Tuesday, October 30, 2012

So where exactly is the axle?

My lovely new blue car was in the garage. I was at home and then the man from Lookers (with the rotten customer service) phoned me up.
"When did you have the accident?', he demanded.
"I haven't had an accident", I squeaked, "I told you, the light came on....then the steering wheel thing happened as I was driving along"
"Well", he said, "Your axle is bent! You must have had an accident, or hit a pothole or a speed bump!"
"I haven't had an accident", I repeated, "I told you, the light came on....then the steering wheel thing happened as I was driving along - besides which, if I've bent the axle, then I'd have probably bent the metal in my back too, if I'd hit something that hard!"
"I'm not accusing you of lying", he said, in exactly that tone of voice that said he was accusing me of lying..."you must have hit something. We won't fix it. You need to claim on your insurance!"
I phone the insurance company and they ask me about my accident.
"I haven't had an accident", I say, "the light came on....then the steering wheel thing happened as I was driving along"
"Ah", they say (somewhat suspiciously) "what other damage is there to the vehicle?"
"Um...none?"....after all, I haven't had an accident!
The insurance company man sighs heavily...he is bamboozled. I am bamboozled. The axle is apparently bent. He sorts me out with a hire car and after discussion arranges to get the car taken to an independent repairers for assessment to see if they can find any evidence to back up the imaginary elephant I must have hit.
Lookers service still sucks...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

It went in a straight line....how?

Last week I had physio - in itself a completely unremarkable act, apart from the unspeakable pain that physio-terrorists seem to delight in putting you through! Anyway, I went out to the car, climbed in and drove up the hill....just like any other day (as they say in the movies). At the top of the hill, I did a u-turn* and as I did so, the traction control (ESP) light came on (or as I like to think of it, the little skiddy car symbol!) and then went off again. I know, I know, this is really boring, isn't it! Drove back down the hill (waved at the cat sitting in the window - unremarkably, she did not wave back!) and headed for the junction at the bottom. As I did so, the light came back on, which was odd, because I was not red-lining the car or waggling the steering wheel or driving on oil, ice or wet leaves. Aha! I thought, its a French car, it must be an electrical fault! Actually I don't know why I'm maligning French cars here, I just felt the need...

Anyway, long story short (it is 15 miles to the physio office after all), I got to my appointment and figured I'd worry about the light later. OK, got tortured, came back out to car. Started engine, light was out. Drove 200m to edge of car park, light came back on. The car's only done 2400 miles (it was new in August - how posh is that!) so I figured I'd take it to the main dealers....and it was at that time, that things started to get odd.

I turned right out of the car park. Up to the top of the hill, and right again. Up as far as the college and another right. (And FYI, I wasn't going round in a circle, that's just the way home!) Turned right into Tesco to get fuel and noticed that the steering wheel wasn't returning to centre. Got fuel. Out of Tesco (yep, you've guessed it), right turn again. By now the steering wheel was at 45° and as I drove down the road, it gradually got worse. The car was driving almost perfectly, but by the time I got to the dealers, the steering wheel was out by 90° - it was very, very odd.

In the dealers (their name is Lookers in case you are looking for rotten customer service), I told them about the light being on...and said, "oh yes, and by the way, the steering is out by 90°". Fair play, they said they couldn't look at it that day and so drove me home promising to look at it in the morning...Life was strange, but good.... Further instalments of this exciting tale will appear on this blog in the near future...!

*also unremarkable- the car was facing in the wrong direction for the physio's office

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Visit to the dentist

I woke up the other day and sleepily rolled over and got out of bed. I was almost dressed when an alarm went off on my phone - I glanced at the screen and saw I had a dentist appointment in 8 minutes time. 8 minutes!! 8 minutes?! Oh good grief! There I was, one sock off and one sock on and it can take me 8 minutes sometimes to get my socks on, let alone my shoes! I grabbed my trouser leg and stuffed my uncooperative feet into shoes, picked up my bag and my horrible mean phone (fancy only giving me 8 minutes!) and rushed (using the term loosely) outside. The car was on the opposite side of the street about 4 doors down (typical!), so I ran over to it (well, its not what most people would exactly call running, but I stumbled as fast as I could and thankfully didn't fall over) got inside and got going. Down to the bottom of the road, nothing coming, luck on my side here...and drove up to the traffic lights . Now its not far to the dentist. Way too far for me to walk, but literally 2 minutes in the car....I looked at the clock and I had exactly 2 minutes to get there. The lights went green, I started to make the turn, then a lady with a pushchair stepped into the road and I swerved to avoid her, forcing me down the second exit from the lights! Grrrr....turned the car...had to wait for the lights again...tap tap tap on the steering wheel, lights green, clock ticks over to exact appointment time, just as I get to the dentist car park. Phew! Argh! Not phew! The car park is full. I am forced to leave the car on the side of the road in a residents zone. I cross my fingers - which is no mean feat while you are walking with sticks, and rush (stagger) in to the surgery. Its full to bursting and the calm collected receptionist tells me they are running 20 minutes late. I find a seat and have a stern word with Siri ....8 minutes indeed! If that's how he's going to behave, I may be looking for a new phone! What a way to start a day! Oh yes, I didn't need anything doing teeth-wise and got away with the parking ....but I'm not sure just how I managed any of it!