Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Horn Upgrade

Been driving our new Polo for almost a week now, and I'm really pleased with it. My feet nuzzle luxuriously into the deep pile of the new mats, and the new Satellite Navigation system I bought feels right at home on the windscreen (more about SatNav another time). There are one or two niggling things wrong though: The VW logo plate is missing from the centre of one of the rear wheels (not sure if this was the case when I took delivery or if it disappeared subsequently), and one of the plastic collars that hold the pins of the rear headrests has broken away from its fixing inside the seat, with the result that when you adjust or remove said headrest, the collar comes with it, leaving an open wound of foam rubber on the top of the seat. However irritating these may be to me (and believe me: stuff like this really irritates me), they pale into insignificance next to the shame that is the horn. It sounds like Noddy's horn, and has about the same power to intimidate. I feel like sounding it on the open road is going to have one of two effects: either no-one will notice or the bigger cars and vans will turn and laugh, ridiculing the little runt that can't manage more than a whimper. I have a mental image of my car being pushed back and forth in a circle of big bully cars with evil grins, chanting "Weedy Horn! Weedy Horn!".

I'm used to better than this. The horn on my Prado in Riyadh used to blow the fur off stray cats at the roadside. So, I went out and bought a new horn. A loud, two-tone new horn. A horn to hide behind, a horn whose coat to hold in a fight. What peace of mind and new-found confidence It'll give me, and all for £15.99 from Halfords.

Next challenge: getting the new tough-guy horn fitted. I went along to the local VW dealer yesterday, thinking that I'd get them to fit the new horn, fix the headrest collar and wheel logo under warranty, and while I'm there I'll take advantage of their offer to upgrade the central locking system for £19.95. I think this is another make-small-car-feel-like-big-car ploy on my part, since the feature the upgrade adds is one that I've only seen on more expensive cars in the past. Once upgraded the central locking will engage automatically when you drive off, and unlock automatically when you remove the ignition key.

An hour and a half after handing over the keys I was given the following verdict:
  • Wheel logo plate: not covered under Warranty. New one can be ordered for £11
  • Headrest collar: not covered under Warranty. New one would cost £81 to order and fit.
  • Horn: they will not fit a 3rd-party product to the car, but can offer a VW horn upgrade for £320
  • Central Locking upgrade: done.
Eighty-one pounds for a plastic collar?? Three hundred and twenty to replace the horn?? No thanks! Back in Riyadh I could have simply instructed our driver to get it all fixed, and the car would have been delivered back to the house later the same day, washed and vacuumed inside and with all the work done for around £20.

I drove away wondering where else to turn to get my horn installed, and whether I can live with the knowledge of the broken headrest collar, then felt a bit better as the car passed the 5mph mark and the central locking engaged with a secure "clunk".


Jason Williams said...

Why not go back to the guy that rented you vehicle number 3 (4?). He seemed like an upstanding fellow and, being covered in grease, ideally suited to the task at hand :-)

Chris said...

Guess I could do, but that would be too easy wouldn't it? Why not go and entrust my new car to another complete stranger instead? At least it will give me something else to write about.