimental effect on your fuel consumption.

PS: umm… have you tried the internet? Then again, don’t be too hopeful, the Wingroad – and I stand corrected here- is a JDM car; Japanese Domestic Market, which means it is sold new only in Japan; in which case there was no need for a manual in English. This will be a situation where Google is not your friend. Try it anyway.

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Dear JM,

This is whatever you may call it. I really enjoy reading your segment. Do not ask me why because i do not know cars, nor engines nor whatever else you talk about but on Wednesdays i somehow find myself reading though all i see is Greek.I guess what am trying to say is you are a good writer. For sure when i graduate and get good money to buy my first car you will be my first inquiry.

Anne Kabare

Thank you. Once you graduate and get good money to buy your first car, I will be here if you need me.

Bows humbly at the applause.