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February 21, 2006

Never trust a car salesman

I bought a car last year. Nice one - second hand, but nice enough. Prestigey-sort of badge. I took Flash Pete along because he actually enjoys buying cars; indeed, sometimes at weekends he goes and browses car places, with no real intention of buying anything. He knows about cars and about buying cars. He has lovely cars himself.

We test drove a couple of cars, and I was veering towards buying one, and Pete said it was ok, everything worked, it was reasonable value, but just felt a bit gutless to drive. The nice sales bloke said what can you expect, it's a big old car and a one point nine diesel engine.

I bought it.

I took it back for a service last week. The bloke rang and asked if it was a bit gutless lately. I said yes, actually, I thought maybe it was. Mmm, he said, thought so. The airflow meter that regulates the air/fuel mix has been progressively failing, and the power will have been dropping off as it goes to a default safe setting. He'd get the part and change it when the part gets delivered. Ok, I said.

I went back today, and they replaced it, and the car is now a absolute freaking rocket ship (for a one point nine diesel, anyway. These things are relative). Unbelievably quick. I am convinced that the airflow meter was already failing when I bought it a year ago: I'm sure it wasn't this fast then. I can, of course, prove this not at all. I know I can't, the sales bloke knows I can't. Still, he was nice, didn't charge me for the ten minutes or so his bloke took to fit it, made me a coffee while I waited, chatted amicably. We touched on how long I'd had the car, and how long these things take to fail, usually. We had that look at each other with a half-knowing-smile, I-know-what-you're-thinking moment.

I didn't mention it.

At least I get to play with my new sporty car now.


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