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The Old Bill again

Hi Doc,

It’s not like me to think on the down side, but this time will the cost or repairs to my old car be just a bit too much? (I’m not blaming my workshop for the cost.) 

Earlier this week, I saw the warning sign showing on the speedometer that my next service was due. How could that be, I thought ñ my mileage is now about 6,500 miles per year, less than half of what I used to do when I was at work. So, I pushed the trip button to see what the mileage was, but it wouldn’t change. I kept punching it, and the mileage just went back to the start ñ or zero. It now appears that I had reset the service mileage. So, what about the overall mileage, which should be 194,750, plus a little bit more, as I reset the trip mileage when I refuel? Well it’s stuck and will not now show the total mileage. The spanner is not showing, so it must, I think be the trip mileage that is showing. The problem is that I’m told by law that the true mileage must be entered in the MOT computer read out. So the options probably are: take the dashboard out and fit a new speedometer, or take the instruments out and discover that the problem item is a bad connection, and either can or cannot be repaired. Both of which sends £££ signs flashing through my brain! 

Is this 18-year old car (Peugeot 307 HDi) worth it? There are also some other long-term problems with the heater. What can I get for about £5,000 to last another five years or so, to cover my 6,500 miles per year? (I’m not good on buses!) 

Best wishes, Bill Shepherd

Hello Bill,

Good to hear from you, even if some of the content is not good news. It really would be the best result if you could keep the old 307 on the road. But you are not going to have a true total mileage figure if the speedometer is replaced. It would probably be illegal to buy a second-hand speedometer and have the mileage wound forward or back to your true figure. So, who will be likely to know whether or not the trip reading is the total mileage, if you don’t do anything, and just keep on running it? I am not sure whether there is any legal requirement to do anything if you have to fit a new speedometer, for any reason, other than perhaps make a record of the old speedometer reading and confess to the new owner the facts. What new owner? There isn’t going to be one, is there? 

Then I found this on the internet:

“DVLA does not need or want to know that you have changed the speedometer. However, beware when you sell the vehicle that you do not claim that the new mileage is the genuine one. That is illegal. Depending on the age of the vehicle, you (may) need to be able to demonstrate to any future buyer the reason for any discrepancy in the mileage recorded at annual MOT tests.”

Well (a) As I say, you’re probably not ever going to sell it, so such problems will not arise, and (b) The MOT garage will just write down what is showing, and I doubt that anyone is likely to ask any questions. If in doubt, plead a bit thick Bill. Just stop worrying and keep on driving, me thinks!

So I won’t even speculate on what good cars you could get for £5,000, unless you come back to me, which I hope you don’t! Funnily enough, I was a bit unhappy a couple of months back about having to pay out £460 for fitting a new air conditioning compressor and a refrigerant recharge on my wife’s old 70,000 plus miles 2003 BMW 318i. But if I think of the almost trouble-free twelve years of good service that we have had from it, the cost of the air conditioning repairs pales into insignificance compared with the extra depreciation costs of changing into a more modern car regularly.

All the best Bill,
The Doctor

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