A fresh set of wheels
Today represented something close to momentous in the Tidy household - we bought a new car!
Our new wheels
What unusual about that I hear you cry! Well, I have long subscribed to the "run them into the ground" school of thought when it comes to cars and I have driven my faithful old Mondeo far beyond anything I have driven before.
This car was my old fleet vehicle which I had from new, and bought from my employer at four years old with nearly 80,000 miles on the clock. My company decided to stop supplying cars and at the time it seemed easiest to simply pay them the £3,700 they were asking and run it for a year or so. I worked out that after a year my car allowance would have paid for the vehicle and then some - after which I would move onto something more interesting.
Well, the years passed and the Mondeo simply refused to die. True it cost me £900 for a new clutch after 6 months, but after that it was just bits and bobs going wrong and so I kept it. I was a bit uncertain as it passed through the 100,000 mile threshold, but then I figured it was worth nothing so lets see how far it goes.
We swapped this (nearly all the way to the moon)
And so it ran, and ran, and ran. However, over the last 12 months it has started to carry too many niggles, any one of which could signal the end. There is the odd drone between 60 and 70, the non functioning cooling fan which hasn't worked for over 3 years, the knocking suspension courtesy of Birmingham's many speed humps, the stereo which had a life of its own, the back seat belt which wouldn't undo (sometimes) and of course a multitude of dints from 12 years in the city. The killer was the power steering which had a new motor in the spring but this decided to stop working at far the end of its travel and frankly the car just wasn't worth another £200 bill.
End of the road for the Mondeo
That said, the engine was still running sweetly at 172,000 miles, the turbo still worked, if a bit noisily and the car still delivered nearly 60 mpg on a run and 48 mpg around town. Lets say it didn't owe me anything with a depreciation rate of £460 per year. Put another way, the car has carried me the equivalent of seven timed round the circumference of the world!
So we need a new car - but what to get?
The problem is the Wild Side business - the jam weighs a ton and the paraphernalia means we really need a van. We could have looked at another estate but Helen's back prefers a higher ride so we were into the S Max sort of territory. In the end we decided to return to a Zafira which manages to offer a huge and very versatile load space in a car which is of quite modest dimensions.
We had a Zafira before which didn't end exactly happily (timing chain failure) but that was a 2.3 petrol so we opted for the 1.7 diesel with the uprated power output. Perhaps more importantly it is bright red which satisfies Helen's main criteria!
I will be finishing work on 12th April after which we will drop to just the one car so hopefully this one with a mere 20,000 miles on the clock will be with us for at least 10 years.
I have to admit to being a bit sad to see the end of the Mondeo which commanded a trade in value of just £75! Its the first and probably the last time I will ever take a car out of the showroom and drive it all the way to the scrap yard.