Despite being full of praise for the staff at Howards Peugeot in Weston-Super-Mare just last month, I’d rather hoped I wouldn’t have to see them again. That isn’t an indictment of their service or their personalities, but I always think of good mechanics like friendly doctors – it’s good to know they’re there, but seeing too much of them means something must be going wrong.
And something went very wrong with the Diesel Car 508 this month. It started on a wet Wednesday, when I coasted up to a junction all of 100 yards from home, checked the coast was clear and pulled out. Except I didn’t, because the gearbox threw a wobbly. I don’t know what came over it – maybe it was drunk on Castrol Transmax – but it completely neglected its duty to engage a gear, leaving me stranded in the middle of the road with no drive. After a couple of seconds, it got its proverbials together, and I thought little more about it.
Soon after, however, I stopped at another junction, where the stop/start system kicked in. Nothing new there, the 508 has always been a little quick to cut off the power for my liking, but that’s emissions legislation for you. What was new, though, was its refusal to restart, which once more left me stranded in the middle of the road. I hurriedly jabbed the park button and rebooted the engine, then turned the stop/start off and continued on my way.
The long drive passed uneventfully, but the following morning saw all hell break loose. I was heading to a work appointment in Hampshire, but about two minutes into the drive the interior of the Peugeot fastback was swapped for what seemed like the inner workings of a fruit machine. My ears were assaulted with warning bongs and a row of little orange warning lights illuminated the i-Cockpit digital instrument cluster. Then the navigation system went haywire and would only find Peugeot dealerships. This, it turned out, was because that’s exactly where the car needed to be.
According to the messages on the dashboard, I had an engine fault, a gearbox issue and a tyre pressure monitoring problem. I also had an autonomous emergency braking system glitch, a problem with the ESP system and a hill-start assist failure. Add that to the rev counter’s insistence that the engine had stopped, despite the fact it was merrily churning away in front of me, and incredibly clunky gear changes. Now I’m no engineer, but even I could work out the car was, in fact, broken.
And so I headed for the dealership, with the engine idling at about 1,200rpm and a distinctly recalcitrant gearbox. As a result, I spent most of the trip in third, regardless of whether that was appropriate or not. Thankfully, the dealership was excellent and took the car in straight away. The sensor was replaced, the fault code was eventually cleared, and the car was ready for collection a week later. Since then, all has been well, but I have lost a bit of trust in the car that might take some regaining. That would be one thing in a 10-year-old banger, but it’s disappointing in a six-month-old family car that cost more than £30k when new.
Date arrived 3rd April 2019
Fuel economy WLTP combined 45.2-51.1mpg On Test 47.8mpg
Yet again, the service staff at Howards Peugeot in Weston-super-Mare excelled themselves.
The breakdown has eroded some of my trust in the 508.