What should have been a simple winter service on a Rover 75 proves to be rather more complicated…
The legendary Rover 75, with its smooth, sleek styling, not too big, inviting interior and quiet refinement, can often be the perfect antidote to the usual Mondectra class of car. Used values of some the earlier metal such as the W-plate examples are rock bottom and these can be bought for well under a grand – often in perfect running order too. Very much a flawed gem, the 75 for me still looks the part out on the road, especially in the right colour. Obviously, there is some crud out there, but the same pitfalls apply with any used car you choose.
The K-Series powered 1.8 models are reknowned for being a tad fragile with gaskets, but a well sorted, decent spec Rover 75 1.8 can make perfect sense as a used buy with its revvy natured-engine and ease of servicing thanks to a timing belt that takes a few hours rather than a few years to change, unlike its KV6-engined siblings. Performance wise, it will never set the world on fire but, use it as a distance car, and you will pleasantly be surprised with its fuel economy.
In all fairness, most 1.8 75s have by now been through the pain barrier and many which have received a new, upgraded head gasket go on to give many miles of smiles to bargain conscious owners. Where the wheels fall off so to speak, is when you skimp on the routine servicing and maintenance. Rover cars, along with many other brands such as Saab and most of the French kit, will and do turn round and bite you in the pocket if you try to run them on a shoestring. I’ll bet you 10 bob that many cars found in the breakers’ yards are dead because their previous owners never bothered or couldn’t afford to service them.
Scrapped for the sake of a pint of oil – often such is the case!
A panic drive to a nearby breaker’s yard to source a plug lead thanks to the complete incompetence of my local branch of Hellfrauds eventually cured the stuttering 75. The rest of the service went without a hitch and the car was dispatched to its rightful (and chuffed to bits) owner.
Anyway, the moral of this story is:
Not everyone is blessed with mechanical aptitude – obviously the previous mechanic on this car was a buffoon and had charged the hapless owner £35 for a set of what apeared to be secondhand spark plugs and £20 for plug leads that had never been changed. Referrals are what its all about: if you can’t or are simply not able to service your own car, ask a friend or relative for a trusted garage or mobile mechanic. There are loads of them out there and many have no need to advertise.
DON’T: Skimp on your servicing and, if you use a mobile mechanic or independent garage, don’t feel tight by offering to supply your own parts – many take this option and you may even save a few bob too!
DON’T: Feel embarrassed to ask to see the old parts as any decent Technician worth his salt won’t bat an eyelid – trust me!
DO: Ask the Techician or Workshop Manager to explain exactly what has been done by showing you under the bonnet before you pay the bill.
A stamp in the Service Book is worth nothing without paperwork backing it up as well.
The only person who gains from cutting corners on servicing and preventative maintenance is the man who owns the breaker’s yard!