“Scrap it”, says the car dealer with disregard, as if my Mini was a piece of unwanted metal. Images of weatherbeaten men walking through the streets of India shouting out for unwanted metal items come to mind. “Really?”, my mind goes from being in a logical state to an emotional one in one short second. So far I have been prepping myself up to say farewell to my companion for the past eleven years. The only car I have kept for this long. She has been with me through my trials and tribulations silently lending a comforting shoulder whenever I’ve needed a good cry. A friend who has seen me at my best and worst. And now it is she who needs me and I realise that I am not ready to part with her. I was looking at new cars to replace her with, but this is not how it is going to happen. The young car salesman’s arrogance is starting to grate on me. ‘You are a valued customer’, his opening BS comment now resonating in my head. “I am not scrapping her, she has still miles left in her”, I tell him bringing his sales pitch to an end. Am I throwing away good money after bad, my mind queries. At this time and moment, I didn’t care and I tell the service person to get her fixed.
That was three weeks ago. When I returned to collect her the next day, I was presented with a list of work that still needed doing. They’ve already charged me a substantial amount for diagnostics and now wants more to find out where the oil leak is coming from. The front brakes were replaced in January and yet the paperwork says the discs are heavily clipped. I try to ask questions but get the feeling I’m being fobbed off. Whichever way I phrase it, they don’t give me an answer I can understand. “The car is safe to drive, but just get it done at the next service”, they reassure me. I have lost my trust in them. If I was a patient and they my doctors I would have been appalled at this treatment. Normally I get an email asking for feedback after a service visit. This time I do not even have the satisfaction of filling in one such survey. I let it be and find another local garage where I find a kindly owner who was only too happy to explain the faults and rectify the problems. The car will be fine for another ten years he tells me. Old cars are pollutants, I know and I will let my Mini go when the time is right. She might be a tiny bit green around the gills but for the moment she is not ready to be put to pasture. We still have a lot more stories to share and finally my air conditioning is working. I turn it on, feel the cool breeze and take her for a spin.