Tuesday, 20 March 2012

"Whoa there Leslie ....."

As much as we loved our little Fiat, it had to go. It was getting too small for our needs you see. Well, the car itself wasn't changing shape, you understand, but Joseph and Annabel are getting bigger all the time and we required more 'stuff' whenever we went on our little jaunts around the country. I started to moan about changing the car at the end of 2010, and started the research other vee-hicles.

Added some urgency to this, was the minor point that the car's gearbox was 'playing up'. It had one of those poncey tip-tronic gearboxes, meaning you could either drive it in full automatic, or as a semi-automatic (you change gear, but there's no clutch).

In theory, this is quite a clever idea, and it meant the car took a familiar 'breath' between gears, just like a manual. In reality, however, it turned out to be a pain in the 'bottom'. What this type of gearbox does - excuse me while I get all Jeremy Clarkson on you - is allow the manufacturers to install a computer chip to 'tell' the engine when to change gear. As you are undoubtedly aware, information technology rarely behaves itself 100% of the time and, invariably, this clever little chip gave up the ghost and rendered our gearbox useless. Sadly, this happened before I'd found a new car.

I called up our recovery service, they towed me to a Fiat garage and I spoke to the nice man therein. He said he would call me.

Well, he did call me - the very next day in fact. He told me that a new part would be just over £1300.

After the room had stopped spinning, I searched the floor for my 'phone and booked the car in.

Long story short - the car gets fixed, I'm down over a thousand pounds and I'm not happy. I find a new car - well, a one year old car - I drive all the way to Leeds to part-exchange it, and as of last August, we are the proud owners of a much bigger, much newer (much thirstier) car, with the added bonus of 6 years remaining warranty, so no more nasty surprises from garages!

Well, 6 months in, and I'm still tremendously pleased with our car (although I've just taxed it and that's much more expensive too, not to mention the impending service that's due, *sob*), but weirdly, I'm still getting used to how long and wide it is, especially when parking.

It is for this reason, and this reason alone, that I was SO damn smug when I parked this close to a wall the other day. I think the accompanying saying goes something like, "you could fit a fag paper through there!" or words to that effect.

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