Yoda in the Skoda

There was a Mondeo in Bellmullet. Test, no tax, “….she won’t need much….” after that it was all Ballina, Ballycastle and Castlebar. Passats, Hondas and heaps of Insignias. There was Insignias everywhere. All washed, looking good, but dead inside. “Engine light on, not sure, probably just a sensor…” which is Chinese for that oil seal yoke that blows the engine that everyone suddenly knows about and is dying to tell you only after you buy it. Been there, done that, burnt the fuckin t-shirt. One lad had a Skoda for sale but had no keys. The car was locked but you could look in the side window and if you liked what you saw you could tow it away. No tax, test, and no logbook “…hence the price…” 

On went the dream. A Kia in Limerick. A Tuscon in Crossmolina. Cars in the North at crazy cheap prices til you add the VRT and the wonderful Nox. An Avensis in Headford. A Focus in Roscommon.  Lads offering PCP. Sure PCP is easy. Almost certain to get it. Here’s one now, a nice 1 litre, affordable, reliable, guaranteed. Call today, drive away. Yours by lunch, no credit crunch. Take the wheel, enjoy the steal. Want to go far, then buy this car. Sure that’ll do, time to get out of the dregs, into the big leagues, shiny at the football pitch with the child, big shtuff. Here we went, just a case of picking it up. There was breeze, a bruised sky, and an uncertain salesman. Yeah, them deals were a while ago, where’d you read that?  

– Internet. 

-Oh right. See. Well. Let’s try.  

We tried. There was paperwork. Questions. More questions. Questions about questions. Bit like giving blood. Then there was forms. Beloved forms. Upload this, scan that, make sure it’s this date and from these places only. Now we’ll think about it. Hit submit and we’ll be back within 48 to 72 hours and we might need more. Depends on if you fucked it up. No car today, no steal of a deal or fancy wheels making lunch time reels around shiny new leather roundabouts of long term debt and wonderful guarantees of reliable travel. 

Back to Donedeal. Even the Skoda with no keys was gone by now.  

The phone rang, then. The dealer that bought the Peugeot. Christ, Jesus, why’s he ringing me? Didn’t I tell him it didn’t work? He was hardly wondering about the weedkiller in the engine? 

I answered with a tentative, hello? Like I wasn’t sure who it was. Casual, innocent, blameless in this whole mess.  

He didn’t buy it, asked: ‘Have you got a new car yet?  


‘Are you still lookin for somethin? I met your oul fella downtown. He said you were lookin…’ 

‘I….am. Well, just waiting on a PCP….’ 

‘I have a yoke here for ya.’ 

‘Oh yeah?’ 

‘Yeah, two months test, tax, and in good shape. I’ll call around and show to ya.’ 


‘Are you at the house?’ 


‘Sound….I’ll be outside in two minutes.’ 

And he was.  




The fuse.

Vectra going well. Yellow engine light still on and the cigarette lighter gone. Great craic if you’re into dead phones. Said I’d change the fuse. Big plan, DIY plan. Looked up the biblical Youtube and a Polish lad had a video where you find the fusebox. It was in the boot, on the left, behind some kinda carpet door. Checked there, found it. But no diagram telling me which one was which. One could be the lights, the other could be the radio, and who knew which one affected the cigarette lighter. The experts said if the fuse was gone then there should be a break in the centre of the circuit. You’ll see it, it’ll be obvious. If the fuse is blown, then change it. Could be a 15A. Maybe a 20. There’s 7.5 fuses too and there’s 10. Be simple. Shtill, said I better ask someone just in case. How’d you blow the car this time, Micky? Fixed it myself with Youtube videos. No thanks.

Went to Motor Factors.

There was big sign that said: OPEN SEVEN DAYS and it was stone closed. No joy there. Chanced Mr.Price for the gammy boxes of car sets with lights and accessories but they were all sold out.

It was back to Youtube so. Sure probably be grand. Later, in the dark, inspired, I started pulling out each fuse with a tweezers. Shining the light from the phone on each one. Here’s a yellow one, has a radio look about it. There’s the red one, bit like a Marlboro, definitely a contender. What’s the craic with that purple one? Looks a bit weird, could be wipers, windows, screenwasher, maybe just the interior lights.

Looking for a break inside each one. No break. Nothing to say any of them should be changed. This meant messy. Wiring, Diagnostics, shrugs from mechanics cos it’s only your the cig lighter, like, get over it. Sound, yeah. Thanks

Then, the car wouldn’t start. It sort of coughed and heaved, and then did nothing. Just died with loads of lights on the dash. This was unexpected. Usually it’s more dramatic, like when you’re on the motorway, or it’s three in the morning, or in a Red Warning storm, or maybe all three. But this was just – no thanks. Not starting. Can’t be fucked like. I tried it again. No go. Great. Thought about ringing the breakdown assistance, but it was bit early for that, and I wasn’t sure how to explain what went wrong. What’s the problem, Michael?

‘Them lads on Youtube lied to me.’


That kinda thing. So it was back to the carpet box of fuses. Something looked wrong. That bright yellow one. Looked like a lozenger, out of place. Luckily I’d taken a picture with my phone before I started pulling them all out. Referred to that. Yeah, the yellow one was two places too high. Stuck in some empty space for something else the car doesn’t do. Who knows. Stuck it back again, in the right place, turned the ignition and it started.

A real purr, like what’s the problem, like can we not drive somewhere?

So I put it first and hoped for the best. Still no cigarette lighter though. That Youtube should be banned.