(Photo credit: Pixabay.com)
My car started complaining about the lack of AdBlue (used to break down nitrogen-oxides in the exhaust of diesel cars) in its reservoir.
As a responsible car owner, I ignored it.
Until three weeks later it started getting the huff and told me, as a responsible vehicle, that it would refuse to start in 234 miles unless I did something about it.
So, I did. I phoned the Mercedes garage. The conversation went thus:
Me: “Hi, my car is insisting it needs AdBlue or it’s going on strike.”
Mercedes: “Ah. Yes. OK. Well, from your reg number, that’s an E Class and the reservoir takes 20 litres.”
Me: “OK. How much?”
Mercedes: “It’s not bad. £11 for 10 litres plus VAT, so…”
Me: “Great! Where do I put it?”
Mercedes: “No idea. Don’t you have a hole next to your diesel tank for it?”
Me: “Um, no.”
Mercedes: “Well, we can fit it for you.”
Now, I’m thinking, FIT it for me? It’s not a frigging air-horn. It’s a fluid. But I don’t know where it goes and pouring it into the wrong place is probably going to cost me a LOT more than having someone knowledgeable just deal with it. How much can it cost, after all, to get someone to pour some liquid into the right reservoir in my car?
Now, anyone that has ever had to put their car into a Mercedes garage for ANY fucking reason at ALL, no matter how inconsequential, is probably pissing themselves laughing right now.
As the sound of a calculator getting abused by greedy little fingers drifted into my car (I was on hands free), my mind screamed at me, ‘Do you remember the coolant leak six months ago? £38 in parts and £380 to refill the system plus diagnosis? WELL, do you?!? That cost you £860 fucking quid for a washer and a hose!’
I’ll admit I was quivering in anticipation.
Mercedes: “That’ll be £99 and change. When would you like me to book you in?”
It’s difficult to fall off your seat in a car. There are doors and a steering wheel and a drive tunnel cum arm rest to contend with but I almost managed it.
Me: “You want £75 to pour some fluid into my car? Are you kidding me?”
I stabbed the terminate call button on the steering wheel and took the next off-ramp.
Twenty minutes later, I pulled up outside Halfords. Locking the car, I strode in, still seething.
The guy at the till took my raging demeanour in his stride, clearly an everyday occurence.
“AdBlue,” I hissed. “Could you point it out?”
“Ah – over there. We’ve got a top-up deal on it too.”
£11.50 per 10 litres and they’ll put it in the right receptacle for you.
I had to wait 15 minutes until the technician had sorted someone’s wing mirror and topped up another person’s oil but he was pleasant, competent and efficient. He showed me where the reservoir was located (it’s where you would normally find the spare wheel that no longer exists – don’t get me started on that) and emptied the 10 litres into it, then cleaned up after himself.
It took him 5 minutes, tops.
I related the conversation I had with Mercedes to him and he was shocked. “It’s free this week. We normally charge £5. How much more could you ask for without taking the utter rip?”
That’s a FUCKING GOOD QUESTION Mercedes-Benz!
They must think we’re all congenital idiots with massive trust funds to drain.
Thank you Halfords, I would recommend your services to anyone now. And your tech guy was brand new, an absolute credit to your company.
£11.50 FITTED (sic) vs £99 and change.
You do the math.