When my car went boom!

Back in January 2011 I paid over £500 to get my 1997 Ford Fiesta to pass its MOT. This is a lot of money, and as it turns out more money than the car was worth. Even the mechanic was trying to convince me that it wasn’t worth it, I should just have the car scrapped and get a new one, but at the time I wasn’t prepared. I hadn’t had a look around, I didn’t know how much money I could scrape together, but I did know that I had £500 and that I needed a car to get to work everyday. So I got it fixed. I needed that car. That car was like my Herbie, my Bumblebee. I had owned it since about 2002 and we had been through a lot together, It even had a name, ‘RoOkar’.  The car had seen lots of girlfriends come and go, helped me move house a few times, carried my amps to gigs, never really let me down, and it went like grease lighting! Okay, okay, I know it was just a car but my point being, to me it was special.

So anyway, my car was now road worthy but I was aware that it was on its way out and this would be the year that I would have to start looking for a new car. I looked on the usual websites and glanced at the cars in the forecourt of garages, getting an idea of what I would buy next. I have always bought Fiesta’s in the past but I knew I wanted something bigger this time, so I set my sights on a VW Golf. I had always heard good things about Golf’s and so I then whittled down my options. Firstly as much as I would love a brand new car, I knew I couldn’t afford one. I didn’t like the idea buying anything on finance so I knew I had a budget to stick to. I didn’t want the car to be more than 7 years old. I wanted a 5 door car as I am planning on having the car for a while. 3 doors are nice but what if I have kids in the future? I could imagine trying to fit a child’s bumber seat in the back of a 3 door car would be a bit of a bitch. I would mainly use the car for getting to work and back and I knew that would pile on the miles so I thought it would need to be a diesel engine. I would want it to be quick so it would have to be a turbo diesel. I didn’t want to travel miles to buy it, I wanted it to be in at least a 20 mile radius from where I live, and I wanted it to be blue, as ‘RoOkar’ is blue (I know, I know the colour isn’t that important, but you know) so anyway, there was my list;

  1. VW Golf
  2. Less than £5k
  3. No more than 7 years old.
  4. 5 door
  5. TDi
  6. within 20 miles
  7. Blue

I did a search on http://www.autotrader.co.uk/ and the results…   ZERO.

I changed a few of my options and found a few cars but none of them really too my fancy. It didn’t really bother me, I was in no rush. I had just spent £500 on getting my car going, what would be the point of buying a new car now anyway. A few months went by. I would have another look, but again, nothing really took my fancy. Then in June 2011, I found it. A blue 5 door 2004 VW Golf 1.9 TDI SE for less than £5k just down the road. However, there was a problem. I had spent some of the money I had been saving up. I had bought myself an iPad 2, a few guitars, splashed out on things that I probably shouldn’t have. Could I still afford a new car? Probably not… But hey, there was no rush. I would just have to give up on the idea of buying that one.

I was still thinking of this VW Golf while driving to work one day in early July 2011. Maybe I could get the Golf on part exchange? I started to hear a little clicking noise coming from RoOkar. It was like the little Fiesta was tutting at me, like it knew I was thinking of getting rid him and replacing him with another. The noise got louder. I turned off the radio. The noise wasn’t coming from radio, it was coming from the engine. Then the car sounded like it was trying to transform but couldn’t. It also started shaking like it was trying to throw me out. All of sudden there was a bang and a huge cloud of smoke from the exhaust. The car stopped vibrating but was now cruising along, loosing power and leaving the smoke trail that started to cover the whole of the busy dual carriageway behind me.

It was either one of two things;

1.  My car after all these years was indeed a Transformer and had spotted a group of Decepticons on our trail. It was going to transform into a giant robot and kick some ass but was worried that I might die in the fearsome battle that followed and it so decided remain in its car form and fire out a smokescreen to cover our tracks while we slowed down to blend in with the other cars and hide from our Decepticon pursuers.


2.  My car was not a transforming robot but just a normal car. A normal car with a fucked engine, which was spewing smoke and slowly losing power.

As much as I wanted to my car to turn into a heroic Autobot and had to accept that it wasn’t and that I needed to get off dual carriageway as quick as possible as I was accident waiting to happen. By luck I was close to a junction and pulled to the side, the only issue was making it up the off ramp with the power it had. However it did it. It rolled to the top and died…

There was nothing more I could do. I phoned work to tell them what had happened. I phoned my roadside assistance and waited for them to arrive. I recorded an audioboo the pass the time, and phoned a garage…

“Hello, do you still have the blue, 5 door, 2004, VW Golf 1.9 TDI SE? ”  “you do?”   “That’s great, I might be over later today for a test drive.”

The roadside assistance arrived about 30 mins later and had a look. He confirmed my suspicions. It would need a new engine. We both agreed that this would be a waste of money. RoOkar was dead.  Now the question of where to take me and the car. There was no point him taking me and the car to work. If he drove me home, what would I then do with the car? I wouldn’t be able to drive it anywhere and it would probably cost me more money to then have it taken away so I asked to be taken to a scrap yard. I phoned ahead and they offered me £100 for it. £100 was better than nothing. He loaded the car onto the back of the truck. The only thing left on the road now was an oil stain. It was like the last drop of blood after RoOkar’s heart had exploded…

We drove to the scrap yard. Now normally the roadside assistance only drop you to the location you requested and that’s their job done, but the guy felt sorry for me and phoned his boss to ask if he could drop me home after the scrap yard. He said that was fine. The time at the scrap yard was brief, I just had to sign a few forms, while I was doing so the man from the roadside assistance had loaded all my personal belonging from my car to the truck (what a nice man). He then took me home, and helped me carry my belonging to the front door (again, what a nice man). After he left, I then had to plan my next move. Buying a car. I checked my bank balance and transferred all the money I had from savings accounts into my current account. I could buy the golf if I haggled. I then made my way to the garage to take the Golf for a test drive.

When I arrived the car salesman just handed me the keys and told me it was down near the end of a long row of cars. I could see a car poking out of the row, as if it was a little lost puppy trying to say “Hello, here I am! Please take me home”.  It drove like a dream and had lots of buttons and features, cruse control, automatic headlights, automatic windscreen wipers, alloy wheels as well as lots of things that most people are used to but I have never had in a car, electric windows, power steering, central locking. Even though the car was almost 7 years old it felt like a car from the future. Ok, there were a few little things that needed to be sorted, one of the interior door trims was slightly damaged, and latch of the glove box was broken, but these were just minor things that the garage said they would fix or replace. To me it was the perfect car. I had a chat with the salesman, got as much money as I could off the price of the car and the rest we say, is history! So meet RoOkar 2 or as I call him… Rolf the Golf!

Isn’t he cute!