We own two cars. My personal transport is Italian, red, and is made by a company whose name begins with F. It’s a Fiat Seicento Sporting. The other car is was screwed together by someone at Luton or Liverpool, and has a Vauxhall badge glued to it.
Now, I’ve been a Vauxhall fan for years. My first car was a Vauxhall – a 1978 Chevette, to be precise. Over the years, I’ve owned a Mk 2 Astra, and a succession of Carltons. Most have been reliable transport, all have been used when purchased, and all have been virtually driven to destruction by me.
That run of Vauxhall ownership has come to an abrupt end with a 1999 model Vectra estate. Oh, it’s comfy, has a good service history, one owner, fairly average mileage and so on. For such a nose-heavy car, it was pretty sprightly when you wanted it to be. We could live with the aircon being busted, and the fact we had to replace the radio unit because the keycode had been lost. Then the car began to dislike starting. Then the engine management light came on. In the past couple of months it’s spent more time being mended than on the road.
Today we learned the engine management chip had been fried. On investigation, I also learn this is a very common problem with this particular unit. It’s also a very expensive thing to fix.
So, I’ve fallen out of love with Vauxhalls. I don’t care that they had a bad patch around when our car was in production. I don’t care that the current cars are very good. I refuse to buy another Vauxhall.
Of course, we still have a crippled pile of junk we will have to try and get rid of. It’ll probably limp along for a while. Perhaps we can sell it, but more likely we’ll scrap it. It seems as if filling the tank with petrol doubles the car’s value.
All in all, 2010 has turned out to be an expensive year for cars in this household. The search is on for something that will potentially replace both cars, but I am very distrustful of any modern car, purely because they are so stuffed with electronics you have to rely on experts to fix them. Anything more than changing a lightbulb, and you need a computerised diagnostics system just to see what the car thinks is wrong.
Oh for the good old days when you could change the plugs and points on your drive on a Sunday morning. Oh for a simpler motoring experience.