Angelic Paranoia

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Sunday 27th January 2019 7:50 pm

I now have my new car and I have driven it. I want to say that I like that it starts when I turn the key, except that it's a button, not a key, and because it's a hybrid when I press the button it's silent. It starts up the petrol engine when it needs to, which it did when stationary the first day I had it, because I couldn't work out how to turn the heating off (after pressing all the buttons I discovered it was the one marked 'off'). At one point it frightened the life out of me when I got out to check that the lights were on and not the fog lights or anything else and it started up just after I got out of the car.

I like that you can move the seat up. So I can now sit up straight enough to get the sun behind the sun visor in the mornings. And the lights of cars coming towards me aren't so blinding. I feel like I'm driving a 4x4. And have a tendency to hit my head on the sun visor.

It has a lot of gadgets, most of which I haven't used yet because I'm still getting to grips with the driving and the heating. The driving especially, because it's an automatic. I was fine the first day, but ever since whenever I want to put it in any gear I end up in neutral. I'm very glad the screen tells me what gear I'm in because I keep wondering why I'm not moving. And my instinct after putting it in reverse is to go upwards (for first gear) and then end up in park (which also means the car doesn't move).

When they redesigned the car they made it 20cm longer, which is in the boot. Although given that there's less space between the front and back seats, I don't know where the rest of the length went. I have, however, managed to make the boot smaller. In my old car there was a part of the boot that lived above the main boot that meant it was all flat if you put the seats down. Since the new car was the same width, and the old car was only going to be recycled, I took it out of the new car. It does fit, but not quite as well, so you have to be a bit careful about where you put stuff. Which ends up in having less space overall.

But I have less in the car. I found a lot of stuff in there I didn't know I had. I remember what the sellotape was for (making sure the headlights stayed attached after a pheasant flew out in front of me) but I have no idea why there was blu tack in the car. I don't remember ever needing to blu tack anything in either of my previous cars.

After buying a new car for the first time, I am going back to second hand after this. It's just such a lot of faff, whereas buying second hand is so much easier. And I feel like it's a bit posh for me. I miss having a bottom of the range, doesn't do anything fancy car (as much as I liked listening to the tennis on 5 Live Sports Extra on the way to work this week).

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Monday 7th January 2019 10:20 pm

I have solved all my car problems (and I realised I have four things about it that aren't quite right) by buying a new car. It's the same as my old car, only newer and a model up. And still red, of course (I have found that it's not just me who finds having a red car makes me invisible on the roads, but how can I have a car that's not red?). Which is about the only thing I didn't compromise on when I bought it.

Toyota seem to have decided, in updating their cars, to make them 20 cm longer. That 20cm is in the boot, which is fine. But then to make up for that they made it so the back seats don't go forwards. And I think they made it so there's less leg room in the back, but it's hard to tell because I test drove a car where you could raise the front seat, so then I had to have it further back. I really wanted a car where I have to move the seat all the way forward, but it seems that the only way to do that is to buy a car for tall people, in which case I can't reach the pedals. Or chop my legs off, but that seems a bit drastic.

They have removed a lot of storage from inside the car. According to the salesman this is to accommodate air bags. A comparison of the car I sat in and my car tells me this is completely and total rubbish. The trouble is that I have a lot of stuff in the car. On the other hand, I might not need it all in there. I opened a compartment I hadn't opened for ages and found, among other things, an ice scraper. I own four ice scrapers, in various sizes. Last winter I used one once to remove snow off my car. I think it's safe to say I don't need four of them. Especially as the new car will have heated wing mirrors. Although I have no way of knowing if they ever work because I haven't seen my wing mirrors with ice on them since before I moved to a house with a garage.

I have got a hybrid. They are more expensive, but you save on petrol. I reckon by the time it dies I should break even on that... Annoyingly hybrids only come in automatic (which are completely unintuitive to drive - and since the left foot isn't doing anything, why not have some controls down there? It would be the perfect place for the radio volume controls). The only thing that reconciled me to the automatic is some research that tells me that's how hybrid/electric cars are going, so by the time I need another new car manual won't be an option any more, so it won't matter that I've forgotten how to drive it.

And it's a 1.5. I currently have a 1.0 which is enough power 99% of the time. It's possible I won't notice the extra power because I've never had a car which can pass a lorry while going up a hill on the dual carriageway, so I'll probably forget that it's a possibility with the new one. Although in the new car I won't be able to go down to fourth gear to try it. (The more I think about it the more crazy it is that there's nothing for my left foot to do)

The hardest thing to figure out will be the lack of CD player. I had to compromise on that to get a digital radio (for 5 Live Sports Extra tennis listening purposes) and more important a digital speedometer (and not to end up with a car that felt like a downgrade from my last one. I tend to listen to all the Big Finish CDs (and sometimes some music CDs) in the car. The new car does have a USB port, so I can always put whatever I want to listen to on my mp3 player, if it doesn't work with my iPod. But I have a load of CDs hanging around and I like the CDs. Even if they take up space, I still like them. But when I get round to getting rid of my old computer I'll only have two CD players in the house (and I did look into plugging a CD player into the USB port of the car and it can't be done due to lack of power).

(I know I need to do a Never Seen Star Wars post for this month, but I'm still deciding what it should be - and have spent a lot of my free time lately researching cars).

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The wing mirror cover saga
Sunday 9th December 2012 9:40 pm

I purposely didn't post for a week and after last weekend I spent it feeling that I was missing something.

Having resolved the saga with my car's wing mirror cover, I thought I'd post yet another example of bad customer service here.

The passenger side wing mirror cover dropped off my car, due to too many times hitting it against the garage wall when I didn't fold the wing mirrors back. Given that number of cars I've seen with missing wing mirror covers I thought they'd be as easy to get as hub caps. But no. Or not for my car, at least.

So I gave up and rang the dealership. This was back in September. They had to order one in and were insistent that I had to come in within fourteen days of the wing mirror cover coming in, but they promised they'd ring when it arrived.

After three weeks I realised it had been three weeks, but never quite got round to ringing them back. Then in October, they rang me about the recall that was out on my car. So I thought this would be an opportunity not to have to go to the dealership twice - it is just over half an hour's drive away. At the end of the phone call they asked if there was anything else they could do while I was there, so I mentioned the wing mirror cover and promised to sort it out.

Because I could only go in on a Saturday it was a few weeks before I could get an appointment. I intended to ring a week before I went in to make sure they'd definitely got a wing mirror cover, except then I had laryngitis, so I thought I'd hope they'd done as they said.

When I went in there they had a note about the wing mirror cover. After about two hours of sitting around they'd finished, and they included a visual inspection. One of the things they flagged up on the inspection was the lack of wing mirror cover... To which my reaction was something along the lines of "But you've just put one on there" and they had no idea what I was talking about.

I managed to establish that they didn't have one, but they could order it and I could come in and pick it up. I didn't particularly want to go back again, and the receptionist tried to suggest I could 'pop in'. Yeah, a 30 minute drive is not poppping in. I suggested they could post it to me and she wasn't keen, but a bloke in the back said they could do that. So I left them to it.

This time they rang me to extract money and post it. It arrived not long later and I happily went to put it on my car... and discovered it was the driver's side wing mirror cover. When I rang them up they were like, "Oh, that'll be £40." To which I told them that I was not paying for a wing mirror cover that wasn't the one I'd asked for three times.

Eventually he agreed that if I came in with the wing mirror cover and proof that I asked for a passenger side one, they'd exchange it. I made him check they had one, which they did. But I could only come in on a Saturday. He tried to tell me they were open until 5.45pm on weekdays, but given that I finish work at 5.30pm and it's a 40 minute drive away not in the rush hour, that wasn't going to work. So I told them I when I was going to come in.

I finally went to pick it up yesterday. And when I went in they said they didn't have one... I insisted I'd been told different and told them when I spoke to someone. They went off for ages and came out with one! Which they then stuck on for me, which by that point I was thinking "I should hope so too."

I'd charge them for my phone calls, petrol and general waste of time, but I don't have the energy and it won't do any good.

My parents have the same make of car as me and say their local dealership is better, so it's not all of them, just my local one. So when I next need a new car in the distant future, I won't be getting it from my local dealership, if I end up choosing one of the same make.

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More fun with the car
Saturday 17th November 2012 6:25 pm

Although this is with the dealership this time. I had to take it in because it was being recalled - the driver's side mirror switch could become sticky, and if you clean it it could melt. Apparently this has happened to someone in Europe, but none of the cars they'd checked at my local dealership have that fault. Of course I say local, but they're actually 35 minutes drive away, so despite their insistence that this is free, it actually cost me quite a bit in petrol. And the whole of my morning sitting around while they did it.

A while ago, my cover of my wing mirror fell off. You'd think they'd be easy to find on places like ebay, but they're not. So I resorted to ringing the dealership, who said they'd order one in and were very insistent that I had to come and collect it within 14 days of it being in and they'd ring me when it was in. That was about three months ago.

So when they rang me to book in this recall, I mentioned the wing mirror cover. I intended to ring them last weekend to check they were definitely getting it, but I didn't have a voice to ring with. But when I got there I noticed they had a note of it, so I was confident that when I got my car back it would have a wing mirror cover on it.

After they did the recall they also did a general spot check and pointed out to me that the wing mirror was missing a cover...

They promised they'd get it and I could just 'pop in' to pick it up. A 35 minute drive is not a 'popping in' distance. The receptionist wasn't too keen on the idea of posting it to me, but fortunately there was a man in the back who said it was fine. So now I am waiting to see if if it's third time lucky and they actually order it this time.

Amusingly (if you're not me) when I went to go home I found the man who had parked my car had put the hand brake on so hard I had to use two hands to take it off. It was on a very slight slope, but I can guarantee it didn't need to be on that hard.

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An expensive lesson
Friday 16th November 2012 8:24 pm

On Monday evening when I came back from the shops I turned on the inside light in my car so I could see to take the CD out. I thought to myself, "I must remember to turn the light off". Then, when I was shutting the garage door I thought I could see a light in there, but decided I was imagining it. On Thursday evening I went to get the car out and there are no prizes for guessing what happened next.

The long(er) story of what happened next was that I called the RAC this morning and they sent someone, who got the car started and the battery charging. And checked the oil - it's apparently a standard thing they do that they offer to check it. Except that after a while of charging the battery and him staring at it with a torch he announced that the battery was looking weak.

He said that their life is typically five to seven years, but not driving much lessens that and draining it twice doesn't do it much good. My car is five and a half years old. He said that it would be ok for a bit, but might go later. And then said the RAC could sell me one.

Now, this all could be a load of rubbish in order to sell me a battery. But so far the RAC have seemed trustworthy, I'd much rather not have my battery randomly die one day, but ultimately I thought handing over £80 I wasn't expecting to spend might teach me not to do it a third time. So my car now has a shiny new battery in it.

I've now called the RAC out five times. Twice to my old car where it was actually broken and three times to my new car where I'd broken it. At least I've justified paying them!

Also, they currently have a deal where if I invite someone to join them they give me and them £25 M&S vouchers. So in the unlikely even that you want to change your breakdown cover to RAC, let me know.

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The saga of my tax disc holder
Wednesday 9th February 2011 9:49 pm

My car came with a tax disc and a round thing stuck to the dashboard, which it sat in. Which I only took any notice of once, when I had to change the tax disc. It did look like it was starting to come off the windscreen, and I thought I should probably do something about it, but that was as far as it got.

At Christmas, my car was last in the drive, so I ended up driving Dad up the road (and I needed to put petrol in it anyway). He remarked on the tax disc holder and I ended up buying a magnetic one in Asda. We then spent ages in the car park attempting to get it to stay on the windscreen with the tax disc in. The back stayed on perfectly happily if there was no tax disc inside it, but that's not really very helpful.

So I took it back, got my money back and Dad stuck the old one back on the windscreen. Where it stuck much better. So I made a mental note to buy a new one at some point, but while it was well stuck on, I'd leave it there.

It was fine until a couple of weeks ago when I heard a strange noise from the left side of the car. When I reached Tescos car park, which had lights, I discovered this was because the tax disc holder had fallen onto the dashboard. It was ten minutes after Halfords closed (of course). Tesco couldn't provide me with a tax disc holder, but Sainsburys could. And the original tax disc holder stayed on reasonably well until the next day anyway.

The next day, I took the old one off and put the new one on. Everything was fine until the day after, when I got to my car in the morning to find the tax disc holder on the floor. I took that one back to Sainsburys and got my money back and bought one from Halfords. Which has been fine. And cheaper than the other two...

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