Fleet update, August 2019

2002 SEAT Leon 20VT

I nearly sold the Leon last week, unexpectedly. A friend’s car died, and they were in a bit of a panic to find another. But they found something else (and truthfully, probably more suited to them), so the Leon stays. Which is fine, because it continues to run just fine.

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A display of failure

In the twenty years I have now been working on cars, I have achieved a good deal of success. Brake jobs, every bit of suspension, thermostats and water pumps, more intricate things like valve timing solenoids, and even cambelts – I have done them all and been able to make cars run and drive better. But automotive electrics remains one area I do not have a good working knowledge of, or much experience with, having only ventured into doing simple things, like repairing frayed wiring on a boot lid release.

Still, how are you going to learn if you don’t try? The radio display on my Subaru Outback has not worked since the day I bought the car. This has not bothered me, as I don’t use the radio, but instead use my phone to stream music through the Bluetooth setup the previous owner installed. But every now and then I get an itch to take stuff apart and tinker, and so I figured it was time to have a go at fixing the radio display.

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On Italian roads and a hired Fiesta

There is a bridge over the railway tracks in my town that has recently been resurfaced. And it stands out dramatically, because the moment your tyres touch it, everything becomes as quiet as a whisper. It stands out even more because such properly surfaced roads are so incongruous with the general state of Britain’s roads, increasingly deserving of notoriety.

Should you want a ‘grass is greener’ experience with respect to the quality of our roads, however, go for a drive in Italy’s Lazio region (even if the region itself is lovely).

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A long overdue fleet update

Some time ago, I set myself the goal of posting at least monthly here, and have failed miserably this year in doing so. As there is no one I am accountable to for this, I offer no excuses – I have other priorities in my life, and have willingly set this aside. Still, this site has been getting a surprising amount of traffic in the past few months, so I wanted to offer a quick update on a few things, with the hope that over the remainder of the summer, I will be able to write a bit more regularly again. Continue reading “A long overdue fleet update”

Why is traffic management so hard?

Those of us who are attentive and self-aware motorists often despair at lack of common sense employed in the world of traffic management. National and local authorities responsible for the roads we use everyday seem to have little understanding of how these roads actually work. Hence the blight of ‘smart’ motorways, ill-timed traffic lights, and reduction of speed limits on empty rural roads.

This deficiency of common sense has become apparent in my own town this past week. Bordered as we are by a river and a canal, and with a distinct lack of crossing points, North Yorkshire County Council has once again seen fit to close one of the two main bridges leading out of town for a period of three weeks for another round of supposedly essential roadworks. Why these essential works couldn’t have been carried out a few months ago when they last closed the bridge for essential works is anyone’s guess.

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Fleet update, January 2019

2002 SEAT Leon 20VT

For the first time ever in my two and a half years of owning the Leon, I calculated the fuel mileage. After a fairly even split of 200 miles of commuting and 200 miles of slightly exuberant recreational motoring, it came in at 33.5mpg. That was better than I expected, and means it would probably not take much effort to be knocking on 40mpg on a run. The only other thing of note this month was capturing a pleasing odometer reading.

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Changing the sidelights on a BL/BP Subaru Outback

A blown sidelight is something that might escape notice, particularly if these lights are not very prominent to begin with. That is why I didn’t realise the offside sidelight was out on my Outback until I spotted it as my wife pulled into the driveway last week.

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Having followed the saga of fellow Subaru owner, Lewis Kingston, changing the sidelights on his Forester last month, I was not looking forward to discovering what would be required to swap them on the Outback. Surprisingly, it took very little effort and all of ten minutes. Continue reading “Changing the sidelights on a BL/BP Subaru Outback”