Remember last year when I wrote about buying second hand cars and how to avoid the bad ones? Earlier this year I found a car after a twelve month search. And it still turned out to be a bad one.
You wonder sometimes if inanimate objects have a hex placed on them, but the Renault Clio in question was a motorised paradox: it was so cheap to run it payed for its own repairs.
The first problem was the plastic grille at the front covering the radiator. It fell off. I didn’t know it had fallen off until I saw a gaping hole at the front. I found a replacement on Ebay, but it didn’t fit because it was for a Mk 3 Clio, and mines the Mk 2. What’s the difference? The ends of the radiator grille, that’s all; everything else is identical. When I returned the grille the man in the post office looked at the six foot long package and probably thought I was posting a body.
Second problem – and again I think I blogged about this in a post about noise. The rumbling whining sound turned out to be the wheel bearings at the back. So another tranche of money saved ended up ‘reinvested’ in the ongoing difficulties.
The third problem was an MoT advisory; a fault not serious enough to fail the test, but bad enough to require attention. Two days before it was due to go to the mechanics, the engine overheated. And this is when things took a sinister turn.
The mechanic noticed the car had a new engine block. Within the grease and grime and general wear and tear, the engine block shone like a diamond, and he wondered if the reason for a new block was the cause of the overheating.
The next problem was less mechanical, and more social. I came out of a garden centre cafe and found both number plates stolen. A £40 bill to replace them and the car possibly cloned in order to be used to carry out acts of crime or avoid paying for petrol.
Yesterday, the demon car started billowing steam from the coolant expansion tank, and as if that wasn’t evil enough, oil was in the water system. (Talk of cylinder head gaskets and oil coolers seem to be the most likely culprit.)
Today, I was told the cost of repairs was more than the car was worth and so, after six months, the demons have won and I am without wheels.
And thus, before I had time to get used to where the windscreen wipers are, the search begins again.