12 March 2013 ~ 2 Comments

Our cars: 2001 Polo GTI – report nine

Rich Gooding is now 18 months into Polo GTI ownership. The car’s proving largely reliable, but maybe the driver needs some attention…

Retro-fit aero windscreen wipers quieter than conventional items

March 2013 marks the full 18-month anniversary of the Polo GTI’s and my time together. We’ve covered almost 20,000 miles in that time, and I’m please to say, we’re still the best of friends. Y464 GHJ has had quite a busy life since my last report in December, with a few unplanned for jobs being completed. First up, was the fitment of aero-style wiper blades. First fitted to Polos from the 9N in 2002, the single-blade rubber wipers have no exposed metalwork, so that in theory, they should create a much quieter passage through the air. Fitting is easy: just insert the end of the wiper arm into the wiper and snap the cover shut. They’re cheap, too – for less than £5.00, I bought a set of two 19-inch items for the front, and one 12” blade for the rear. To be honest, with the repeated cold snaps, I’ve not noticed that much difference to the noise due to the blades being cold, but they look much neater.

2001 Volkswagen Polo GTI: aero windscreen wipers

Throughout the colder months, the car had been quite reluctant to start, too. It did start, but not without losing the temperature gauge and also the trip meter mileage display. It didn’t really matter how cold it was either, as there was no pattern as to when it would complain. Then, one morning in February, I was down at the local sorting office, when it absolutely point blank refused to start. A jump got me on my way, and I called in straight away to Sani’s Motors (01245 460040), who diagnosed a flat battery. By a stroke of luck, the ever-friendly chaps had a genuine one in stock, so managed to squeeze the GTI and I in there and then (I was on my way to work), and £69.60 later, we were on our way again. It hasn’t happened since.

Finally, just last week saw the car go back to Sani’s once more for its MoT. While it flew through with no immediate problems, there were a few advisories. Well, five to be precise. The handbrake only just met the required park brake efficiency, while all four discs and sets of pads will need replacing. They’re all worn and are close to the limit for efficiency, but as I’ve not replaced them in the whole time I’ve owned the car, it wasn’t a total surprise. The next service is impending, so I’ll get them sorted then.

Talking of flying, the Polo very nearly went for a hedge excursion the first week back to work after Christmas. Driving down the A113 which has a left-hand camber on a right-hand bend which then opens up to a left-hand corner, the car almost overshot the road, and trying to correct it, the back end stepped out. A final correction put the car back on an even course and in the right direction, but I will admit it scared me for the whole journey and I now take that corner much more carefully. I still don’t know whether it was the road surface or my entry speed, or a combination of both, but I suspect part of the problem that day was down to the sometimes overly-light power steering. The car feels like it’s on tip-toe sometimes, too, and it took me a while to start to trust it again.

2001 Volkswagen Polo GTI

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