D4D

There's no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing

Archive for the category “Commuting”

Ker-fut

Yesterday nearly got very interesting indeed.

I’d had to drive over to Chesham for a day in the proper office, and on the way the car had started making some very dodgy noises, although it was all running OK.  From the noises, and when they happened, I was fairly sure it was an issue with the turbo.

As a result, I rang up the Saab garage, and booked it in for a checkup on Tuesday, which was the first day they had available.

On the way home, the noises were worse, so I was driving more carefully (and a bit slower) than usual.

I got to the Leighton Buzzard bypass (having avoided the M1 on a Friday evening – can’t think why I might’ve wanted to that) and whatever had been weakening let go, dumping a shitload of smoke and gunk over the road – which must’ve been interesting for the poor bugger behind me, to say the least.

I’ve managed to nurse it home – taking it slowly, accelerating without hitting the turbo ranges etc. – so it’s parked up outside the house, and I’ll be somehow getting it to the garage over the weekend (when the traffic is quieter, in case things go horribly wrong) in order to get it sorted on Tuesday. In the meantime, I’ve also reserved a hire car for next week, and we’ll see how things go from there.

I don’t yet know whether I’ll get it repaired/replaced, or look for something new – a lot of it will depend on what the costs are for fixing it, really. So I’ll know more later in the week, and work from there.

In honesty, I could’ve done without the hassle – but it’s something I can deal with without crippling me, and that’s no bad thing.

People-Carriers

[Note : There may be some sweeping generalisations in this, but at the same time I’m trying to avoid them]

As has been noted many times over the years, I drive way too much, way too many miles (in comparison to pretty much anyone sane) and get to see an awful lot of crappy driving.  I’m not claiming my own driving is perfect – but with that number of miles I cover, nor is it bloody awful.

Anyway, as always there seem to be certain categories of drivers who are worse than others.

Invariably, the worst of all tend to be the drivers of BMWs and Audis, but there’s another class I’m seeing more of on the roads – the people-carrier vehicles, the MPVs and their ilk. In particular, there’s something about drivers of Citroen Picassos (I’ve always suspected that people only buy those because BMW don’t make a people-carrier – if they did, that’s what the fuckknuckles would buy) but it’s actually most of that vehicle type.

I don’t know why it is that certain types of vehicle seem to attract crap drivers, but it keeps on appearing to be so.

[I had a theme in there, but it’s now gone. Grrr]

Overtaking – On the decline

Over the last few weeks of driving, I’ve been noticing more and more that other drivers seem to be quite averse to overtaking, even with miles of clear and visible road ahead.  I don’t quite know why it is – maybe it’s about how generally risk-averse we’re becoming – but it’s bloody annoying.

I do overtake – so long as it’s safe, and the road is clear. (That should go without saying, but still) But I now seem to be in the minority.

Of course, the irony is that when you’re then on a multi-carriageway road, every single one of those motherfuckers is sitting in the outside two lanes, overtaking fuck-all. But I digress.

The thing is, if you’re behind five or six – hell, even two or three – vehicles who aren’t overtaking whatever’s holding everyone up/back, then my own overtaking manoeuvre becomes difficult, if not impossible. So you just end up sitting there, because no-one else is prepared to do anything.

It’s an odd state of affairs – and sometimes bloody annoying. But there’s not a lot that you can do, except accept that it’s just going to be one of those days…

Service Reward

As I said last week, the Slab passed its MOT with flying colours. So I decided to give it a treat – as well as the service it was due for, I sorted out a couple of things that’ve been annoying, and all is good.

Since I got it – and obviously before that too – one of the information displays has been pretty dodgy. It’s an old-type thing with a dot-matrix screen, and there were obviously some borked connections, so it never displayed the entire screen at all.  Depending on any number of random factors, it could be 75% working or 25%.  It didn’t affect the functionality of the car, but it got annoying on occasion.

Anyway, with having had to spend Not Much (actually, nigh-on Sod All) for the MOT, I asked about getting a replacement (or in this case, reconditioned) display module. I’d thought about it before, but didn’t bother at the time.

The service was done yesterday, along with the new display module, and replacement of various fluids that were OK-ish, but got flagged up as “could do with being replaced”. (Brake fluid and the like)

The display now is ace – indeed, it’s taking me some time to get used to it being as bright and clear as it is. The service had a couple of small bits that also needed doing, but it’s been worthwhile, and still Not Much for a car as comparatively old as the Slab.

Of course, with new bits and now it’s all sorted and taxed for the next year, something major is sure to go wrong with it in the coming month or so. That’s just the way these things go…

Jammed

At the moment, I’m doing regular drives on the Northbound M1, which is currently subject to no less than 15 miles (Fifteen Miles! For fuck’s sake!) of roadworks in one stretch replacing the central barrier, and another stretch installing ‘smart motorways’, in a similar way to how the Southbound M1 was screwed over a couple of years back.

Through both of these stretches, we’ve got the 50mph speed limit and ‘average speed cameras’, which seem to also contain some kind of mind-control that turns the majority of drivers into zombies who can’t see an empty lane, but can see a speed camera and slow down for it. (The phrase ‘average speed’ is utterly beyond them, of course)

It amazes me how bad the driving standards are in these roadworks zones – it’s as though people stick to the lane they were in when they entered the roadworks, and aren’t able to move from it. They don’t move in (or even pull out to overtake) despite any available space, or someone else driving even slower ahead.

I don’t know what can be done to change it – it’s just a human nature thing, I guess – but dear God, it’s bloody annoying to be surrounded by that many dickwhistles.

Inept

Following on from yesterday’s post about car maintenance, and giving the Saab a treat, there was one final thing that needed doing.

Over the last couple of months, the car’s been intermittently reporting “Key battery needs changing”. It did it for a week, then stopped doing so. Then every so often the message would return. (I know, that’s pretty much the definition of ‘intermittent’. Sod off)

Anyway, last week it got more consistent, and over the weekend it started not locking etc., which I figure is a pretty good indication that it’s time to sort it out. (Luckily I’ve got two keys, so it wasn’t a complete hassle) Having looked at the instruction book – yes, a man reading the instructions, what a rarity – and picked up the necessary battery on Sunday, expecting it to be a two-minute job.

Safe to say, it wasn’t a two-minute job. Following the simple instructions, the panel on the key simply wouldn’t open. I probably could’ve forced it, but what the hell would be the point of that?

So it ended up that yesterday I went to my Saab garage, and got them to do it instead. It cost me nothing (except the fuel to get there, of course) and yes, it took them less than two minutes all told.

On occasion it’s galling to be quite this inept – although they did say it’s something that a lot of people have issues with doing – but at the same time I’m fairly secure in my inpetitude, and in getting things done by those who know how to do so.

Basic Maintenance

This week, the Saab must think it’s been stolen – allbeit by someone who actually gives a damn about cars.

With the various odds-and-sods and issues of the last few months, basic car stuff had kind of gone by the wayside. I’ve been promising the car some attention, and so now normality has been somewhat resumed, it’s been time to do it. Plus, of course, the onset of winter conditions, which means it makes sense to ensure things are sorted.

Over the weekend, it got a proper clean inside and out (I don’t quite know how car windows get so disgusting on the inside, but they do) which made a world of difference. There were also new windscreen wipers – the last MOT said they were OKish and wouldn’t fail the car, but did need replacing. So with the colder/wetter weather (and with the next MOT due in a couple of months) it was worth sorting out.

Finally, it’s now sitting on new tyres – it’s a year since I did the last new set, and they’ve done nearly 30,000 miles in that time.

Of course, now it’s had another couple of hundred quid spent on it, it’ll now break down spectacularly in the next couple of weeks, knowing my luck.

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