2007 — Day 94 - the Toyota's turn in the barrel

Why must we have our little toy car put through its 12-months-or-10,000-miles "service" (i.e., charge us an arm and a leg for changing its oil and possibly a filter or two) when we've had it for seven months and it's driven a total of 5,300 miles? "Well, sir, it would mean rescinding the manufacturer's warranty, you couldn't demonstrate a full service history, and that would negatively impact the resale value of the vehicle" (or some such anodyne gibberish). Heck, the thing only cost about sixpence by comparison with some we've had... Surely they serviced it before delivering this ex-demonstrator with less than 2,000 miles on it to us? It seems not.

So far we've had, from new, a Skoda,1 three Hondas, a Mercedes, and a BMW Mini Cooper S. Not one of them has yielded a pleasing "resale value". I'm not even sure such a weird beast exists in Britain.

  1. Let's see. The Skoda (remarkably similar to a Hillman Imp) tended to return from its services with its battery caps unattached and its perishing hoses not replaced. Plus I had to equip it with an electronic ignition to counteract the effects of its outside life.
  2. We had six or seven years trouble-free motoring with the first Honda, until water pumps and alternators finally persuaded us to part with it. (I was quite sentimentally attached to it as I'd paid for it with a freelance book in the late 1970s.)
  3. A rear light on the second (stylish but woefully under-powered) Honda persistently filled with water over our 20 months with it. Any quarter-competent design engineer (such as me, for random example) should have been able to predict this from observation of the design and placement of the drip tray around the boot lid.
  4. The third Honda was completely trouble-free for its six years plus until a madwoman who clearly had trouble with the concept of parallel parking twice smashed into it with her husband's company car in the Asda carpark. We just didn't like being in it after that despite doubtless competent repairs.
  5. Next, the baby Merc. We were invited by Mercedes to "go halves" with them on the cost of replacing a corroded half shaft joint as they sort-of admitted it was a design fault that had since been rectified — it must have been our fault for buying the damn thing too early. (This was the model that so spectacularly initially failed the "elk" test. Its much stiffened suspension made for a ride that was a good bit harsher than the average Mercedes advert tends to suggest.) Too many bits fell off, or didn't fit properly. Or rattled.
  6. As for the BMW, it got off to a sad start when a clown rear-ended us at some lights within a few weeks. But basically all it did wrong was to ooze fluid(s) incontinently onto the garage floor. Plus, to be honest, it was a damnably thirsty car and not cheap to insure. So, much as we loved its horsepower (and there were 163 or so of the horses to love) with the advent of retirement-based fiscal responsibility, it had to go. Mind you, it's the first time we traded in a car and left the garage with a cash surplus in Her pocket.

Now Toyota are basically implying that their baby little car is so well-engineered that it needs checking at half the elapsed time and/or mileage regardless. A terrible feeling of déjà vu descends, all over again.

ERNIE has smiled on me again

£50 again, for the second month in a row. That's more "Wow" than you get from Vista, surely?

Avoid New Mexico

Just been listening to an item on NPR about "pay day loans", focusing on one of the poorest states, New Mexico. The average time to clear these is two months / four pay periods, but the average interest rate is over 550%! Lenders argue that any attempt by politicians at capping these interest rates (I think I heard a suggested ceiling of 36%) would mean lenders themselves also needing such loans to pay their own bills. The mind boggles. Mr Bush, meanwhile, is about to send a nearly three trillion dollar budget to Congress, including "many billions" for continued war costs. (Actually 245 billion.) Can we say "What a waste?"

Back in Koestler coincidence territory

My spooky Foobar music player just chose to play me Tom Lehrer's "Send in the Marines" (from the album That was the year that was) but then went way over the top with its next choice: Orbital's "Sad but true" from Snivilisation. I'm going out for some fresh air!

5 February 2007  


1  Stop that unkind sniggering. You can see Christa's graduation present here. (She turned down a used "Portia" in favour of a new roomy two-seater that was surprisingly nippy.) Despite being less than a year old, it was valued at all of £800 (as much as a house deposit at the time) by the UK Customs people the first time we drove into the UK in it after getting married.
"Anything to declare, sir?"
"A few wedding gifts."
"And what about the car, sir?"