The electric aerial still works. The electric aerial. It still works. When I picked up the Honda Accord exactly two months ago, I somewhat irrationality established that the electric aerial would be used as some kind of barometer of reliability. As long as the electric aerial works, the Accord will remain reliable. OK, so in the great scheme of things, this is hardly up there with the ravens and the Tower of London, but it is my barometer, so I’m sticking with it.
My previous post on the Bangernomics Accord, which is now more commonly referred to as the PetrolBlog Shed or Accord Type-Shed, was a mere first impression. At that point only a few miles and a matter of hours had passed since the purchase. A crucial test of the car would come once the novelty and first layer had wax had worn off.
So, two months and 1,781 miles later, how has life been with the Type-Shed?
The first thing I’ll say about living with a shed is just how liberating the whole experience is. Running a car at the very bottom of its depreciation slide is rather joyful. There’s an overwhelming feeling that if something catastrophic did go wrong, you could live with the consequences. Any minor or cosmetic issues can simply be left. Anything major can either be investigated or if the problem is financially ridiculous, you simply put the car up for sale and sell it for spares or repair. The purchase price makes the car, relatively speaking at least, a disposal asset.
The car’s battle worn appearance also brings added an added benefit. You no longer fear the odd stone chip, car park ding or bird poo (I refuse to call it bird lime). At least that’s the theory, but I still find myself searching for ‘good spaces’ in car parks and I have been known to be outside cleaning bird poo from the bonnet in near-dark conditions. Some habits I just can’t seem to shake. But in traffic and in narrow country roads, I certainly feel more relaxed. Funnily enough, other drivers seem to give way to me more often these days!
But this relaxation doesn’t quite stretch to the mechanicals. Not yet anyway. When you run a shed your senses seem to be on red alert. Every noise and smell is greeted with a sense of worry and concern. Take last week for example. I could have sworn that something was burning. I checked the dials, looked around for smoke and immediately made plans to pull over. I then realised that there was a road maintenance lorry in the inside lane and it was carrying hot tar. And…relax. Then the other day, with the sunroof open, (yes, the sunroof works), I noticed a faint rumbling sound. My immediate reaction was that something had worked loose, but after a few seconds of worry, I noticed an air ambulance in the sky. Panic over.
As pointed out in the previous post, not everything works. The air con needs recharging, the cruise control refuses to play ball and the driver’s window will only shut using the ‘lazy locking’ system. And as I found out today, the JVC radio can be a tad temperamental. It can’t seem to find any commercial stations, which is something I can live with. But unfortunately the only BBC stations it can find are the local county stations, such as BBC Radio Somerset. After a few minutes of torturous middle of the road music and an update on WI gardening events, I gave up and switched off. This obviously lowered the aerial, which still works. But deciding I wanted tunes for the way home, I purchased a new CD. Sadly though, it appears that the JVC unit has given up reading CDs, so I drove home with the stereo turned off. I might need to invest in an iPhone compatible head unit, so please send any recommendations my way.
But actually, driving without the stereo on isn’t all that bad, even on a long trip. Yes, that’s right – today I went on a long trip. It is a measure of the increasing trust I’m placing in the Accord Type-Shed that I decided to use it today for a 300 mile round trip. Normally I’d use the Audi for such occasions, but today I put my faith in the Honda. With some trepidation I set off on a route that would take in the A386, A30, A303 and A360. I needn’t have worried as the Accord was faultless. Easily keeping up with modern traffic, never putting a foot wrong and I’ll whisper this, even managing to be a tiny bit fun on the A360 across Salisbury Plain. Yep, it is possible to have fun in a shed.
So has it all been plain sailing? Well not quite. I expected to have to work on the brakes as the discs were looking a little suspect when I picked her up. But I wasn’t banking on having to replace a rear caliper, which ended up pushing the cost north of £200. Ouch. It also looks like the rear offside tyre has a slow puncture, which I’ll need to sort out shortly. But caliper and tyre aside, I don’t have any complaints. All the essential items work and despite the Accord looking a little rough around the edges, the car still retains an element of presence and respectability. And the electric aerial still works.
I have a suspicion that the car had been laid up for some time before I bought it. It would help to explain the corroded rear discs and also the fact that it seems to be getting quicker with every passing mile. It feels rather like a new car that’s being run-in, so the Accord clearly feels like its having a second wind. It relishes in being pushed through the entire rev range, much more so than it did some 1,700 miles ago. I’m also squeezing more miles out of every tank of fuel, which suggests that it’s running better and more efficiently. Coupled with the fact that it has yet to use a drop of oil and I’m led to cautiously suggesting that the 2.2i VTEC engine is in fine shape. To be on the safe side I’ll probably look at doing an oil and filter change this month.
So far, so good then. Exactly a third of the way through the Bangernomics experiment and life couldn’t be better. Every passing mile is like a mini achievement, another justification for saving this car from ruin. Having an old style odometer helps to bring some drama to proceedings, with every click feeling like another hurdle overcome. Modern digital odometers simply don’t have the same effect. I genuinely enjoy driving the Accord and I’m even considering sorting out the cosmetic issues. But to do so would fly in the face of the Bangernomics code, so I’ll probably wait until the MOT in October before deciding what to do. Still unsure what will happen then, but a lot will depend on the MOT. The four original choices ultimately remain – keep as a daily driver for another year, sell with a fresh MOT, sell for spares/repair or turn it into a track day toy.
In the meantime, I’ll be keeping an eye on the electric aerial. Did I mention that it still works?
Costs to date:
MPG per tank
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