The car saga continues

Regular readers may remember that I spent about a month without my car in January this year. It’s a VERY long story, but the ‘highlights’ go something like this:

  • 21st November – son gets hit in a ‘no fault’ accident. Driver admits liability at the scene. Damage looks minimal
  • 7th January – Mini goes into garage for repair, damage turns out to be a lot more extensive than I’d first imagined, affecting four separate areas
  • 15th January (approx) – I get a call to say my car will be ready in two hours. Then I get a call to say it has failed its quality control
  • 16th January (approx) – my car randomly sets on fire in the garage
  • 5th February – my immaculate Mini comes home
  • 21st February – the other driver FINALLY admits liability to his insurance company

It was a stressful time, but once I’d got my car back and the other driver had admitted liability, we finally thought it was over.

But unfortunately having a ‘no fault’ accident pushes up your insurance premiums. Especially when a driver is only 17. It was another two or three months before I finally found a car insurance policy which was vaguely (and I do emphasise the word ‘vaguely’) affordable for my son.

On 1st June, he had been back at the wheel for just under a month, when I got a call from him to say he had broken down. He had literally made it round the corner. My husband went to rescue him and confirmed that the car really was going nowhere. He towed him home, but couldn’t get my Mini up onto the drive.

Fortunately (and this really is the only fortunate thing in the whole sorry tale), they went to ask for help from the guy next door. We don’t know the the guy next door at all. He’s only lived there a few months and somehow our paths have never really crossed.

He turned out to be a really nice bloke and very knowledgable about cars. He also had a friend who had recently opened a garage nearby. What could be luckier than that?

In the meantime, my son was stewing over the breakdown and no doubt looking at ways to distance himself from it, just in case we were going to blame him. (We weren’t, these things are unfortunate, but they happen.) He texted me to ask if I thought it could have been related to the fire. It really hadn’t crossed my mind and, no, I didn’t think it could.

The man next door’s friend towed the car away to his garage. Then he called to say that were signs of heat damage in the engine! Both the pistons and the cam belt were damaged. Luckily the previous owner had had the car regularly serviced at a main dealer and had the book stamped. I could see the cam belt had been replaced five years (but only 30,000 miles) ago. A cam belt is supposed to last 125,000 miles.

Logbook, Car, Mini, 365, The car saga continues

It looked like the car really had been damaged by the fire.

We spoke to the garage that had ‘fixed’ it previously and the insurance company. The car had to go back to the original garage to be assessed for insurance. All the time I kept thinking that they were going to try to wriggle out of it and not admit liability.

(In the process of all this crap I also discovered that they had CLAIMED FOR THE FIRE ON MY INSURANCE. And nobody had ever told me. How could that ever have been my fault?! No wonder my premium had gone up. I actually have to not dwell on this stuff much because it makes me so angry.)

It was a tense wait for the outcome.

There was good news and bad news.

The good news – the damage was due to the fire.

The bad news – my car was being written off.

Luckily, I could buy it back and we could get it fixed ourselves. The insurance company gave us £2,300 for the car and we bought it back for just over £200 (I have no idea how this stuff works).

I kept panicking that we wouldn’t get it back in time and that somehow it would be taken away and crushed. My husband even offered that we could just buy it back and not fix it and it could sit on the drive with my redundant Beetle and I could get yet another ‘new’ car. But how would I track down a yellow one?! I only have yellow cars and I’m VERY reluctant to let them go.

The repairs were going to cost £1,600, so we would actually be left with a bit of money at the end of it all. Then, the day before it was due home, we got a call to say that the turbo had worn out (unrelated to the accident) and it would make a lot of sense to repair it alongside the other repairs. So that was another £850 to fork out. Rather than being £400 up, we were now £450 down.

My car finally came home on 5th July.

We’d had over a month with only one car (with occasional use of a highly impractical sports car), which isn’t easy for a family of five with three teenagers and three drivers.

Please cross your fingers that this will be the end of car troubles for me for quite a while now…

Mini, Car, Breakdown, Repairs, 365, The car saga continues



Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Can’t believe that the garage had the nerve to claim on your insurance at all, never mind that they could do that without your permission or even telling you. Glad you finally have it back though.

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    • I was astonished as it was clearly their fault. The insurance company must have approved it, but I don’t know why nobody bothered to tell me!

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  2. Gosh what an absolute farce. Glad you’ve got your car back and in full working order, fingers crossed for some trouble free motoring

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    • Farce is the best word for it! It has been ridiculous. I think I need trouble free motoring for at least five years now!

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  3. Oh my goodness Sarah! I can’t believe the garage claimed on your insurance (or that they were able to!). Fingers crossed that’s the end of it finally!

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    • I know, I couldn’t believe it either. Goodness knows what they said to the insurance company. Obviously the insurance company approved it, but I don’t know why nobody ever told me.

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  4. What good luck with your neighbour who was there to help.
    What a saga you have had with your car. The insurance company is so cheeky!
    Fingers crossed that your mini is fixed for good. It is such a cute little car x

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    • It was really good luck the neighbour was there. I really can’t believe the cheek of the insurance company. It feels like I’ve fought very hard to keep my car, so I definitely want it to run smoothly for a long time now. x

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  5. Sorry to hear that you have had even more trouble. I would be taking further action about them claiming on your insurance, that doesn’t sit comfortably with me at all. Especially as they didn’t notify you, if they were right to do it they would have been above board about it. It’s even more pertinent now your car has ended up being written off, they should have put it right in the first place or written it off then. It all smells a bit fishy!

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    • It really does! I think it did come close to being written off initially. The insurance company have spent an absolute fortune on fixing it. I don’t know what the garage said to them for them to approve the repairs, rather than it coming under the garage’s own insurance. The hassle of it all upsets me, which is why I won’t be taking further action. I just want to move on from it all now. I really hope the car lasts after all this trouble. x

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  6. Oh my goodness, no end of trouble with that car! Obviously none of it was the car’s fault – I only hope you never use that garage again, they sound like total con artists! So sorry you’ve had to endure all of this, life is stressful enough with three teenagers let alone when you’re a car down 🙁

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    • So very true about the teenagers and the car situation! The garage is the one the insurance company use. If I ever have need to claim on insurance again, I will be making a specific request that it goes somewhere else.

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