A couple of weeks back now, I took my car to the local Kia dealership (as it’s a Kia) for its MoT. It had been serviced there a couple of weeks prior, and at that point the dealership hadn’t impressed me for a couple of reasons I won’t go into for now.
It passed the MoT just fine – needed two bulbs replacing, and that was it. But that evening, once I was home, the car wouldn’t start – the battery was completely flat. The only thing different to its usual treatment was the MoT, and the recovery guy who came out to sort things agreed it was likely they’d done something to flatten the bloody thing.
I spoke to the dealership the next day, and they denied all possibility that the problem was down to them. Couldn’t happen, sir. You left here fine (forgetting that it was running when I got in, I hadn’t had to start it) so it can’t be us. Just one of those things. If you really want to check, we’ve got a super-expensive tool for testing batteries properly, you can come in and we’ll do the check.
Which I did. Went in, and this super-tool said “Battery 100% OK”. Fair enough, it might be one of those things, I suppose. They were quite patronising about it all, and again insisted it couldn’t be anything to do with them. The only other way to find anything (“sir”) would be to drop it in for a couple of days, let it wait around and we’ll see if it drains, or what might be wrong.
However, the problems went on. It’s never completely flattened on me again, but I’ve been more aware of the delays on starting, and I’ve given it some bigger runs just to ensure the battery is as topped as possible.
So last week, knowing I’d got a hire car for a day-trip to Leeds (of which more in another post) I also booked it in to the dealership again for today, so they could have it a couple of days and find out what the problem is. It led to a bundle of fucking about, but it all came together in the end.
Lo and behold, this evening I got a call. Apparently, the battery *is* fucked, despite what their super-tool said a week ago. So they’re replacing it, and will then see tomorrow how everything goes, and hopefully I’ll collect it on Wednesday.
It’s fair to say, we’re going to have words when I do collect it. This has been a shitload of hassle, and it’s taken me a bundle of time away from work in order to keep on getting things sorted. My sense of humour has, as they say, somewhat failed about the whole thing. It’ll be interesting to see what happens – but I do feel somewhat vindicated about the whole thing.
What the dealership doesn’t seem to realise is that the servicing department is as much of a sales tool as the showroom is. I’ve got a Kia, and so far I’ve been quite pleased with it. I would have considered getting another one – and it would likely have been from that dealership. But if they can’t sort me out with a cheaper car and be competent, why the *fuck* would I stick with the same company once the current issues are sorted, let alone buy a new (to me) Kia?
Following on from the whole car kerfuffle last week, I’ve made a decision – it’s time to get rid of the Saab. It’s been decidedly iffy this year, and with the latest issue, I just can’t rely on it when I need to. I’ve still got a thousand-ish miles to do by the end of this month, let alone the stuff for the rest of the year, so need something I can trust will get me from A to B without the need for recovery, garages and the like. Basically, that’s it.
The Saab no longer fits that bill, so it’s time for it to go. I know I still won’t qualify for a car finance agreement etc., so it’s been a case of sorting out a transfer of funds from the savings account. It means a fixed budget, and see what fits that bill and those funds.
I spent some of the weekend looking at new (to me) cars, and have one sorted, to be collected on Wednesday.
It’s a diesel Kia Ceed, so fairly crap. But it’s only 70,000 miles, and came in well under budget. I’ve wangled a service and a year’s MOT out of the dealer, as well as a parts guarantee for a year (or 20,000 miles, whichever comes sooner) The deposit has been paid with a credit card, which covers me under Section75 for the full price of the car, should it turn out to be a lemon. (That’s something I didn’t know ’til recently – so long as you pay more than £100 on a credit card, S75 covers the whole amount, not just whatever was paid by the card) In short, I’m as covered as it’s possible to be.
In all, it’s not a bad deal. The price is good, and having checked further since, I reckon it’s going to be saving me about £100 per month. Yeah, per month. The road tax is £30 for the year, rather than the £25 a month I was paying for the Saab. (It fell just outside the newer emissions regulations, which I didn’t know at the time I got it) and the insurance is £30 less a month. With the reduction in fuel costs as well – diesel vs. petrol, and so on – it stands to be a significant saving.
Then there’s what I got for the Saab – I took that back to the Saab garage on Monday, transferred the ownership, and basically got back what I initially paid for it. It’s still cost me money over the three years, but it’s nowhere near as bad as it could have been.
I’ll see how things go with the new car – I’m not expecting lots from it, just to be reliable and to do what it should. It’s going to have a busy couple of weeks once I’ve got it, including longer runs to Dorset and Manchester, so by the end of the month I’ll know more about how it fits my requirements, and hopefully that it’s generally reliable.
As usual when things go quiet round here, it’s been a busy week – and an expensive one. If this is the aftermath of holidays, I’m going to have reservations about taking them again.
While I was away, the Saab was (again) in the garage, getting a winter service, as well as checking out a couple of weird issues that only occur when it’s been standing for a couple of days (and thus are hard to get to happen once you’ve driven the sodding thing to the garage) I’d hired a car to do the driving for the holiday, which was an expected expense.
On Tuesday, I dropped off the car at the hire company, collected the Saab from the garage, and drove into town to work for the rest of the day. All fine. When I drove it home afterwards though, the oil light came on, and the engine started sounding unwell. Bugger. With no back-up plan, it meant I had to sort out getting the car recovered back to the Saab garage, then collecting a new hire car, and doing it all in time to collect friends I was taking to a charity quiz night. So, no pressure.
As it happened, it all worked out – the recovery wagon turned up earlier than expected, we got to the garage, and the car-hire guys met me there, to take me to the hire place, so I could collect the car and then collect everyone. Pretty stressful all round, and a lot of juggling and keeping people informed of what was happening, but it all came together.
By the end of it, we even came second on the quiz!
It’s made for an expensive post-holiday week though. Paying for a new hire car, and whatever work the car needs etc. etc. Oh, and then of course my Fitbit decided to fall apart as well – because why not, when everything else is doing the same?
Just one of those weeks.
So far, it’s felt like a very long – and really quite unproductive – week in many ways.
I was away over the weekend, and while driving back on Sunday, the car died on me near Leeds. No power-steering, idiot-lights galore – and all while travelling at 80-ish in the outside lane of the M1. That definitely focusses the mind somewhat.
I got over to the hard shoulder immediately, and stopped. Called my insurance company – who also do the recovery part – and got it organised. I knew it was 99.9% likely to need recovery, so they sorted it out and that all went really smoothly. They’d predicted up to 90 minutes before the recovery got there, and they turned up within half an hour.
Apparently, I got lucky – my recovery part includes “Get me home”, rather than the more standard “nearest garage, and then pay through the nose for anything else” policy. So I got one truck that took me back to Milton Keynes in one go (no Relay crap either, thankfully) and dropped the car off at the Saab garage locally, and then I got a cab home. Not cheap, but could’ve been so much worse. According to the recovery driver, if it’d been the normal policy, it would’ve cost me around £500 to get the car home… I broke down at 1.30, and was back in Milton Keynes at 6.00, and home by 7.00. Not at all bad, all things considered.
While I was waiting to be picked up, I’d also organised a replacement hire car – which also reminds me yet again how great smartphones and apps can be, sat by the side of a motorway booking a hire car – that I collected on Monday before heading off to Chesham to be on-site again. All fine. Hassle-filled, but fine.
After doing a bundle of driving and so on, I got home about 9pm, and parked up.
And on the Tuesday, by 7am the battery was completely flat and the hire car wouldn’t start at all. Cue a three-hour farce with the AA not sending anyone when they said they would, and making an utter bollock of the entire process. Not helped by using the hire-firm as an intermediary (although they handled it fine, it was just the AA being useless) but still. I finally got sorted at mid-day.
So yes, it took the AA three hours to find a known address and fix the problem (Epically flat battery, although we don’t yet know why – apparently Fiat couldn’t find any issues with it) where it only took four-and-a-half for another company to find me on a motorway, and drive 180-ish miles. Safe to say, I won’t be putting any money in the AA’s direction any time soon.
Along the way, the Saab was fixed on the Monday – the power-steering belt, which also powers a number of other bits, had snapped, and it was just that part which required replacement. So, a bill of £85 all-in, including VAT, labour and parts. Could’ve been *so* much worse…
The rest of the week has just been busy and ridiculous, and doesn’t really feel like it’s stopped at all. With luck it’ll ease up now for the weekend – but then, this is me, so what’re the chances? Low-to-sod-all , I’d say…
So here we are, in April already. A quarter of the year gone.
The first three months have been fairly awkward and problematic in some ways, but all told it’s still been a success – although in some ways it’s been a case of looking at grey clouds and finding a silver lining. Work and so on have stayed stable, it’s just other non-work stuff that hasn’t gone as well.
The worst (or at least most frustrating) part has been the car – thankfully that now appears to be sorted, but it’s been an expensive quarter, with repeated re-visits to the garage, along with replacement parts and so on.
I did have plans for writing more and so on, but they haven’t materialised. I’ve done a couple of things and started with some ideas and the like, but the intended plan hasn’t happened. Hopefully the next three months will let me write more, if I’ve got the time and inspiration.
Health-wise, I’ve slacked off a lot on going to the gym and so on. I’ve had a bundle of colds and coughs throughout the last few months, and every time I’ve thought “Ok, that’s finally gone”, I’ve picked up another one. That’s not been fun, but there we go. Admittedly, a lack of gymmage hasn’t resulted in any weight gains – everything has stayed in exactly the same place it was while I was going to the gym regularly. That’s been another thing that’s not helped on the motivational front – if it’s not making any difference one way or t’other, it becomes less important to go.
I do need to get back to it, and doing other stuff as well – because I’m a loon, and have just signed up to the NSPCC’s challenge to walk/run (OK, walk) up the 38 floors of the Gherkin on Sunday 19th June. I must be fucking barmy. This is the kind of thing that happens when Marie Curie aren’t doing their 10km walks. I blame them. 🙂 That’s in ten weeks time, so I need to do some stuff pretty quickly…
Anyway, it’s been an interesting first three months of the year. There’s some interesting challenges coming up – not least that bloody Gherkin challenge – in the next three months, and I just hope it’s a bit more positively motivated than the first three have been.
Time will tell…
Following on from the car’s various issues over the last month, it now appears (touch wood) to be all sorted.
However, it means that in the last month it’s had
- MOT (Passed with no problem)
- Two separate broken pipes to the turbo, on different occasions – but weirdly, at the exact same location. (i.e. while driving, both times the engine management light came on at the same junction)
- 150,000 mile service, which included a couple of other small fixes too
Thankfully, it’s not been massively expensive, and the fixes have been small ones. But still, it would’ve been a nicer/easier month without having to do them. (as well as the hire of replacement cars while it was being unreliable) Such is life.
There’s one more bit that needs doing, which is booked in for a couple of weeks time (a bit annoying, as I thought they were doing it at the same time as the service, but such is life) but for now it seems like all’s well again.
Since the main bits of work, it’s had another 1,000 miles added on, so it all feels like it’s settled in again. But as always, time will tell.
Another day, another visit to the garage.
Having been repaired last week during the MOT, the same issue (or at least what appeared to be the same issue) recurred on Friday. Annoying, to say the least.
With everything else that was going on, the car didn’t get to revisit the garage again ’til yesterday (Tuesday) for them to find out what the problem was this time.
It turns out to have been *another* pipe to the turbo inlets that had perished and snapped. So – a similar issue, but not the same one, even though it presented in precisely the same way. (And bizarrely, occurred at precisely the same place)
Thankfully, both issues have been resolved quickly, easily and fairly cheaply. All the same, I’m hoping that there won’t be any more for a while.
In a ‘tempting fate’ moment, I took the hire car back today, and I’ll use the Saab for tomorrow Manchester run. If it fails me on that run, then I think I’ll be starting to look for a new vehicle before very long at all.