5 side effects of neglecting your car in winter
I'll be the first to admit that I am a terrible car owner. I have my excuses of course. I live in East London where my car is parked on the street which makes it hard to wash it myself, but you aren't interested in my excuses are you? You've already judged me. That's fine, I've judged myself.
However, through my pure apathy I've learnt what goes wrong when you neglect your car through the winter months the hard way. I drove my Panda 100HP for the first time in over a month yesterday. It is fair to say, it wasn't the same car as before. You would have thought I'd learnt my lesson from last year where it cost me a fair amount to get it through its MOT, but I hadn't. There are no bounds to my car maintenance apathy and I pay the penalty every time.
I want you guys to avoid the pitfalls by taking you through what happens when you neglect the hell out of your car in the year's toughest months, so, sit back and laugh at my misfortune and learn from my mistakes. Here are the 5 side effects of treating your car like the unwanted plant you were bought last Christmas.
*Disclaimer – I love cars, I just hate looking after them*
1) Dangerous brakes
This one was news to me. Logic would tell you that your brakes remaining static for a prolonged period of time isn't great for them. I hadn't realised how much of an effect it would have.
Last year, I was told by the bloke at Kwik Fit that they'd rusted and they need to be replaced to pass their MOT. That lesson cost me about £280 for a complete set of rear brakes as the MOT ran out in one day's time and I didn't have time to shop around.
Fast forward a year and I've done the same bloody thing again. This time I took out the little Panda 100HP for a run to breath some life back into her and shake off that month of neglect. Her response was to try and kill me. The first junction I approached at a careful 7mph. I slowly applied the brakes and it felt like there was a layer of slippery moss trying to stop the car as I rolled pathetically out onto the main road. Luckily nothing was coming, but I needed to go straight back home as I'd soiled myself.
I spent the next 20 mins 'burning off' the rust by brake checking on some safe roads. Sorted.
As clammy as a New England chowder. As soon as I opened the door I regretted not airing the car out earlier. Every surface had a slight layer of moisture that gave me the sensation of sitting in a giant otter's pocket. Lovely stuff.
3) Undiagnosable noises
Once I'd burnt the brake rust off, I picked up the pace and stretched the legs a little. The first few minutes were ok, but then I'd hear a variety of noises I'd not heard before. I became a hypochondriac (hypoCARndriac if you will… sorry) and every noise sounded like it might be fatal.
One of my biggest worries was the suspension. If rust set in there properly, the harshness, sorry 'sportiness' of the Fiat Panda 100HP's ride might result in completely shattering like an ultrasound shockwave to a kidney stone.
I'm a member of a few Fiat Panda ownership groups and everyone treats their car like royalty. Nearly every Panda 100HP on there looks spectacular and there I am with my moist and rusty Panda 100HP trying to hide my shame.
Do I even deserve to own one?
I completely deserve to have this feeling. It is purely as a result of my neglect.
I'm driving home for Christmas on Christmas Eve and it is a 4 hour journey. I'm not a religious man, but I'll be praying to the motoring gods to get me there in one piece. Every noise will feel like the end is nigh. If the Panda 100HP gets me there and back to London without any problems, I'll make my new year's resolution to treat her like a bloody queen.