Running a fleet of many cars is like playing Whac-A-Mole. While one car is running beautifully, another decides to throw a tantrum of Veruca Salt proportions.
Your role is one of mother bird, desperately trying to keep a nest of hungry beaks fed and watered.
Last week was a prime example. Having enjoyed a Sunday afternoon preparing the Toyota Camry for its MOT, I spent most of Tuesday hitting refresh on the MOT history website. Kids won’t know what it’s like to wait for the dreaded call from the MOT tester.
It passed. Not only that, the Camry passed without a single advisory. I shouldn’t be surprised. It’s a Toyota. The thin slither of rationalism and sensibility on the fleet of many troubles.
Sure, the car had covered a mere 80 miles since the last MOT, but I’m heralding this as a victory. Justification for spending £300 on a car I didn’t need. A demonstration of why preparing for an MOT is time well spent. Job done.
The journey home was short but joyful. Look, you can share my excitement. PetrolBlog’s YouTube videos are available on prescription as a powerful aid for sleeping.
There are a number of things to sort on the Camry, but right now, it’s the best car I own. That’s how it works on the PetrolBlog fleet. Favourite one day, villain the next.
I escaped the tedium of lockdown by taking it shopping. Running the Safrane is essential, not least because I can’t open the bonnet to disconnect the battery. The old trick of sitting on the edge of the bonnet while somebody pulls the release cable no longer works. One side opens, but the other side refuses to budge. Not good, especially when the car needs (deserves) a service.
The trip to the supermarket was accompanied by the smell of petrol. There’s no sign of a leak, so I need to investigate under the bonnet. Only I can’t, because it WON’T OPEN. Should have bought a Toyota Camry. Probably.
I left the Renault Safrane in the safe hands of the garage when I collected the Camry. That was five days ago. I guess they haven’t managed to crack the code.
With the Safrane out of the way and the Camry basking in the light of greatness, my attention is turning to the rest of the fleet. The Mercedes W123 is due an MOT at the end of the month, while the Clio Baccara needs an opportunity to worm its way back into my good books.
Then there’s the ‘beer money’ Safrane, 406 Coupe, Corrado VR6 and £100 Laguna. My aim is to have at least two of the quartet on the road by the end of the year. Three with a strong wind. Four with a hurricane and some good fortune.
I thought I’d start with the £100 Laguna, not least because there’s a clear pathway in terms of what needs to be done. Only I couldn’t, because the Megane Convertible had a flat battery. Note to self: never leave the Megane blocking the exit route for the entire fleet.
Failing that, if you’re going to run a fleet of 15 vehicles, make sure a large proportion of the cars are from Japan.