Notes from West London

Nearly 13 weeks to fit a new coil

This post is the third and final instalment of a brief series about getting our car repaired. It has nothing to do with birth control. 

Yesterday evening I collected our car (a 13-year-old Peugeot 307) from the service department of our local dealership. It had been there for exactly 13 weeks. It cost slightly less to repair than the initial quote, and for almost all of its stay we had the use of a replacement vehicle, a Citroen C3. A week after I collected that Citroen, I wrote this piece about the garage’s difficulties tracking down replacement parts. As I noted nearly a month later, in this piece about parking in London, it was a coil that was causing the trouble. It took nearly 13 weeks to source and fit a coil for a 13-year-old car.  

For the record (and so that I can have easy access to this information), here’s the chronology of getting a car fixed in West London in 2021: 

Monday 14 June: A warning light flashes on the dashboard; my wife is able to drive the car for another few journeys.  

Tuesday 15 June: Enquiries made to the servicing department.  

Wednesday 16 June: Car brought in for repair, a diagnostic check, an email to confirm the amount of work required, and I give the go-ahead for work to begin.  

Thursday 17 June: The required parts are not available, so it won’t be ready that evening, as planned. No replacement vehicles available. I insist on getting one for the next day.  

Friday 18 June: Required parts still not available, I collect the replacement vehicle, with its “new car smell”.  

Friday 25 June: No update from the garage, I call to find that they are still waiting for a part. We continue to have the use of the new-smelling car for the rest of the summer.  

Friday 10 September: A phone call from the garage, their first update for several weeks. The missing part has finally arrived. The car should be ready sometime the following week.  

Tuesday 14 September: Another phone call: the car is ready for collection.  

Wednesday 15 September (around 5pm): I finally return the replacement vehicle (after 89 days of use) and collect my own. It has been valeted, and is cleaner than the Citroen that I have just given back. It is running smoother than it has done for many months. My daughter is reunited with her Rubik’s Cube (although we did buy her a replacement cube, with pastel shades and a much smoother action, many weeks ago). My wife is reunited with her spare pair of glasses. I retrieve a few CDs that I had been looking for. 

The 307 is due for its MOT in November, just over two months away. The very helpful woman who had sorted out the replacement car way back in June, and who handed me back the keys of my own vehicle, reckons it should pass without much difficulty. If it doesn’t, maybe we could borrow another much newer model for a few months while we work out what to do next.  


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