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Changing your tune

I HAVE a 1998 Daihatsu Applause manual sedan with a 1.6-litre engine and 72,000km on the clock. With the engine run by the engine-management system, is it necessary to get the engine tuned like we used to in the old days, or does the computer take care of it? I have what I call excessive fuel usage, about 10 litres for 100km.

THE idea of the electronic engine-management system is to take the tuning out of the hands of owners and mechanics, so there's not a lot you can do yourself. The spark plugs and leads are about the only components that can be changed to ensure proper running. Your fuel consumption is a bit high -- Daihatsu claimed 7.5 litres for 100km for the Applause manual -- but not too bad if it's an average figure for town use. If it's from highway driving, I'd suggest there's something wrong with your car.