Regular readers will already know that I’ve bought a £760 Ford Mondeo, with the intention of running it on Bangernomics principles. In other words, it’s a nice car that won’t cost a packet to run, and at which we’ll throw the absolute essential servicing items to keep it running to the best of its ability.
With 210,000 miles on the clock, our 2.0 Ghia Saloon is never going to be a classic car. It’s never going to be desired by anyone and, thanks to a couple of scrapes on its front wings, there’s no real desire to keep it polished and looking its best.
Thanks to Mike, it smells and looks nice in here now…
Despite that, after lending it to Mike Humble for a couple of weeks – while he was between cars – it came back a much improved car. Perhaps I should lend him all my cars. For one, the manky interior had been shampooed to within an inch of its life, so it’s soiled beige cloth seats now looked much more habitable.
But there was more…
Oh yes, those brakes and warning lights
When it headed towards leafy Horsham, the engine management warning light was glowering angrily from the instrument cluster. In addition to this, and as reported by Mike in his recent blog, the brakes were a cause for concern.
I’d already identified that the front discs were warped, but I wasn’t that concerned as they delivered oodles of stopping power, and they’d clearly been replaced quite recently. But when Mike got it home, he’d (rightly) decided that they needed changing in the interests of safety.
I picked up new discs and pads for him (dear at £130 all in, but there’s no reason why I’d skimp on safety) and, during a visit, passed them on. And that very weekend, he put them on – and the difference in the car was immediately clear. Now it stopped in a straight line – and didn’t threaten to put the driver in a spin. Nice work, Mike!
As for the engine management light, he plugged in his OBD reader and reset the warning. And since then it’s not returned.
And now it’s back in Rutland?
After his short tenure with Mike, the Mondeo is back with me. Don’t worry, he’s not carless, as there’s a very nice Rover 216 GSI on his drive as well as a 66-plate Vauxhall Insignia which he’s driving for Parkers. It’s ploughing the A47 on my commute to Peterborough, and it’s just fine. Forgettable, but fine.
Honestly, I have to say that it’s never felt better. The car truly belies that galactic mileage – there are no clunks, rattles or wobbles. It tracks straight and true, and when sitting on the motorway, it feels planted and secure. The service history paints a picture of a car that’s been supremely well maintained throughout its life, with bills stretching back to the point when it was new. I do wonder whether a TDCi diesel version would be so together and such a mileage – or whether it would have made it at all.
Not sure it was a taxi – it’s too unworn in here
The only thing I’m even vaguely concerned about is its seeming lack of power. It pulls well from about 4000rpm, but up to that point, it feels flat – a sensor or mapping issue. Or just a sign that its 2.0-litre Duratec engine is growing old gracefully. Certainly, there’s nothing wrong with its fuel consumption – Mike achieved 44mpg while he had it – and I’m getting around 40mpg.
The warped discs and dents are clearly recent, and point to its last owner, who decided that a cheap car needed to be treated like an, er, cheap car. A shame, that… Is there a plan for this car? Not really – I suspect that, as Bangernomics cars go, this one will perform the role perfectly. I might change the worn-out heated window buttons, though…
Will I keep it? Who knows? It’s a pleasure to own, and painless too. It’s no Rover 75, though. And it never will be…
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