Unhelpful Timings

The one downside of the whole “need a new car” thing is that I’d only recently sorted out all the MOT, Servicing, Tax, and Insurance Renewal for the current car.  Which is, to say the least, a bit annoying.

Thankfully, the MoT hadn’t needed too much work – simply realigning windscreen wipers and headlamps, no major stuff at all – but still it’s annoying to have done all the stuff for ensuring it’s mechanically OK, only to then have something unchecked go ker-fut.   (OK, *start* to go ker-fut!)

The insurance renewal is a bit more of a pain. I could make alterations, but I suspect that the massive difference in vehicle values might make it ridiculous.  So I might have to cancel the newly-renewed policy – I know what that will cost, and it’s doable.  And before I make a decision, I’ll find out what the costs will be, so I can properly evaluate the pros and cons.

Again, things could be far, far worse. It’s just annoying.


Fifty-flippin’-two.  Blimey.

Onwards and upwards, as always.

Changes, Privilege, and Good Fortune

Every so often, in situations like this week’s need to organise a change of cars, I sit back and realise just how lucky I am.

Ten years ago I was just out of my official bankruptcy period, with another five years to come with it still on my credit record. I was doing OK, but something like this week would still have made life interesting. (As it was, I did have to go through a car change while in that bankruptcy period, but thankfully got through it OK because the administration people were excellent)

It’s taken a long time, but everything since then has been in a positive direction, and I’m happy with it all.  It leaves me somewhat gobsmacked that now I can again pay for a car on a credit card (and once everything’s gone through, I’ll move it all to an interest-free balance-transfer card)  with no real hassle.

Hopefully the new car will also not need anything major for a while (fingers epically crossed!) which will also help a lot.

Obviously, it’s more debt than I’d ideally like to be in – but it’s feasible/affordable, and I can sort the rest.  It might even give me some impetus for getting some other things off the ground and get some extra income that way.  We’ll see.

Regardless though, it’s good to have these occasional reminders that I’m fortunate enough to be in a good place, and simply appreciate that simple fact.

Festerous Advertising

Bah Humbug“It gets earlier every year!”

We’ve entered November, and it seems like all the advertisers have gone “Fucking hell, Christmas is coming!“, so it’s all turned into a retail frenzy of fuckery.  They’ve already thawed out Mariah Carey and Michael Bublé (Or “Mickey Bubbles” as I tend to call him) in ads, as well as a couple of other “celebrity-laden” ones where I know the faces and couldn’t give two shits about any of their names.

So by the time we’re on November 2nd I’m already sick of the entire bloody thing.

Bah Humbug indeed.

Driving Change

Yesterday, while travelling to and from my on-site visit, the car started making Noises Of Imminent Doom.  Nothing super-evident immediately, but a vibration I could feel through the pedals, and power that was starting to “blip” – not quite to the level of stalling, but… it felt like that was on the way.

So I got home fine, and had spent the time figuring out What’s Next.

Bearing in mind that it’s on just over 220,000, I reckon the turbo is on its way out. I got this one in September 2018, and that was at a mileage of 115,000, so yeah, it’s about on-schedule.And while it was worth doing on a car with that mileage, I don’t think the same is true when we’re heading towards double that.

So today I spent time sorting stuff out – and as a result, I’ve got a new (to me) car arriving on Monday. Unexpectedly, it’s another Kia, but this time it’s an Optima, in Silver.  Not my favourite colour to drive (it disappears in rain/mist etc.) but again, meh, it’ll do.

It’s an automatic (which is what I’d intended to get) and fully ULEZ compliant – my current one isn’t – and that’s much more relevant with the recent expansion of the London ULEZ, as well the growing prevalence of them in other places I visit. Most importantly, despite being a 2016 plate, it’s got less than 30,000 on the clock – and while I paid more for it than I’d hoped/expected to, it still came in under budget at £10K.  Hopefully it’ll last a good while – although I suspect it’ll initially be a shock for a car used to four or five thousand miles a year to suddenly be doing my kind of miles and journeys.

As it is, it comes with a seven-day returns period if it’s horrible, a three month warranty from the garage (including RAC cover) which is about standard. I’ve also paid for it on a credit card, so Section 75 can cover things if it turns out to be a problem past that.

And once I’ve got it, the old car is going off to “We Buy Any Car” – I don’t expect much for it, but it’s better than paying out for scrappage or whatever!

So everything’s in place, and now I just need to hope it all works out. Time will tell, obviously.

MOT Thoughts

Following on from getting the car’s MOT Test done this week, I had a look back on the history of my car’s MOT tests (that’s just a link to the service, not to my specific vehicle)  Something I find interesting on it all is the inconsistency of what’s reported as faults.

I’ve noticed it before – but even when using the same MOT Test Centre, they don’t seem to check the same things every year.

As an example – last year I had advisory warnings about corrosion to the rear doors, and to some suspension components. This year? Neither of those problems was mentioned at all – and I know I haven’t had any work done to sort them out!

It’s not just this test centre, either – the same was true when I was using the Kia dealership down in Milton Keynes, and I know was true with the Saab (an exhaust back box that was blowing one year and not the next, for example) and I thus assume for the Ford as well. (I didn’t really check/track then)

Obviously it’s meant more for looking at current serious faults that would make a vehicle dangerous – although in that case I don’t quite get why misaligned windscreen washers or headlights result in a failure rather than a “needs fixing” – but the lack of consistency on the historical ones just leaves me with a bit of a feeling of “This is all just subjective and/or guesswork, isn’t it?

An Expensive Time

This September-October period is always an expensive one for me.

The main thing is the car – because I got it in October , it means that this six weeks or so includes MoT (and any associated fixes), Service, Tax, and Insurance Renewal. This time it also included a visit to the local dealership to get the handbrake cables replaced (because KwikFit decided they couldn’t/wouldn’t do it, and some other load of old cock that they told me) as it wouldn’t have passed the MoT with them un-fixed.

The handbrake thing is one that’s been going on as long as I’ve had the car – every other MoT gets a warning about “handbrake too high” or “little reserve play/motion”, whoever’s fixing it does something, and it’s OK again – but it got a better-ish fix at KwikFit last year, and then got worse again recently.  So far the newly-replaced cables seem to have sorted everything though.

Anyway, the MoT was yesterday, and it passed fine.  It failed initially (but only for misaligned windscreen washer and misaligned headlights) but was then fine.  Not bad for a car with 220,000 on the clock!

The insurance renewal was mentioned elsewhere, as it was farcical, but is now fine – and I’ve managed to keep it at the same level as what I was paying for the last year, so happy day.

Alongside that (because God Knows, I’m shit at planning) it’s also been time to sort out my tenancy renewal on the new place – which has involved a small-ish raise in rent, although not as much as initially suggested.  And then I also ended up organising for a company to come and deal with the front garden and so on, because it’s a bombsite and needs dealing with (and I am emphatically not a gardener!)

So yeah, it’s all been a bit costly.  Utterly doable though (which is lovely, and still a good thing compared to ten years ago) and at least I know it’s now all organised, so the rest of the year isn’t too bad at all. Thankfully!