At risk of sounding like a bit of a weirdo, I quite like washing cars. Iím not one of those that needs to wash it every few days, and I certainly donít like wielding a sponge when the only thing colder than the water is a polar bearís wobbly bits, but itís something I enjoy from time to time. Itís therapeutic, somehow, and it gives me a little time to ponder the world.
I also happen to think washing the car is something everybody should do now and then, no matter how efficient or competitively priced the car wash up the road may be. You see, itís the only time we really get to spend looking at the bodywork close up, and it gives us the chance to nip any potential issues, such as stone chips, in the bud. I think of car washes, therefore, as the automotive equivalent of dental appointments.
Anyway, with winter well underway and the Mazda having completed a fair few faultless miles this Christmas, I took advantage of a slightly milder weekend to rid our CX-5ís Soul Red paint of its grimy new topcoat. As I washed away the salt and mud that had collected on the carís flanks, however, I noticed a number of recent stone chips. Fortunately, none of them have penetrated the undercoat, but theyíre unsightly blemishes and I wish I could get shot of them. Unfortunately, as regular readers will be aware from my report in Issue 370, Mazda doesnít sell touch-up paint for this car, so the nicks will have to go untreated.
Later that same afternoon, however, I was lamenting the lack of something even more important than touch-up paint and stone chips. The CX-5ís odometer has climbed past the 6,000 mark, at which point the manual says the front and rear tyres need swapping to prevent uneven wear. Now Iím no Edd China, but Iím capable of changing a wheel or two, so I parked the car on a flat bit of my driveway and set to work. Except I didnít, because I immediately encountered a handful of difficulties. I already knew there was no spare wheel ñ my high-spec Mazda has eschewed such a thing to make way for a subwoofer and a can of foam ñ so Iíd unearthed some axle stands that could take the CX-5ís weight, but I hadnít appreciated that there was no jack, either. Nor was there a wrench for undoing the wheel nuts.
Five minutesí rummaging through the boots of the Fossdyke fleet was eventually rewarded with an old Jaguar scissor jack that would lift the Mazda, but none of the wrenches were the right size for the CX-5ís nuts. I ended up using a socket set with multiple extensions that allowed it to access the Mazdaís deep wheel nut recesses. Eventually, and after much swearing, I managed to swap all the wheels around, but I canít help thinking it would have been a little easier if Mazda had just given me the requisite tools. I know the car companies justify ditching them by saying that punctures are super-rare occurrences and the weight reduction saves fuel, but the truth is that these things are useful for more than just punctures.
Date arrived 13th September 2017
Fuel economy 52.3mpg (combined) 45.1mpg (on test)
The CX-5 is racking up the miles, but it still hasn’t missed a beat.
Spare wheels, it seems, are useful for more than just punctures.