The Driven Blog “My Garage” – Vol. 2

Skoda Octavia vRS MK1

THE SECOND INSTALLMENT of My Garage includes some hefty expenses.

This month has been the most expensive since owning the car. Not only was the ‘Tavia due both an MOT and a service, but there was a worrying ticking noise coming from the engine bay.

So with much trepidation, I booked the vRS into my local Skoda garage, Sparshatts of Botley. By this point the ticking noise (which I had deduced was coming from the clutch) had got so loud that there didn’t seem much point telling them because they would notice immediately and it would almost certainly come up in either the MOT or the service. So off I went in my little Citigo courtesy car, which I actually quite enjoyed, and a few hours later, all was done.

Skoda Citigo

The Octavia had passed the MOT, had been fully serviced and valeted, and they’d even carried out some recall work on the injectors, all for just £288. But no mention of the noisy clutch. Slightly puzzled, me and the Octavia ticked our way home.

MOT Service bill

The next day I put in a call to my other local garage, Tyreshops at Hedge End. They took a look and confirmed that the noise was indeed coming from the clutch, but said they had never heard anything like it before; it only made a noise with engine on and the clutch pedal pressed. They decided that it was either the clutch itself, which could be replaced, or the flywheel, which could be replaced but would necessitate a new clutch as well.

I agreed to have the work done, whatever the outcome, and the waiting began. I dropped the car off first thing and around lunch time a call came telling me that it was the dual-mass flywheel; worst case scenario. Around 5:30pm the car was ready, and I was over £600 out of pocket. Ouch.

Still, in the space of around a year, the Octavia has had a new gearbox, new brakes and a new clutch and flywheel; so at least I should be set for a while.

August-September expenses: £918 (MOT, service, clutch and flywheel)

This month I’ve been looking at…

Lexus LS

Alan Partridge once described Lexus as “the Japanese Mercedes”. However, if anything that does the LS something of a disservice. Toyota wanted to hit the ground running with their new luxury brand, so they really went to town with the first model, the LS, and overengineered it to within an inch of it’s life. So much so that it could probably still give many ‘luxury’ cars of today a run for their money. The only engine available from launch was a 4.0-litre V8 petrol, so fuel bills are going to be on the large side and should something go wrong, as unlikely as that is, it could cost a fair bit. But, when you can pick up an early model for under a grand, well, you just would wouldn’t you? Of course, I probably won’t actually get around to buying one.

Next month… The temperatures are dropping, the night’s are closing in, it’s time to prepare the ‘Tavia for winter and I’ve been looking at a rapid Audi estate.

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