Denis Kilcommons: I’ve never felt such a ‘fuel’

OUR daughter was staying over and I said I’d run her to the bus stop in the village in the morning.

OUR daughter was staying over and I said I’d run her to the bus stop in the village in the morning. She works in Bradford and has an early start.

I was up and showered by 7am, checked the weather and saw the car was frozen. The windscreen was so heavily iced that those spray-on liquids didn’t even mist it.

I started the engine and began to scrape at the windscreen. Then the engine stopped – and wouldn’t start again.

Oh no. Stranded at home. And without benefit of the proper RAC cover.

Back in September I had problems with my battery and it cost a fortune having the car towed away, diagnostically tested, and a new battery fitted.

Stan, my local garage man, said at the time: “You should have Home Cover. It costs extra because people use it a lot. You’re more likely to break down at home than when you’re out on the road, particularly in winter.”

I fully intended to but I’d just had the new battery and the car was in top shape. The need didn’t seem so urgent.

And so there I was with a stone dead piece of metal sitting in my drive and my daughter having to phone a taxi.

I gave the car a couple of hours for the day to warm up and tried again. Nothing. Then another hour and again nothing.

One last attempt after another hour and zilch. The battery was full and throaty but nothing was catching.

For a while I wandered round the house in a sulk. Useless piece of junk. Maybe I should just set fire to it, see how it liked that.

Cars were very demanding with little return, I told myself. Perhaps I should scrap it and use taxis and public transport. It might be cheaper in the long run.

The radio was full of reports of an iced West Yorkshire and break-down services stretched to capacity as they were called out to members who did have Home Recovery. Smug so-and-sos.

If I phoned the RAC now they’d probably just laugh and say: “You should have got it in the first place. Worth its weight in gold is Home Recovery.”

I sulked some more and pondered the alternatives. There weren’t any. I needed the car so I stuffed my pride in my back pocket and telephoned the RAC and explained the problem.

A delightful young man with a soft West Country accent sympathised and couldn’t have been more helpful. He sorted it out in no time flat.

I tagged the Home bit onto my other cover and agreed a £25 call-out fee on top. Cheap at half the price, I thought.

Then I was transferred to the breakdown service and a young lady explained they were busy and did I have any immediate appointments. No, I said, grateful enough to wait until a week on Wednesday, if necessary. It could be up to three hours, she said. No problem, I said.

Ten minutes later recovery man Mark called and said he was only a few minutes away. How was that for service? It took him about 10 minutes to work out what was wrong.

My drive is steep and I had parked the car nose up facing the garage door to protect it against the cold. The fuel was low and had drained to the back of the tank. The battery was strong but, while it had initially started, the petrol level had dropped and the engine had stopped and wouldn’t start again because no petrol was reaching the engine.

Mark rolled the car backwards onto the level road and it started first time.

He dealt with me and the problem with the greatest courtesy and friendliness, even though I felt like an idiot.

Oh the relief to be back on four wheels in my super comfortable warm motor.

How would I ever manage without it? Just don’t tell it I considered setting it on fire or that I suggested, jokingly, it was a piece of junk. It might refuse to start again out of pique.

But if it does, I now have Home Recovery. Every motorist should have it.

 
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