I’m fortunate enough to write that I’ve only ever suffered two instances where a car of mine has, as Rolls Royce famously put it, failed to proceed. The first was when the coil went on my Mini and the second was when my XR4x4 ripped a tie-rod through a decaying bush.
Now, that’s not to say I’ve never been in a situation where recovery may have been the appropriate fix — I’ve bump-started my own car while having to push and hold the battery cable in place at the same time, I’ve vibrated an hour down the M6 with a driveshaft universal joint failure, and… well… there’s worse I don’t feel too comfortable talking about in the public arena.
I have recovery cover. I keep my card with me on all journeys, and I have the number stored in my phone. I admit I’ve been lucky, but I’ve also been resourceful, hence why these days I carry more stuff in my trunk than a WRC support vehicle. That said, a lot of how we act in these situations comes down to how we operate at our core.
During the last Men In Sheds vlog, a Barn Tune episode where we replaced the turbo in Andrew’s Wagon-R, we ventured out to conduct a road test and collect some pizza. We were far too pre-occupied with the pizza. We left his home with hot tea in our bellies but no fluid checks and barely a once over of the engine bay. We took nothing with us. No oil. No water. No tools. Plus, we of course ventured out into the sticks grinning into the camera like we were invincible. We didn’t realise that our comments celebrating the Wagon-R “Moving under its own steam” would foreshadow what was about to happen. Continue reading Flight Or Fight — Our Human Response When Our Cars Break Down
So, as some of you may know, Andrew’s Wagon-All-The-Rs decided it didn’t want to have a turbo anymore and turned the turbine impeller into a waste disposal unit. In this Barn Tune vlog, we finish up the replacement of the turbo, give a lecture on turbocharging in general, and breakdown during the test drive.
Volvo, one of the coolest car brands ever in our opinion. We shine the spotlight on their altruistic pursuit of safety and practical implementation of power. After those niceties, we say our piece about the GT86/BRZ and the constant argument about lacking power for a new segment we’re calling Riddle Me This. We have another new segment for you too, Highway Humbuggery, with the topic of just who is right when it comes to the dreaded lane merge. As for the future, well it’s looking a little bleak as our rights to own and maintain a car may be eroding away faster than an old Rover on a wet salted b-road.
This is a new segment we hope to be doing more of. We get angry, you see? We get angry about cars. It’s because we care. And we rant, oh how we rant. And when we rant, we like to go on a little drive to blow off some steam. This coincided with us needing to go pick up Andrew’s latest vehicle – a lawn tractor. What’s got our manties in a twist at the moment? Well, a few things but mainly the Fiat Fullback pickup truck which is a poor showing from the usually creative and exciting FCA.
During our last episode of Men In Sheds, we covered the topic of car finance and why, what looks like hedonistic automotive freedom, is actually a horrible trap that locks you into a brand. I have to admit complete ignorance to this world before Andrew and I sat down for a cup of tea the week before and he explained it all to me.
I’m not a foolish man with money, not any more. However, when I left school, I was financially illiterate, and I think many of us are. I left college in 1998, walked into my first job, and was on the initial wave of the easy loans and credit card bombardment phase of that era. I made a lot of terrible financial decisions which I’ll get back to later in this piece.
It’s easy to skip around high-fiving each other about the electric car revolution. We finally get to enjoy driving without feeling like Mr Burns again. Sadly, for every business person who sees a chance to change the world, there’s ten more who spy an opportunity to fleece us. Oil, as environmentally unfriendly as it is, does come with the benefit of effectively being “open source”. Electricity isn’t like that and there’s all kinds of sneaky ways we think car manufacturers can abuse the charging networks they own to further their monopolies.
We know that feeling when you look at all the hard earned your car is sucking out of your bank account and you wander by a dealer forecourt telling you a few bob a month will see you in something new. Stop right there. We explain why car finance is a trap and play a little game of “Here’s what you could’a bought” which should have you running to the classifieds ready to invest in a classic.
Look, we’re going to come clean here, we haven’t had time to do our history homework for this episode, so we’ve relegated to telling a few stories from our automotive past. We’re calling this segment Backfired since this isn’t just stupid car stories anymore. We’ve got a few tall tales from random suspension failures while hoofing down lanes to being in a police car chase with the roles completely reversed.
We know that feeling when you look at all the hard earned your car is sucking out of your bank account and you wander by a dealer forecourt telling you a few bob a month will see you in something new. Stop right there. We explain why car finance is a trap and play a little game of “Here’s what you could’a bought” which should have you running to the classifieds ready to invest in a classic. Before we get into that though, we reminisce a little with a new segment of Backfired and flash forward to a possible dystopian future of manufacturer charging networks.