I'm feeling much better this week. Elated even. I shall explain.
While running an older car is always going to be fraught with some expense along the way (even if it is just a yearly service and consumables), buying a car for 300 has got to mean some expense in the near future surely?
The blue Fiat Cinquecento that I handed over 300 for has been performing well. So well in fact that I am going to keep it on the fleet and report on how it gets on. With this in mind I have set out to put right the few issues it has, ready for NCT time.
First - the knocking exhaust. Turns out the rubber mounting blocks are past it. These are just a few quid, or free if you have a Seicento with a duff gearbox cluttering up the drive... However, more worrying was the knocking sound coming from the passenger footwell, or front passenger side wheel on acceleration. The first mechanic I phoned after telling them the symptoms said it sounded like a driveshaft issue. But to be sure bring it down for them to look at, but next week as they were all booked up for now.
As I wanted to get it sorted so I can pre-book an NCT two months before the current one expires in December - and not wanting to do any further possible damage (not knowing exactly what this noise was) - I decided to see if another garage could do the work sooner. So I visited another in person and explained the symptoms and what the other mechanic had told me. They drove the car and then got it up on the ramp to have a look. After around ten minutes had passed he returned and told me it was the CV joint. But they could not do the work for a while as they were fully booked all week.
Now having two different possible diagnoses I visited another mechanic, just to be sure, and they said that it appeared to be a CV joint issue after describing the symptoms to him. So he ordered the part and it was booked in for two days' time. I also asked them to do the rubber brackets for the knocking exhaust while it was on the ramp. After leaving the car with them on the day, I got a call some hours later saying that the CV joint was fine. No issues with it whatsoever. However, there was a gearbox mount that was worn and the mechanic felt that could be making the noise. Quote for the mount plus fitting? 100 all in. The mechanic said that he had, at least, done the exhaust brackets.
So I was booked in again for the gearbox mount five days later. On driving home, I noticed the exhaust was still knocking. Once home I checked to find the furthest back rubber mount (the one most easily seen) had been replaced, albeit not by a brand new shiny one, but the others were still split and loose allowing the movement of the exhaust.
Feeling a little sceptical, cheated and untrusting I went to another garage. These lads spent around half an hour checking it over for me after telling them the tale of woe I had suffered. The car went up on the ramps on two occasions. In total two mechanics had a look over it, and a lengthy test drive was done. Every possibility of the noise was clearly explained to me, and I was also invited to see the components in question.
After thirty minutes or so, all was sorted. It was simply a lose engine mount. That was it. Noise gone. Cost? 30 for the time, expertise and use of the ramps. More than fair, and considering I would have paid 100 at another garage and still had the noise I was very happy.
If anyone needs an honest opinion of a mechanical issue, or work done at a fair rate, I would personally highly recommend the lads down at the Blarney Auto Centre in Cork - 021 438 1528. Having saved so much money and time thanks to their dedication, I duly ordered my tyres from them. Another surprise - just 45 each. Happy days!