The First Car: Part 2/3. The Wallet Emptying Phase
I was all prepared to write this second part. Started writing down what I had done to the car over the four and a half years I had had it, counting up those numerous bills, preparing myself for that wave of stupidity to hit as you realise just how much you spent keeping a worthless car on the road. Then, after about 5 things on the list I was stumped. No longer was this the wave of stupidity, but the wave of pride, like a Union Jack flying magnanimously in a stiff breeze. I ran a British car, and it was good. It was reliable!
I was then crushed by something. It was the anvil of idiocy as I remembered all of the other things that had gone wrong during my ownership.
Let’s go straight into the big bills. First job. Cambelts. £450. Done. That was my introduction into running a quad cam V6. I bought the car knowing this would need to be done, knowing it was an arse of a job.
Over the next 3 years it was pretty uneventful. Nothing really to write about. Replaced some rear brakes, replaced a set of front brakes. Found out the car had a penchant for drop links, but that was fine.
First thing even slightly noteworthy was the rear back box going. Although not in a way you’d expect. It started to sound rather throaty. I chucked it in to the local independents to fit a new back box, only for them to phone and say it had no holes and was in really quite good condition. Even more amazing was this 15 year old car still had its original back box. It turns out the internal baffles had started to degrade. I rather liked the sound of this so continued to drive it with many pops on the overrun, until I was about to do a 1000 mile round trip and thought the drone might piss me off. So handed over more monies and got it fixed.
Next on the fix list was a snapped coil spring. The only issue with this was it snapped down in England. Roughly 400 miles from home. Now if I am going to be honest, and I do try, I can’t blame the car for this one. I can only blame myself for pulling off a perfectly executed J-turn the previous night on the airfield we were hiring out. Luckily, AA to the rescue, 36 hour trip home with a cheeky night in a hotel and a £130 bill. Not too bad all in. Apart from the Ibis Budget the AA had me up in. They are the Vietnamese prison of the hotel world, reject it and sleep outside instead.
Another good chunk of time flew by in which the car passed all of its MOT’s with no advisories. But then I was only doing 5k a year so should’ve probably expected it. Over this time I found out it also really liked headlight bulbs and my driving style was not suited to front tyre conservation. I think by the end of it I managed to average 8k to a set of fronts. Not bad if you ask me.
The most random thing that happened was one morning the windscreen decided to crack itself. Wasn’t a particularly cold evening or morning, but it just went. No idea why, let’s take a moment to thank fully comprehensive insurance for a bill of only £75 to fix a windscreen.
So that’s the end of the first 3 years of ownership.
It gets a bit juicier from now on. Mainly as I went from doing 5k a year to around 15k thanks to moving into the country that is Engerland, where everyone seems to insist on living incredibly far from their job.
The next issue was a biggie. The clutch. Again, the car was now on over 70k and had never had a clutch change at 17 years old. Presented with a £500 bill all in, I paid it with grace and accepted that it would be fine for another 70k.
The next few months were rather irritating where the car broke consistently month after month. Just after the clutch came a rear wheel bearing, £150. Next came the other rear wheel bearing (Should’ve expected that) another £150. During this time I also put some new front brakes on it due to the unique way I was driving, which had warped the discs. Another couple of hundred quid there.
Next up was a rather worrying one. I was treating the vehicle to a car wash, as I do not have the vital outside tap, and as I was sitting there the temperature rocketed. This was worrying. Had I cooked the engine? Turns out the cooling fan had died. This was costly. Just after the £500 clutch, and £500 of brakes and wheel bearings. The part was £200, and I couldn’t even do it myself as due to the fantastically designed 75, you have to degas the aircon.
Fan-bleeding-tastic! Let’s top that £200 parts bill up with £130 of labour and £40 for a re-gas.
Another month passes. Now we have water everywhere. Joy. It is the height of summer at this point but I’d rather not have a water fight with my car on a daily basis. Cause of this? A cable tie rubbing on the back of the radiator for god knows how many miles giving it a small hole. I was sick of the car by this. A bottle of Radweld was the answer. I then enjoyed the car in a bliss world of motoring perfection. Briefly.
Two months later, another batch of work. The front brakes had gone again and I had a rogue ABS light. I drive sensibly, honest guv. New front discs and pads were the order of the day again. Now, I thought I had been a clever git figuring out the ABS rings were knackered, not the sensor, through various un-plugging and resetting nonsense. So I purchased two front wheel bearings (I do learn something every now and then) along with the front brakes and chucked it in to get the work done. Surprise surprise it was the sensor, whose wire had been chewed apart. To boot I had to get another hub flange as the runout on one was interesting to say the least. Wait what’s that you hear? BONUS ROUND?! Yes you thought that was it all for this repair but no, we had a second juicy surprise with a very worn front wishbone and mount. Being honest there was a massive clunk prior to this. I was just doing the standard, play music louder and pretend its fine trick. I think this all added up to around £5-600. I can’t remember. I was almost as wrecked as the car at this point.
A month and half later though I was back on it as 4 brand spanking new tyres hit the rims for a cost of just over £300. Beauty. My car was back to perfection. Due to this I swiftly ordered a brand new car at much cost (more on this later), as I predicted this would not last long. All it had to do was last from September to the start of November. Easy right?
Hold my beer I hear the car shout as one thing it can’t hold anymore is any coolant. On the plus side it overheated just before I was about to fill it up with a full tank of petrol. So I appreciate the cars stature there. Unfortunately it took me 3 hours to nurse it home, constantly letting it cool down. I’d had it. Train was booked up to Scotland. Mothers Honda Insight was borrowed.
Im not adding up all those costs I listed. Not because I don’t want to depress myself about the situation. I’ve already done that. But because there is more than likely, still some chunks of money missing. Feel free however to add it up yourselves if you would like a strong feeling of insanity and depression over a valueless object. It’s great fun.
You’d think I was done there with the Rover. But no. I’ve got another blog in this saga yet.
Next time i’ll show you how to make it incredibly difficult to sell a car due to a good lack of competence and a car that no one really wants. Apart from a guy in my work. Somehow..