March 24th, 2009

A New Ambition

Today, I’ve decided to add a new ambition to my list:

I, Daniel Kennett, would like to - one day - buy a new car that works and stays working.

Not that I’m contributing to the disposable car culture or anything, but in the past year or so I’ve bought (or bought on behalf of my company) four new cars.

  • A year ago, I bought a Volvo C30, which almost immediately suffered an electronic anomaly and went batshit insane. Other than this one problem the C30 has been perfect.

  • Nearly a year ago, my company bought a Lotus to use as a test car for a future project. Since then, it’s done nothing but fall to bits - it squeaks and rattles, an air intake hose came free, the lock on the passenger door doesn’t sit properly, it’ll lock and arm its alarms when the door isn’t really that shut, etc. Lotus aficionados will laugh and say “Well, that’s Lotus for you!”, but back in the real world where a company needs equipment it can depend on, I’ve vowed never to buy another one ever again.

  • In November, I bought an RX-8 R3 as a trackday/play/etc car and took it to the Nürburgring where it performed superbly. However, on the way back it developed a gearbox problem and ended up with a new gearbox. Again, other than this one problem it’s been perfect.

  • Finally, last week. After getting a dog, the C30 doesn’t quite cut it. He fits in there fine, but given my penchant for driving around Europe with bikes and luggage, the C30 just isn’t big enough. Other than the space, the C30 was a brilliant car so I decided to upgrade to what’s essentially the estate version of the same car - the V50.

It’s blue!


Aaanyway, about twenty-four hours after I collected it from the dealer, this was the scene:


Yeah, not a great start. Turns out there’s a crack in the power steering pipe and my previous day’s driving had been leaving a trail of power steering fluid around the south of England. Now, my problem isn’t that there’s a fault - shit happens, right? My problem is that the power steering pipes are a known trouble spot for these cars, so I’d have expected a double and triple check of that area by both Volvo and the dealer that sold me the car. The fact that they let me drive off with such a potentially dangerous fault shows a bit of a failure in that regard!

Thankfully, I took it to a different dealer the next day, without an appointment, and they had it fixed by that afternoon. They also gave me a detailed report of what the problem was and how they fixed it for me to present to Volvo Customer care and VOSA.

Still, other than the Lotus, I’ve had one problem per car. So, the V50 will work perfectly for years now, right?