Cars of my early driving years

Here I am looking like a dork in my first car. I was 18 and trying desperately to look cool, but you can only do so much when you’re sat in a poverty-spec Mazda 626 and ask your Mum to take a photo of you.

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Liquid matters

Not counting the fuel in your tank, your car will have at least twenty litres of different fluids in it. Those fluids all perform crucial functions, and you need to keep a close watch on them if you are going to enjoy motoring adventures that do not end in some kind of catastrophic fashion.

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Over at Not £2 Grand (which you ought to follow on Twitter and Facebook, by the way), I have a new post telling you a little bit about all these different fluids and helping you think about how to keep them healthy. Head on over and have a read, because ‘ultimately, your vehicle’s fluids are vital to its life, and there are few more important things you can do for your car than to keep them all clean and topped up’. You can find the full post here.

Mileage milestones

When you’re a car person, hitting a big mileage milestone is always an event worth marking. This is usually acheived by pulling over at the appropriate moment and taking a photo of the mileometer, which is what I did earlier today.

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With this milestone, I’ve now clocked up close to 12,000 trouble-free miles on my Outback in the last fifteen months. Aside from regular maintenance and replacing a few consumables – well, and someone driving into it – the only unexpected problem has been a blown exhaust gasket. Other than that, the car just gets on doing everything we ask of it, comfortably and effortlessly, and feels like it will happily do so for another 150,000 miles. And I couldn’t ask for more than that.

Fleet update, November 2018

2002 SEAT Leon 20VT

Having said I should drive the Leon more in my last update, I have been doing exactly that this month. It is strange to find myself going outside and actually pausing to think about which car I want to drive. Before this, the Leon would only win out if my sole intention was blasting round local B-roads. Now I willingly choose to take it, even for commuting purposes. It really has improved that much following the work I did to it a few months ago.

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Crossovers prove that facts are useless

Here is the thing about Brexit: there are no facts. Both sides of the debate talk as if there are indisputable facts that we must heed if we are to make informed decisions, but the reality is that we only have hypotheses and predictions. That is not to say that these are not valid and an important part of the discernment process, but we have never been in this situation before, and the outcome, whatever the final deal will be, cannot be known beforehand. Only in retrospect will we see how all the variables and complexities came together to shape the future of the United Kingdom. At this point, we cannot expect people to make a decision based on facts, because there really are none.

A crossover vehicle that I have driven.

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Your daily driver need not be boring

Sure, you could buy that Fiesta or Golf. Most people would. After all, you want to be sensible with your money, and find a cheap but reliable daily driver. But why not find a balance between sensible and interesting? It can be done, as many have proven. In fact, in just the last few days, I have found three cars that would tick these boxes admirably.

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Fleet update, October 2018

2004 Subaru Outback 3.0 Rn

October began with some unwelcome noise from the rear of the Outback as the rear wheel bearing started to go bad. It turned out to be just a few hours’ work to install a new one, and all is quiet again. In the process, I noticed the rear brake discs getting thin, so those will need attention prior to the car’s next MOT in April.

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Talking about BMWs on the Both Hand Drive podcast

squarelogo_small-e1495969861356Ian Wright, the man behind the Both Hand Drive podcast, very kindly invited me to join him the other day for a casual chat about all kinds of things, mostly to do with BMWs. He’s a great host, and I had a lot of fun. Unfortunately, I was only using the built-in microphone on my MacBook, so the sound from my end isn’t great, but if you want to have a listen, you can find the podcast on iTunes (and presumably on Google Play, although I can’t seem to find a link for it), or on ShoutEngine. And be sure to subscribe!