Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Paying by Numbers

My numerology for March said that money would be flowing out fast…. I wasn’t too surprised, as it does that most months. The first week was true to form: bill for son’s OT treatment after breaking a finger playing football (he saved a goal but it cost over R1000 in all, and it wasn’t even a major league match); filling at the dentist for Youngest (where she was hugely stoical and put up with it without a murmur); fairies purchased as a reward for the above (and middle daughter was owed one too for dental treatment previously unrewarded – I reckon this is the one area where bribes are essential!).

What I hadn’t been bargaining for, and what the numerology was obviously talking about was our car: our beautiful car, new to us last year and only a mere spring chicken at 2 years old, still under warranty. It took my husband into Cape Town last week and promptly overheated, dumping him at the side of the road. Annoying, we thought, a pain as it had to be towed to a busy Cape Town garage instead of our friendly local one, to be fixed under the warranty. Irritating, when two days later they hadn’t even looked at it. Infuriating, when yesterday they called us with the diagnosis and said that it probably won’t be covered under the warranty, and by the way it will cost R15,000 to fix. Foot-stompingly rage-making, when they tell us that a bit of mud had covered the heat sensor so the fan hadn’t worked, hence breaking that fan, this pipe and the other something else and perhaps it has a design fault.

Mud is a part of our lives here in winter. The 3km dirt road that leads to our smallholding is un-tarred and any amount of rain is enough to turn it to a clay ploughed field. So if the mud from one summer rainstorm is enough to wipe out the car, then it is never going to survive a winter here. It’s a design fault, they tell us and perhaps you’ll just have to clean the fan every time you go out in the car. Well that is three times a day in the school week. We realize that even if we get it fixed we will most likely have to trade it in and get something else less mud-sensitive or the winter will be a nightmare.

So here we are stomping our feet and trying to make our case with the dealer and then the manufacturing company. Eventually they say they will send an inspector …next Thursday, in ten days time and it has already been at the garage for a week …(hair tearing and steam boiling from ears at this point)

So we don’t know what will happen next week – I’m keeping fingers crossed that they will cover the repair costs. But if they don’t, I’m going to tell everyone not to buy an Opel Zafira, unless they are city creatures who never go near a speck of mud in their lives, because the Zafira doesn’t like mud and is very expensive to fix. Anyone have Jeremy Clarkson’s contact details here? I’d like to register it as a crap car, even though it has a nifty way with extra folding seats in the back.

Luckily the numbers said that money would flow in nicely from May onwards!


  1. Oh how I HATE this sort of thing! I will stay away from Opels and I hope things work out to your good.

  2. I am not familiar with Opels, mud very much and no sissy cars for us either. I do hope it all gets resolved quickly.

  3. My feet are stomping on your behalf!

    We were briefly Landrover owners...NEVER again!
    Bought from new it broke down 13 times in two years..it's final hissy fit was the engine blowing up when it reached 20'000 miles!

    Funniest was the husband taking it 'off road' two weeks after we bought it....the byway gave way and he ended up at 45 degrees in a ditch filled with pigs swill.

    This wouldn't have been so bad...had it not been for the fact the sunroof was open...so back came the car covered in smelly mud....inside and out.
    The children were pealed from their seats leaving clean patches from underneath their little bodies.

    Months later when we took the car back to London for it's first service we were surprised to get a call from the garage...."Why hadn't we told them that we had taken the car off road"???? because the mechanic had removed the sump guard, and a big hard lump of dried mud had landed on his head and knocked him out!!!!!
    Erm....tell them? For goodness sake it's a Landrover...and we live in the country!!???!!

    Surely that is precisely why people buy them?

    ....well no....apparently not if you live in London!

    When the engine blew up they lent us a BMW....we realised our folly and decided to go back to driving German cars, and haven't looked back since!

  4. I've heard that about Landrovers, Hen - friends persevered with one over here through a couple of new engines and then finally moved to something else.

    The dealers were shaking their heads over the 'abnormal conditions' that we've exposed the poor car to ... dirt roads in South Africa...!!! Most of the rural popularion experiences dirt roads every day!

    Thanks for listening sympathetically to my rant all of you!

  5. Rant away! Nothing more infuriating than a car that lays down on you and new and ot covered ina warranty. I'll give you my GMC suburban suv...lol. It too is a piece of crap. I wouldn't give it to my worst enemy. Maybe that's why General motors had to take 20 billion in bailout money and will still go tits up. ( bankrupt) I'm familiar with Opels, however I haven't seen one for a long time. They were a very popular car in the last energy crisis and then America got lazy and went back to the gas guzzlers. go figure...

    Not sure the exchange rate of your currency to the dollar but it sounds like R15,000 would send me into cardiac arrest. Hope it all pans out for you, but I hear ya on the money going out quickly. I don't even want to know what my numerology number is Kit...it would be too horrible. In this damned recession it would be nice to have money coming IN. lol.

  6. I have several friends who have unkind things to say about Opel Zafiras...we now have our Toyota Prius...our first non French car in almost 20 years...I'll eventually be posting about what we think about it. For now, I'm still too scared to drive it...I prefer dented, scratched- up models, less stress for me :)


Thanks for your comments - I appreciate every one!