Keeping An Old Car Alive

Regular readers may remember that I was concerned about a squeaking noise coming from my car as I drove along. I was going to get it checked, but it went away. I still needed to have it checked, but what with trips back and forth to the Vet with Ollie, and frenzied decluttering at home taking up so much time, I forgot about it.

On Monday, I was going to the supermarket in my car when a new noise appeared.

This time it was a scraping sound much worse than before, and sounded sinister.

By the time I got home with the shopping, the scraping sound had changed to a grinding noise. Time to phone the repair company.

Although my car is 14 years old in June, it has reasonably low mileage for that age, (78,000) is an economical diesel capable of 50 miles to the gallon, and drives very well still. I cannot afford to replace it with anything newer that is remotely similar, with it’s roomy interior, 7-seat option, and 6-speed automatic gearbox.

So I have to keep it alive, by choking back the cost of constant repairs.

I booked a ‘brake check’ at a local company for Wednesday morning. I was up early, and arrived ten minutes before they opened, so my car would be one of the first to be worked on. I sat and waited while they did the check, to save Julie getting up early to collect me and drive me home.

After 45 minutes, the brake specialist came and got me, and took me to where the car was up on a ramp, all 4 wheels off. He showed me the problems.

A failed brake caliper on the back wheel had caused the disc to warp, which would have made the squeaking sound.
The other back wheel was doing all the rear braking, so the disc on that wheel was worn thin.
One pad had worn away completely on one of the front wheels, causing scarring on the disc.
The pads on the other front wheel were still legal, but worn down low.

He offered me various options.

1) Just enough work to make the car legal for now.
2) Replacement of the warped disc, and broken caliper, leaving the other damaged disc for later attention.
3) He could put all the wheels back on and give me back my car with no work done, and no charge for his time.
4) Replace every worn part with a guarantee to replace any new parts he fitted, should they fail within 12 months.

I went with option 4, and returned to the waiting room to read the hardback book I had brought along.

Almost 4 hours later, I had read all but the last chapter of the book. The caliper was not in stock, so there was a delay until it was delivered by a local company.

Then, work completed, he reversed the car outside the reception room, ready to come in and talk to me. As he did so, the glass in the driver’s door mirror fell out onto the tarmac and smashed. I shook my head, but actually smiled.

You couldn’t make it up.

The price for almost 5 hours of work, new brakes all round, and that expensive caliper? £619. ($840)

Or about half of what I could get for it if I sold the car for cash.

As for the mirror glass, I bought one off Ebay for £5. It arrives next week.

76 thoughts on “Keeping An Old Car Alive

    1. When I had new cars in the past I never had to concern myself too much about repairs, as I traded them in before anything happened. Having the same car for so long has been an eye-opener for me, Pete.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Good luck with your car – may it run for many more miles.
    We’re still happily thinking of our “Old Faithful”, Mary’s F-150 truck which she bought at 76.000 miles, used it with only regular check-ups and minor repairs till it had 212.000 miles on the odometer, and then was still able to sell it for $1.700.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I would have chosen option 4 too. That sounds like a decent chap who worked on your car? For a horrible moment I thought I was going to read that as the car was backed out someone drove into it! Glad it was only a £5 mirror!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. (1) It’s a good thing you don’t live in a mountainous region. “Honey, are you sure that squeaking noise is coming from a bunch of roadside chipmunks?”
    (2) My old truck has 209,000 miles on the odometer. Considering how much I’ve abused the truck on desert off-roads, it’s amazing it’s still in one piece! (Although that one piece is composed of many parts. Go figure.)
    (3) Option 5: The Thelma & Louise solution.
    (4) “Mirror, mirror on the car, who’s the luckiest bloke by far?” (And the mirror crack’d.)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I drive a 2007 Honda CRV and have done little to it over the years. My wife’s car is a 2018 CRV and has been in the dealer repair shop 4 times for things that should have never failed. I plan to keep my old buggy going and when the time arrives, will have a memorial service. New cars in the US are hard to come by now, and if you can buy one you pay about 30 percent more. Last year, gasoline was $1.87 in Texas, yesterday, $3.20. The world has gone crazy town.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ugh. Car maintenance! I have 204,000 miles on my Volvo and at this point with all the shortages, Iwill pay what is necessary to keep it least you are safe on the road now, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I like older cars myself as well….My Ford Focus is giving up and we now are left with a 2002 Toyota Echo….and it is getting tired as well….I fear we will be looking for a newer car soon….so I sympathize with you….good luck chuq

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I believe in keeping up an older car. People with newer cars, still have to replace brakes etc. I had a 1996 Honda Civic which I bought second hand in 2000. When I moved to Spain I gave it to my daughter who still drives it. It will be 22 years old by now! Every now and again she sends me a picture of it just so I know she is looking after it. I like that the repair shop gave you options.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a branch of Kwik-Fit, but the service there far exceeds the usual reputation of that company, Darlene.
      Glad to hear the old Honda is still going. They are usually very reliable cars.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Our MOT guy pointed out that the rear disks needed doing, which by all accounts means you need new pads as well, but then we discovered that the wheel bearings are part of the disk assembly. It was the first bill we have had from the garage that made me sit down 🙂 At least the labour was still less than the parts. Had to laugh at the glass falling out.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I’ve never “owned” a new car, Pete, and I guess, barring unexpected windfalls, I never will. It’s impossible to know whether buying a new car & then running it while it still has a decent resale value could work out cheaper than running an older car with the inevitable regular repair costs, but on balance, I’m content running an older car. I was sad to have to part with my Volvo 850 estate, but it wasn’t cheap to run and I now don’t need a huge load capacity, so my 66k+ mile Fiat Punto should hopefully do me for a few more years yet: I wouldn’t even consider selling it as a runner, because it’s probably worth peanuts anyway. If we had a good public transport option in my area, I could probably manage without a car, but we don’t. Cheers, Jon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We could manage with just my wife’s car, were it not for having Ollie. She bought a new car (outright) in 2015, a Hyundai i20. It has been reliable, never failed an MOT, and cheap to tax and insure. But it is not big enough to move Ollie around comfortably. When we no longer have a dog, I suspect I will just give my car away for free to a relative or friend.
      Best wishes, Pete.


  10. oh, the mirror was just the icing on the cake! I guess you have to look at it as the money spent was still cheaper than having a new car payment and if you buy used, you may just inherit new problems. glad you had it taken care of so you’ll be safe, but painful at the moment of the bill.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Beth. Just buying a very cheap ‘basic car’ would cost at least £300 a month, for up to four years. This way, I keep my options open, especially as I don’t use my car that often.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Autumn last year I was misdirected down a very narrow, treelined lane in Suffolk by Google Maps. I hit a tree with my passenger wing mirror which dislodged, final repair cost (2nd hand replacement) £200.00. Subsequently discovered that the tree had also deeply scraped and dented an area about 3 feet long above the passenger side doors of the car. This, unless repaired, basically writes my car off insurance wise, any way, I have found a guy who can ‘discreetly’ repair it for £500. Thanks Google . . !

        Liked by 1 person

  11. My front brake discs has to be replaced and a new caliper as it had seized up a couple of years ago. I also had the squealing noise. Doesn’t help that my car is outside all year. Going to have a new bonnet catch fitted next week as that keeps rusting up and I can’t open the bonnet to fill the windscreen washer! Always something. Like yours my car is 14 this May. Around 68000 miles.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It does feel like just sticking small plasters over a larger wound, but what other choice do we have, other than to use up all our savings? They have to be held back for any serious repairs on the house, to keep a roof over our heads.
      Best wishes, Pete. x


        1. Houses have to come first, but you are more remote than we are, and at least we have the option of Julie’s car. Septic tanks can be troublesome, I have had friends who had serious issues with those. x


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