Words and photography: Mike Humble
You know, it’s really nice when people stop and comment on your car, even better when someone takes a leaf from your book as t’wer and takes the plunge with a similar car. Another one of those local residents you don’t know the name of – you know the sort, the ones you simply nod with acknowledgement in passing, rolled up at the top of the drive in an immaculate 53-plate Rover 75 Club SE Turbo and pips the horn while I was mowing the lawn.
It transpires that ever since I have purchased mine, he has passed it every day on his way to and from work giving an admiring glance. He introduced himself as Richard and explained that his ’09-plate Audi had dined out on its turbocharger without warning one evening taking the engine along too as desert.
Working just up the road at Gatwick, it made no real difference towards petrol or diesel so he decided to purchase the aforementioned Rover from a local trader, seemed smitten with the full dealer service history and hammered the guy down to an agreeable fee. He merely stopped to ask me what were they like to own and run long term and would I be interested in servicing said chariot.
Always keen to stay in the pink with ciggies and drink, I gladly offered my services as and when they would be required, besides, the petrol 1.8 75 is a darling to service and the 160bhp turbo version is such a lovely car to navigate, delivering a seamless belt of torque in an uncanny stress free manner akin to a SAAB Ecopower plant.
Just before he trundled away, and in true Columbo style (just one more question sir) he asked about his heater & aircon. Is this normal for my air vents to get so dusty? – he quipped, and peering into the classy cabin I soon took a guess there was no pollen filter fitted. He went on to remark that his service history showed a pollen filter change just six months ago – or more to the point, the box was ticked on the sheet. Asking if he had few minutes spare, I quickly unclipped and unscrewed the plastic cover underbonnet an lo and behold… there was no pollen filter. Often as not, especially on company cars, the pollen filter never gets changed until there is barely any airflow through the vents – its a commonly known missed out item seen time and time again.
But this time, the filter had been taken out and left missing all for the sake of a few quid, granted the 75 pollen filter is a touch fiddlier than say a Vauxhall Vectra, but even still, to replace said part takes less than 15 minutes and for hay fever sufferers myself included, its a must have component. After a quick spin to the local factors, a replacement was purchased and the 75 was back on the road, chuffed to bits with the lightning speed service I offered, he stuffed 20 sovs into my paw and waved a cheery farewell to his residence some 50 yards away. But after he departed, my mind was pondering about how much volume of air came from his vents after the change of pollen filter compared to my own Rover. Now I never thought my car had an issue but there is certainly less airflow on mine than on his.
Again, the tools were out and I set upon liberating my own pollen filter which according the paper work, was changed just a month before my purchase. Well, after removing the covers the filter was there in all its glory with enough fluff, straw, leaves and bird feathers to build a dozen bird nests. back to Express factors where the chap behind the counter remarked at how popular the 75 pollen filter seems to be ‘just sold one of those to a guy in a motor same colour as yours not 45 minutes ago‘ he scoffed.
Of course I kept schtum about it being me who fitted it and handed over £15.27 of the realm and drove back home slightly deflated. A quick suck of the Dyson cleared out the filter box and the all important plenum drain was checked too with a garden pea stick – vitally important, allow the airbox to flood with water and the nearby engine and brake ECUs will suffer fatal damage
So all in all, full service history is one thing, that actually being the case is another. The wonders of the internet can even find you service sheets in PDF format that less scrupulous traders and indeed owners, can print off and fill out thus inflating used values or making a clunker seem more desirable. I have banged on about this before, but never be embarrassed to ask to see proof of the old components before handing your bunts over at the service desk.
And of course, a full service history is about as much value as yesterdays newspaper without those all important receipts for bills of sale. Alarmingly though, the garages that short change and overcharge the most tend to be the main franchise dealers – more so the larger dealer groups!
Mustn’t grumble though about my motor too much though, I now have a blower that really blows thanks to a crispy fresh pollen filter… and I’m still £4.73 better off than I was first thing this morning!