You’re going in that?
Do you think it will make it?
You’re brave!

These were some of the more savoury things that people said to me when I was taking the Clio on a little trip from the South Coast to Wales recently. Honestly, anyone would have thought that I was travelling to Mongolia in a Ford Model-T, judging by some of the negative comments. Over a weekend, I did over 450 comfortable miles in the Clio, running about 62 mpg at motorway speeds listening to crackle-free DAB radio.

It’s strange isn’t it. This little car is 16 years old and has the odd battle scar, but it’s complete, is still car shaped and doesn’t sound like a bag of rusty bolts. It’s merely old and used, but if my recent experience is anything to go on, it raises the question: How old does a car have to be before the average person starts to doubt its reliability or usefulness?

It’s a funny thing isn’t it. Perhaps it’s the pressure of clever marketing? Or, trying to keep up with the Jones’. Or just getting ‘bored’ with your current model. Whatever it is, changing a car frequently does one thing really well and that’s empty your wallet.

I’ve had the Clio for nearly 12 months and am starting to wonder how I’m going to get away with it. I’ve spent peanuts on keeping this car alive, I fuel it up every couple of months and don’t really worry about where I park it. It’s been quite a liberating experience. It could all end in tears if the engine decides to explode and if it did, I’d be fibbing if I said that I wouldn’t care. I’ve started to build a bit of a bond with this old motor, but at the end of the day, even if the big end did decide to drop out at 4000 RPM on the M4, I would still have had a cheap motoring year.

This is the point; if your banger throws in the towel just around the corner or 5 hours away from home, you phone your recovery agent, get recovered and buy another. Don’t worry about the Jones’ Q7, sit back, relax (try not to feel smug) in your banger with all its wear and tear knowing that you’re not losing £500 a month in depreciation. PS: I saw two breakdowns by the side of the road on my trip and both cars were less than 18 months old.

Small note: As I do mainly short journeys, I put some Redex Diesel additive in the tank on this longer run and after half a tank of fuel, the car’s engine pick-up is definitely better. It’s good stuff. www.holtsauto.com/redex/products/diesel-system-cleaner

Costs so far (excluding fuel):
On the road £443.00 (inc. car, insurance etc)
Costs incurred (excluding fuel) £4.99 (Redex)
Servicing costs £0.00
Miles covered 2000 ish
Breakdowns None
Depreciation None (market value £300 with MoT)

Follow Matt: @fix_it_workshop or fixitworkshop.co.uk