So yesterday was another early start, as my Golf went in for part two of it’s service that was started last week. As I mentioned a couple of weeks back, I’m running the Golf on variable service intervals – so when it went in last week it hadn’t had a service since February 2006, over 14,000 miles ago.
There were things I knew would need doing. There had been a warning over the brake pads on a previous visit to the garage as a result of the visual inspection they do as a matter of course, so I was expecting that. What I wasn’t expecting was the news that the inside edges of three of the tyres on the car had worn significantly, so the tyres now needed replacing.
Last week they didn’t have anything other that some obscure brand of tyre I’d never heard of in stock, so they ordered in a set of Bridgestones of the same type that were on the car already, and booked the car in for this weeks visit. They had also managed to reproduce the internal lighting hiccup I’d found on the car last year, and needed to get parts in to fix that under warranty. So we found ourselves again up early to take the car in for part two.
It has to be said, that from the point of view of the garage, things did not go well. First off, since the switch was a warranty job they had had to wait for the all clear to go ahead from VW – and that hadn’t come through, so they couldn’t do the switch. The second problem became clear when they tried to do the tyres.
I’m not sure of the technicalities, suffice to say that at lunchtime I had a call from one of their technicians to say that there were problems with the set of Bridgestones they were trying to fit, and would I mind Continentals instead – I said no problem with that. However later on I got another call from the garage, apologising for the fact that during the course of fitting the new tyres they had damaged the alloy wheels on the front, and that they would of course arrange for that to be fixed at their expense. Although obviously it’s annoying when things like that happen, what was excellent is that the garage phoned up an held their hands up to something going wrong, and I didn’t have to either spot the problem and complain, or hassle them to get it to fix it.
I rolled up at the garage to pick up the car and took a look at the damage – it is worth mentioning that as most people do, I’d already managed to scrape the alloys thanks to a close encounter with a kerbstone, so I was going to ask them to fix that whilst they were at it – but I didn’t need to – although there was more obvious damage than my scrape, they’d managed to damage the same alloy I’d done already. Even better, for part three, no early morning – since it’s all a warranty job they’re going to come and pick the car up from work, and then whisk it away to do the switch and sort out the alloys, and then deliver it back when they’re done.
Anyway, what with the new tyres, and the full alignment and tracking checks they did – which found some of the settings significantly off – I took the car for a run around the block, just to see what had changed. Heading south out of Reading onto the A33, I switched onto the old A32 down to Hook when I got to Risely to see what it was like on twisty roads, and then from there onto the M3 from junction 5 up to 4a to see how it now handled on the motorway. From there back home via the A30 and A327. I have to say, that although as I’ve got older, and especially once I had a 44 mile commute I’ve stopped doing drives like this, and it was really quite fun to just drive without needing to get anywhere in particular. Whilst the combination of a TDI engine and the soft suspension is really intended for comfortable cruising – something reflected in the relatively low insurance grouping – with the right roads, the Golf is still a good deal of fun to drive.