You have to put oil in the hot, noisy bit!

Engine part

Last Thursday — almost a week ago now — I’d booked the day off work so that we could drive across to Perth to meet up with our dear friends from our Inverness days, Andrew and Lindsay Howie, to catch up with them and meet their twins (a boy and girl … and no, not identical!) as they were heading north again.

The plan

What could have been more simple? The plan was to feed Reuben and Joshua at 11:00, load them into the car and drive to Perth via Dundee. They sleep well in the car, so it was a failsafe plan. Until we got into the car that is.

Jane has a Renault Mégane Sport Tourer (an estate car by any other name). It’s a nice car. It’s comfortable. And as we’ve discovered now three times within a month it has dodgy windows!

When I climbed into the drivers seat I noticed that the window was down. So I pressed the button.



I started the engine and pressed the button again.

Again nothing.

Plan B

Fifteen minutes later I was following Jane, who was driving my car (Vauxhall Astra, with fully working windows), to Dundee for an appointment with the Renault Minute garage. While they couldn’t fix it that day they said that we could leave the car with them, they’d secure it and replace the faulty window part in the morning. At a cost of £281.

They didn’t say that. We already knew. The front passenger’s window had done exactly the same thing two weeks previously.

Spoken too soon

About twenty five minutes after depositing the car in Dundee Jane and I were discussing cars, pondering about whether we should sell both cars and buy a new one, returning to being a one-car family.

“We should get a Vauxhall,” said Jane.

“Yeah,” I agreed. “This has done, what, 92,000 miles and it’s great.”

“We’ve not had a single problem with this car,” Jane pondered.

Not less than a minute later not one but two warning lights lit up on the dashboard: the engine electronics/immobilizer warning light and the low oil warning light.

To cut a long story short

It turns out that every now and then you have to put something called ‘oil’ into the hot, noisy bit at the front of a car. Ahem!

Having arrived at our rendezvous (Dobbies Garden Centre just outside Perth) I checked the oil level with the dipstick.

There was no level! Maybe I was the dipstick!

And to think that just the other week I’d thought to myself: I wonder if I need to check the oil level.

Another irony was that in order to get the boys’ pram into the car we had to remove my Big Boy’s Box of Interesting Car Maintenance Bits and Pieces, which included a two litre bottle of Castrol oil.

“We don’t need this box do we?” asked Jane, removing it from the boot of the car.

“Nah! We’ll be fine,” I foolishly reassured her.

So, having purchased a new two litre bottle of oil (10W-40 or something) I emptied half of it into the engine. Result! The dipstick was now showing that I’d reached just below the minimum line. Pouring the rest of the oil brought the oil level on the dipstick up to just above midway between the minimum and maximum. Phew!

And do you know what? The engine hasn’t sounded or felt better for months. Funny that!

Windows 3

The following day Jane got a lift up to Dundee to collect the car and hand over another £281 for a repaired window.

And this morning Jane returned from coffee with a friend to discover that it had done it again! The driver’s door window again.

The trial continues …

Published by

Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 52 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Scrum master at Safeguard Global; latterly at Sky and Vision/Cegedim. Former web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and previously warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.

One thought on “You have to put oil in the hot, noisy bit!”

  1. You should go for a VW Touran. Its the ultimate family car. It even has foldaway ‘grandparent seats’ in the boot. We’ve had one for 1.5 years now and its ace. The only problems we’ve had have been with non-essential things like the ipod connection pack on the stereo and the air conditioning. And both of them were easily fixed.

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