So after all that expense with the Clio and hitting the crater masquerading as a pothole in the Lexus it was an expensive month. But let us remember the Clio expenditure was pre-emptive maintenance to avoid costly problems later on in my ownership, as this is a car I intend to keep, although anyone that knows me will scoff at that. There was, after all, a time when I seemed to have a new car every week!
The little quirks like the occasional high idle, absent electric operation of the nearside mirror and ignorance of the remote locking from the key are all part of its character. Well, OK, they are faults but it makes me feel better to describe them as quirks that make up the character and means I don't have to live off soup for the month while they get attended to. I will at some point have a tinker myself and see if they can be fixed.
After smashing into that pothole large enough for a round of golf, I pulled up the Lexus to inspect the damage. Sure enough the sidewall of the tyre was torn. Unlucky, but could have happened to anyone. Good job the spare was perfect anyway. Warning triangle out, remove the spare from the boot, jack out and in place, time to loosen the wheel bolts before jacking it up and replacing the wheel. This was when I realised that King Kong himself must have put this wheel on.
It must have looked hilarious to see this mad man jumping up and down on a wheel brace at the side of the road, all red faced, sweaty and cursing with no results for his effort.
If every cloud does have a silver lining though, this one was that I wasn't far from home and as it was in the afternoon, a very nice man and his van from my local tyre garage attended complete with air gun and put the spare on for me, allowing me to then follow him back to the garage where I duly purchased a new tyre. Happy days.
So, faultless so far? Almost. One fault has reared its head but it is very minor. If filling up with less than half a tank (around 50 Euros) the fuel gauge doesn't register it and stays where it was. No amount of tapping it, enthusiastic driving, cleaning the earth points or disconnecting and reconnecting the battery moves it. However, fill it right up to the brim and it registers the new amount instantly.
So I either have to always brim it on filling up, or drive by the trip meter and accept I may one day get caught out and run out of fuel. Given that a full fill up is between 100 and 110 Euros from almost empty, I just keep it topped up to avoid any such guessing games. It's managing between 24- and 28mpg (11.8- to 10.1 litres/100km) so far, not bad for a 2.0- litre V6 rear-drive saloon and I never expected to see over 30mpg (9.4 litres/100km).
Another issue is that the CD changer has taken a vacation - one it will not return from. It's beyond repair as it is to do with the mechanism apparently. But a few quid on a transmitter for the trusty iPod still ensures I can have the premium sound system deliver my tunes. Plus there is always the radio of course.
Other than that, it continues to perform faultlessly and transport me in comfort wherever I go. With a trip to the UK on the horizon for a family wedding I should take a reliable, spacious, refined and sensible car for the journey, but that would be boring wouldn't it?
In a few weeks time I could be reporting from a silver Clio on the hard shoulder of the M6 in England through bitter tears and gritted teeth. Now where did I put that warning triangle?