Last year, her onboard computer seemed to bear a grudge, re-living ancient faults to her oxygen sensors when there was nothing, in fact, wrong. My faithful garage man took a month to track down the fault as essentially one of automotive psychology. He removed Caroline's computer, let it cool down on his test bench, and plugged it back in. End of problem. This reminded me of the scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey when astronaut Dave Bowman disconnects HAL, the malevolent computer. 'What are you doing, Dave?' the computer asks. The reminder is all the stronger because my mechanic just happens to be called Dave.
This year, Dave has taken five weeks (and counting) to track down another fault in the same system. As I understand it, the fault is as follows: the current fuel/air mixture is very slightly too rich, and the relevant sensor is overcompensating by adding more air to the mixture, such that Caroline burns very lean.
I should point out that there is nothing actually wrong with Caroline. Lean burning suits her, and she has the engine of de-coked sparkle that wouldn't disgrace a car of half her mileage. However, Caroline's emissions don't square with the gummint's increasingly strict air quality regulations - an entirely cooked up mechanical fault, dreamed by some idiot in Whitehall. I think it's all a conspiracy to get us to scrap perfectly good cars and buy new ones that we don't need under a smokescreen of environmental health, when it's really all about propping up the motor trade.
Whatever it is, Dave (who says he is now on the point of sending Caroline hate mail) is trying to introduce a kind of valve thingy to outsmart the air sensor.
Honestly, in my day, all you did was lift the hood and twiddle with the screw on the carburettor. Sorted. And they call it progress?