Muppets, Meganes, Misdemeanors and Migraines

DSC09180edit11440x_4c1016ae6cd3b-lightboxAfter a hectic summer ‘BumCar’ entered a semi-hibernation, I buggered off to Kent to study Film, Radio & TV Production leaving the poor blighter tucked up in the garage for 3 months only to be awoken to be moved onto the drive so Dad could have some room to make some mess with his tools.

This took its toll on poor ‘BumCar’, as one would expect, the battery began to die sending the car’s electronics crazy. Dad would find it sounding its alarm whilst its wipers had a mind of their own; a new battery was fitted before my return for Christmas.

My car was all happy, loving the snow; many hours were spent with a couple of friends exploring the extent to which our cars would grip on the white stuff, well, that and seeing how sideways they’d go and how easy it was to perform hand-brake and J-turns in them (some videos are linked if anyone is interested). Turns out the handbrake is pretty useful, as it saved me from understeering into banks etc; a swift yank had the back end out and me grinning from ear to ear as I slid gracefully (and safely!) around obstacles!

Unfortunately for a friend, whose L-Reg Polo Coupe was like a little mountain goat on the ice, a very slippery corner, someone cutting said corner and inexperience saw his car headbutting a fence post alongside the railway, demolishing his bumper, snapping some radiator mounts and bending his bonnet. Fortunately for him the car was due to fall into the hands of the Scrappage Scheme at the end of the month!

‘BumCar’ took us (myself and Polo-friend) to visit a housemate from University in Basingstoke with no drama, despite the place being hailed as a snow disaster area. Well no drama until that evening when the little ‘Electronic Fault’ warning popped up on the dash as my headlights switched themselves off. I had to crawl back to my housemate’s home in Kempshot by my front fog lights as they were my only functioning lights… “It’ll be alright in the morning, probably nothing” I recall myself saying, without touching wood…

‘BumCar’ was found squawking the next morning, doors unlocked and headlights on, a non-starter. I disconnected the new battery but I had a bad feeling about this. Luckily it was all fine two hours later so I decided to take it for a run; 1 mile was as far as I got. The wipers went mad, as did the central locking, the exterior lights, the interior lights and the AC fan, the revs dropped off and I coasted into a side road, cursing the bloody thing.

A few hours passed hoping it’d sort itself but to little effect. The RAC were called and I was towed to the local Bosch centre… £295.16 later I had a new Body Control Module and a car that worked… sort of, but more on that later. Seems another silly French design flaw was to blame for the Megane’s complete electronic melt-down, over time water ingress into the Body Control Module under the bonnet had corroded the contacts, upon inspection the black box was found to be flooded, this had caused every circuit in the entire car to short. Hopefully this new item will solve the issue as it looks far better sealed!

Back to that ‘sort of’… Since this BCM palaver my car has developed an intermittent stalling/idling problem, SOMETIMES it just dies after being started and requires a bit of throttle for a few seconds, after which it’s fine. It seems less common now than it did, and the insane delay that constantly saw me floundering in the centre of a road after pulling out of a junction seems to have disappeared all together, NICE!

Term 2 came and went as did Easter with little to report other than some ‘muppetry’ and a subsequent MOT failure over my Easter Holidays. It failed the emissions test, which we thought a little ironic given its pet name… Anyway, after some welding to a hole in the exhaust, it passed, although I swear it’s still blowing a little in the same place.

My final incident was when in Portsmouth one sunny April evening with friends. My car just plain failed to start on the top of Portsdown Hill, all the electronics woke up, the fuel pump whirred but there was nothing from the starter motor. This oddly fixed itself after 15mins and hasn’t (TOUCH WOOD) occurred again…

That’s it, the story is up to date and summer’s-a-comin’! The blue Polo was been replaced by a 10-plate Kia Picanto, ‘BumCar’ is in good health so fingers crossed Summer 2010 will be a summer of smiles and fault-less miles for ‘BumCar’ and myself…


And no, I don’t normally use my front fogs!




Tom Waugh