Would you believe it, its been just over two years since I bought my Renault Safrane for £500 and there have been a few (expensive) visits to the garage. Stuff just starts to wear out after 15 years.
The car’s had new brake discs and pads – a new brake line and various sundries, not to mention a new centre exhaust and alternator (with associated tensioner). Admittedly some of the problems weren’t the car’s fault – like the rear suspension arm that snapped in half after some bright spark decided to tow something with a rope round said component. Why he didnt use the blindingly obvious towing cleat bulging like William Hague’s eye out of the rear bumper, is a question for the Darwin Award judges to answer. That guy’s stupidity almost killed me – if the arm had snapped at motorway speeds I wouldn’t be here.
Recently I have had two problems. The first a refusal to start or a sudden cut-out that was very intermittent – and as of two days ago a Kamikaze speedometer sensor (which takes out the fuel computer and mileometer).
After the car refused to start and stranded me in a supermarket carpark and then at my parents house I called out the AA. Long story short it was the relay controlling the fuel system was having age inspired blonde moments and switching the fuel pump off at random. He swapped it over with its partner and normal service was resumed.
However the location of these relays seems to indicate that Renault are again playing the great game…
Of Silly Buggers.
To get to them you have to take the ECU box and open it. Then you have to lever the ECU out – nestled in their own little cubbyhole are two five-pin 25A relays. Even the AA man couldnt find them after 20 minutes. If you didnt know they were there you would never find them.
Given that I knew one was suspect and I needed a replacement I asked at the local Renault dealer. Over £22 each. I went to the local electrical experts, T&M, and it was just over a tenner for two! I’ve gotten other parts for the car – a centre exhaust section from Poland £40, Renault wanted £140 + VAT. The brake parts averaged out at 55% cheaper and the majority were in Renault original parts boxes. The tensioner was £180 + VAT from Renault, £70 from a factor.
Why do we seem in this country to accept outright theft as long as its a company doing it? try to do a little honest thieving outside big business and/or government and you are on a hiding to a body bag.
Why are we, on the one hand, bewailing the state of the environment – whilst allowing scrappage schemes and manufacturers to turn vehicles into modern one ton iPhones. One component breaks, its either stupidly expensive (aka cost of manufacture + 420%) or its been ‘retired’.
A lot of people enjoy classic-ish cars like the 75 and Safrane or maybe an Alfa 164. Every single classic used as a daily driver means less pollution & resources wasted because one new car doesnt need to be made. I’ve met people who bought an Austin 16 in the 1930s and have driven it as their only car until recently. Is that going to happen with our modern cars? Unless we do something about it, no.
We are being gouged on fuel taxes to the tune of 70+% of pump prices. We are being gouged on spares to the tune of 300/400%. We pay a road tax yet the roads at the moment would have the driver of a Tiger II worrying about his suspension the potholes are so big – so of them are so large here they generate their own gravity. Insurance goes up 40% a year ‘cos we feel like it’ and the driver does….?
That of course is up to you but remember; every single penny gouged out of you with your tacit consent is money that won’t go into your savings, or towards your kid’s health, pleasure and welfare. Want a holiday? Not this year, you cannot afford it!
Still feel so happy about doing nothing…?
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.