Saturday, 28 November 2009

Replacing a blown headlight bulb, in pictures....

bonnet off job on an A2,
you'll have to find somewhere to put it, remember, bodywork scratches so very easily

here's the mirror to help you get on with the job

And this is what you're aiming for, the back of the headlight cluster, once the cover's off, which is a case of pulling the clip to the middle of the car, you'll see

so with a flip of a clip and a pull of that black plug...

  out comes the blown bulb (blown in the middle of the coil)

and now to put the cover back, easily the most difficult and frustrating bit of this task...

get this in, narrow end first, blind, you'll be a genius. Just like me. It took me 5 minutes to get the bonnet off, take out the bulb, put the new one in. Then it took me another 15 to 20 minutes getting this bit of black plastic in the right place.

Well, Kolo's now free to drive around after 3pm now without the fuzz getting all shirty about it.

Replacing a blown headlight bulb

On the A2, replacing a headlight bulb, although not without its difficulties, is still easier than doing the same job on any other car I've had.

Having said that, it really depends on with headlight blows. The British nearside headlight has a large space behind it on the diesel model. On the same car, the offside has less space, much less space. Still, even then, it's far more room to get your hand in compared to say, SouferKa, the 1.6 SportKa we also have.

Anyway, here's some tips to do the job yourself, otherwise a mechanic will charge an hours labour unless you're friends.

Right, get the H7 headlight bulb, make sure you don't touch the glass, as oil from your skin will get hot when the bulb is used and apparently can cause the glass to blow up. Hmm, really, really?

Also bring a shaving mirror, the one with a small frame, not the one screwed to the wall.

I thought that silica gel packs cellotaped to the headlight unit cover would help the VW/Audi lightcluster fogging. So far, it's only helped a bit, not by much.


I took photos to help...

Sunday, 22 November 2009

A quiet week for Kolo

Kolo has been used that much this week. In fact, the A2 was only used to go to tesco's for diesel and then for a drive to comet to look at netbooks.

This has been due to the rain,the constant rain. Kolo still has a blown headlight bulb, and although compared to SouferKa, it's a doddle to change the bulb, it's the fact that the headlight fogs up with the slightest bit of moisture.

This week might be different, the flooding on some of the city's roads will have gone, the debris cleared away as well, yeah a drive might be in order. Even if it back to tesco's from some food shopping or some thing just as dull.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

F1 moving too fast?

In my drafts sits a post summarising the driver and team movement in F1.

Although it is the off season and the post is only 5 days old, it is completely out of date.

So now, instead of an essay, I'm just going write a quick few lines here and there, now and then.....

....because Formula One is moving quicker now, than it has in any off season before!

Brawn no more:
As Ross claimed in the BBC season end program, Mercedes only just pipped Ferrari to the post when it came to supplying his eponymous team with an engine, for free (or in Mercedes' case, shares in BrawnGP). Strange to think, if Luca had beaten Norbert to the hotel room that day, then MercedesSilverArrows F1might not exist as of Monday this week. Mercedes have bought out Ross Brawn to rename his team and the fall out has a knock on effect at Ron Dennis place.
McLaren share buy back:
The McLaren Mercedes divorce is more a strange swingers affair than some clear cut split. Mercedes are going to be engine suppliers to McLaren 'til 2015 but Mercedes will drift technical advancements away for themselves, leaving McLaren with more like a customer spec engine by 2015. The SilverArrows team is thought to be an all German outfit, in terms of drivers, Nico Rosberg will lead the line, although not confirmed. The team is still going to be based in Brackley with Brawn and Fry at the helm.
The 'completely by accident' fallout of the all German team, is the creation of an all British team with Button moving to McLaren to second seat with Hamilton. Mercedes have agreed that there shareholding of McLaren stock will be sold back to the Dennis run company and the tiny McLaren holding in Mercedes will be put to the market.
Force India?
As it stands, the Mercedes engine customer will continue to receive Mercedes power for 2010, although it is thought that Force India can go anywhere if they choose.

I'm in two minds about Button moving to McLaren, it was the only team that has the budget to pay the money he wanted. £6m is thought to be what he got in the end, £2m short of his target fee. Still, looking at Hamilton's wage, £18m, there might be the Alonso-like tension at the first winter test.

The wages are a measure of talent? No, well, yes. Button, at the end of a long season, was not the all conquering hero he looked after the initial six starts. To be honest to Button and Brawn, it really was a downhill coast to the finishing line rather than a rude expression of pure talent: the amount of talent Hamilton seems to exude after even the poorest of results.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

New Door Hinges

Getting Kolo back from the bodyshop (Glasgow Audi, Hillington), I was greeted by a completely valeted car. They even got the chocolate off from between the passenger seat and the centre console.
Now, it wasn't just the warranty work they did for me. As they took the front doors off, they asked to replace the straps that stop the door from flying open. Oh, ok I thought, here we go. But in all fairness, they were not going to charge for labour, so it'll be the cheapest time to do it. Quote, £32, actual cost after VAT, £29.
Hmm, cheaper than they said. Shh, I've strangely just saved £3 and received a £20 valet. They even dressed the tyres!
Sadly, it's not all good news, Kolo lost a headlight bulb, £3* or so online.
So all in all, it's been ok this week.

(*or so I thought, I got a pair of halogen H7 for £4.95. But the cheapest single bulb, £6.99. pff, the internet hey)

Saturday, 14 November 2009

The £20 courtesy car

A VW Polo 1.2 Match (with a new Scirocco)

Nothing much to write about, but, as a courtesy car, it's very good.
I've has a Fiesta, a brand new one for about six months. it was not the new, new edgy design one but the Polo-esque one before. After six months, we were bored of it's dull personalty and tin can feel. So we exchanged it for a SportKa and never thought twice over one of the best decisions SL and I have ever made.
Where the Polo and the mk4 Fiesta do make a good point of being so accessible is when they're used as courtesy or hire cars. The Polo was instantly drivable, nothing flash but nothing difficult either.
You're in the automotive version of a Travelodge; nice to be there for a night, but only because you don't have to live there.
As with the Fiesta, the Polo's interior has a designed look about it. As in, all the buttons, switches and dials have been designed for that vehicle, not a scatter-gun, parts bin aproach. Yet both cabins are flawed because of it. They have the feel of everything, every item being designed with the same amount of time and quality. This should be good but as the total time to create both cars were the same as designing a thorough facelift, the end result is rather dull. The ashtray has the same level of interest as the steering wheel, as the interior light, as the electric window button. Bland, bland, bland.
Spending a couple of days in either the mk4 fiesta or the Polo, well it's fine, nothing to get use to, everything average and in a logical place, space is good too.
But if you where going to spend £9000 or either and have it for three years, no, you'll be wondering if getting the train would be better at stimulating your mind in the morning commute.

As well as the £20 Admiral charged me for celeb hitting in the Polo, I drove 34 miles and put in £4.20 of fuel. Really, it just wasn't worth the bother.
Having said that, had I not been offered a courtesy-mobil, then I would have really needed it for something.

One thing of note
On both dashboards on both superminis: back-lit LCD odometers and trip computers. I only drove the polo once in the dark but really, who's idea was it. The bright blue rectangles in the lower six-0-clock positions of the speedo and rev counter where ruining my night vision. The Fiesta was not as bad, with green glowing LCDs but instead of a physical fuel gauge, the mk4 had a tacky LCD fuel tank made of 5 black bars. Stangely, the new 2009 Polo has adopted this child-like display whilst the mk5 2008 Fiesta has returned to a real needle.

The VW cars are slowly dropping their trademark blue backlighting, shame because when used on a LCD or negative LCD, the blue glow really is good. VW are going for a white glow as on the mk6 Golf, which, I'm not convinced will do any favours when driving at night.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Thank you Admiral, for that....

....extra £20 fee.

It's my own fault.
When Audi Glasgow give you a courtesy car, they expect you to insure it.
Fine, I thought, done this before, odd though it is, with no charge or difference to the level of cover.
Normally, on the two occasions I've had to do this, the courtesy car has been in the same insurance group as my own vehicle, so as you and I would expect, no charge; one car on the road, as one car is off the road being repaired, serviced or whatever.
Not this time.
The courtesy car in question is not a larger-than-Kolo Audi A3 or VW Golf, no it's a 1.2 petrol powered VW Polo. Two whole insurance groups lower than my 1.4TDI A2 SE. The Polo doesn't even have remote central locking.
When I finally drove home, through the rush hour M8 traffic, I really found myself wondering why I have to pay £20 extra for just 3 days in the little VW.
I phone up Admiral, and a nice person in an overseas call centre answered.
"The £20 is for up to a week, it's standard extra charge because if you crash, we would have to pay the full market value of the car."
So, I thought, would you not with my car?
"No, because you do not own the courtesy car, we would have to pay out full amount. Your car it would be different, it's a standard charge to cover this."
He also added
"It covers you also, say you hit a famous person in the courtesy car."
So, when I get my car back, my own car, on Friday the 13th, Celebs in Glasgow better watch out, because I'm not worth much and it would seem, I'm not insured if I hit the famous.
Tomorrow and Thursday however, Celebs, you're fair game!

Hmm, so, £20 down and worms everywhere, can cut open....

....when they say fully comp, they mean, not that fully. A kind of nearly fully.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

French Project: Glasgow

take 1:
Dennistoun to the Glasgow School of Art through the city centre.
Too much traffic, too many slow red traffic lights. Good route though.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Free repair for all A2s....

There is a design fault with the front doors of the Audi A2.
Being aluminium, the design of the driver and front passenger doors are light, but also slightly weak. The aperture for the front doors are large, not so much in length but in height. Much larger than the rear doors. Yet all four doors have the same number of hinges of the same design. The aluminium around the front hinges therefore suffer from larger amounts of stress (and the driver door; use too) and can result in cracking around the top hinge housing and hinge plate (but not the plate itself). As a result of this very common fault, Audi have created a new design for the bottom hinge and a fix for the top hinge surround.

The cost? Completely free. Audi UK have informed all Audi main dealers in the UK to be aware of this and if asked, to do the repair at an Audi approved aluminium specialist.
Now, some dealerships will plead ignorance to this. Swear it doesn't exist or worse, say your A2 is too old and you've missed the boat. Ask for the boss, if (s)he doesn't acknowledge this either, ask for his/her business card and say you are going to contact Audi UK.
(try to start with)
Audi UK com down hard on dealerships that don't comply with their exacting standard requirements for not only work but also customer service.

So stand your ground, be brave in the knowledge that you are in the right. All A2s are covered.
This is as close to a product recall as you can get without actually going about recalling all A2s.

There will be images to follow to show what to look for.
(Even if you are not sure, the dealership should look for free. Al they have to do is open the front doors and feel around the front hinge. They and you don't need to take off the doors to look)

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

When in Bexhill....

Here is a video of the Denbigh corner in Bexhill (as mentioned in

Really, it's better than Eau Rouge.
(As in, you don't have to drive to Belgium to try it out, or be a F1/GT racer.)
This video doesn't do it justice but the traffic on Sundays in a retirement town is, well, this was the best take.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Time for a tidy for 'Living with a revolutionary Audi A2'

Over the next week, I, the author will go over all the previous posts and links and tidy up.

There are also a number of posts in draft stage and maybe I'll be able to publish all of them or edit them into one large ramble.

I would also like to clear up grammatical and spelling errors along the way too.

I wouldn't want to come across as a complete bumpkin now would I.


See you a week Monday, (unless something comes up)

O W Dawson

A2OC: The value of having an Owners Club

It's not geeky to be a member of a Car Owners' Club. Well maybe if you were under 50 and a member of the MG-OC. There are a few more clubs that fall into the board borderline category but overall, no matter how other people view it, there is a value in being a part of one. I'm sure some of you reading still aren't convinced the benefits out weigh the awkward socials with people who really have nothing in common with you.
But who said they had to be awkward. Remember that a car (especially a new one) is the second most expensive purchase you will make. It's the same likelihood you will get on with your neighbours; they chose to live where you chose to live because their life choices are similar to yours. Why shouldn't that apply to vehicle choices too? Why should the people choosing the same car as you be radically different to you? You would all place the same values on the car's 'character and persona' as each other, why else did you make the same choice? Well, there are people how just don't care, granted, but they would not need the back up of an OC. As soon as the car's warranty is up or as soon as the car runs out of it's usable life, exchange or scrap is what they do next.
The people who do care however: honestly, an OC is worth it.
To take the A2OC as an example, you firstly have to look at the decision on why buy an Audi A2. As a new car, the first rung on the Audi ownership ladder turned out to be not as cheap as Audi imagined. In some cases, the A2 was more than decent but not greatly spec'd A3s. Kolo for example was just over £19,000 in 2001. That's a lot of money for a so called supermini, especially pre-BMW Mini. However many reasons why the A2 was so expensive to make and sell are great reasons why you'd look out for one used. The TDI engines are direct injection and pretty bulletproof, even the more powerful one still gets the £35 Road Fund Licence. The aluminium body is rust proof unlike anything else in your budget. What is there not to like with prices as low as £2500 for a basic spec'd petrol.
However, no matter how good a car is, it is still a car, made of thousands of parts and out of many different materials. Things do go wrong. Even new cars go wrong. But when they're older, there is no manufacturers warranty to help you out. What is needed is a cheap way of finding out what will go bad before it does and when it does, the knowledge to get passed the mechanics waffle. What is also needed is an opinion unbiased by a hidden motive. What is needed is a OC.
The A2 is a weird choice for an ordinary runabout because of it's looks. The A2 has a result is sort out: you own an A2 because you want an A2. The owners are of a type that appreciate the Luc Donkervoke lines and the strange looks they can still evoke. Owners are out and out extraverts in some cases, most are technology savvy too. Thus the A2OC. A web based forum of owners that post up issues and experiences they have with their A2s. There is a wealth of information and sources to help you avoid the pitfalls and help on improving on Audi's product.
So far, the A2OC in general and a member called Skipton01 specifically, has helped me:
*find the cause of the power loss
*fix the ashtray
*diagnose the onboard computer for faults
*choose the right sized alloys with the right amount of offset
*fit cruise control
*fix brake and ABS fault (turned out to be a brake pedal operated brake light switch)
*helped me know what a mechanic was saying was completely wrong (saving me £500)
There is more but surely the last one is reason alone.
The A2OC is not only web based, it's a social thing too. Members regularly meet up, some members are good friends with each other. Not not just the cars either.
As I stated before, if you appreciate one thing of the same reason as someone else, you will both also have very similar opinions on other things too. And isn't that why people get along? The fact that it can help you save money, improve your ownership experience and are given a clue to what mechanics say just a bonus. Join an OC, even if there is a fee, the information you gain is probably worth double the amount. Do it today. Honestly, you don't have to stick the sticker in the window if you still feel weird about it, we understand.

The cost of driving.....

......Insurance, MOT & Tax.

Oh dear, the start of November was looking like a costly month. However, it was not as bad as it could have been.
Nine months ago, on the Audi channel on Sky, Audi UK were advertising a free MOT to any Audi driver. All you had to do was to print off a receipt from their website after enter your postcode, Reg. number and the date of the MOT. Then, Audi UK will book you in at the nearest Audi approved dealer or official main dealership. All for free. No catch, right, well, obviously they'll fail the car and cover there costs with something or other that has to be fixed.
As it turned out, Audi Glasgow and other Audi main dealers don't charge MOTs on older Audis anyway, but you live and learn these things. So on the 26th of October, Kolo the 8 year old A2 went in for it's test.
Of course. But on the pettiest of things: loose indicator repeaters in both wings. Yes they were loose, I broke them, they do work however! So it should really be an advisory note, not a fail. However £32.68 to supply and fit (at a main dealer). Not bad, still cheaper than £45 for a MOT these days. Plus I was going to fix them, they could have shorted in the Glasgow rain, so, in a way, two stones. They also washed and polished Kolo, they didn't even mention it. Very good Glasgow Audi. From the huge disappointment of the last visit at AforAudi, main dealer service doesn't seem as costly or as frustrating as I've experienced before.
Insurance time, the costly side of Admiral Multicar. Instead of just facing one renewal, it's time to shop for two.
I've been on S L's insurance for too long to keep my No-Claims, when we had just one car. Then, 12 months ago, we bought a second car. Phoning up Admiral and explaining my situation with with 0 No-Claims, they Multicar'd me. I didn't care at the time as it was by far the cheapest insurance I could get. On paper, I'm not the best person to insure: a 27 year old male, inner city Glasgow address, a premium car make, 0 years N-C bonus.
The renewal cost this year for both cars: £807.03. Going on all these price comparison sites that advertise with ever increasing frequency and ever increasingly annoying gingles did not save me anything, one site: £985, for just me! I then went onto Admiral's own site: £734 for both cars and drivers. Phoned them up to ask why, after a 50 minute chat to a friendly Welsh woman, £704 with added 'Non Insured Driver Legal Cover' for both myself and S L, so if a NID hits me or S L, in either car, all occupants can claim compensation for injuries and loses, without affecting our N-Cs bonuses.
Bargain, as Paul Whitehouse would say, in his poor Welsh accent.

So, Saved £13 or so on the MOT and £103 on the insurance renewal. Plus Tax is only £35 on this low capacity, low CO2 Diesel.

Not the most well written post I've made but maybe with £116s worth of English grammar tuition, I might get better*.

(*because that's what I'll spend it on, hmm)