When I buy a car, and press it into regular use, it certainly gets driven. Plenty. The commute to work alone is 100 miles. Each way.
Heathrow is 130 miles away. Central London, similar. Farnborough Airport, even further. Any car I have has to sing for its supper.
That’s why the Golf is now showing around 177,500 miles – the digital odometer hasn’t flashed round that quickly in years. But that’s also why the improvements to how it feels are coming thick and fast.
Cars don’t like being stood. They gum up, get sticky and chesty. Well-oiled smoothness becomes treacly stiction. Cars are designed to be driven and thrive on sensible regular use rather than being imprisoned in a garage and mollycoddled (it may look nice and shiny and perfect, but…).
When I bought the Golf, it felt a bit foggy. There was a solid enough car there, but it didn’t quite have the Germanic integrity when in use that you’d expect: gravelly brakes, notchy gearbox, heavy suspension, cornering in jerky straight lines rather than a gentle curve. The engine didn’t have complete free-spinning will and using it felt a bit like wearing it out.
What a difference now. An oil change and a few thousand miles later and I’ve got something that, while still showing signs of its 177k in places, would still pass for something much less well-travelled in others. Particularly the sleek running smoothness and more fluid way it rolls along the road.
Palpable improvements have come with the brakes (now all the left-standing grot has been cleared), the gearbox and the spark of the engine (although now I’ve changed the oil, how much of this is psychological..?). Even the air con is now blowing cold air hard, which gives me real satisfaction and effectively makes this car as usable all-year round as a new one.
I have a fresh long-termer on order, and it’ll be arriving fairly soon. For now though, using the Golf is no hardship. Particularly as the economy also seems to be improving with use.
Nearly 46mpg, anyone? Yup, it pleased me, too…