I keep having to put fuel in the XM, which is a bit disconcerting, as it’ll do over 800 miles on a tank of fuel. In recent weeks, it has dragged the 2CV’s bodyshell up to Bradford, hauled a caravan from North Wales to home and transported me to events and meetings all over the place.
This weekend, it was family and friends at the heart of things, which saw us dash over to Sussex for a start off. This was to allow us to catch up with Rachel’s sister and family, which is always a pleasure. The motorways were generally kind to us, and the XM ate up the miles with only a slightly iffy indicator stalk giving any concern – the indicator relay was occasionally clicking very quickly. Apparently, that’s down to dirty connections. I’ll have to pull the switch apart and see if I can improve things.
Not that indicator switch wear is likely to be a problem for most Audi drivers. We encountered some right royal twonks on our travels, and they really have replaced BMW drivers as the problem motorists. I did take real exception to one Audi-driving idiot, who just gently drifted into my lane with no signal, forcing me to take action to avoid him. What is actually wrong with these people? I mean, for the most part, the motorway was flowing in a marvellous display of synchronised common-sense. Entirely random people coming together, and making something work. Pretty much every BMW driver I saw displayed excellent indicator and lane manners. Not the Audis though.
The next stage of the journey saw us travel from Sussex to Sidmouth, in Devon. It was an utterly horrible journey – the sort I’ve had rather too many of in the south of England over the years. Traffic was heavy throughout, with some sections of the A31 down to an absolute crawl. Google maps reckoned 3.5 hours for the trip. It took over 5 hours. Rubbish! Not helped by Devon council closing the road between Honiton and Sidmouth, but only mentioning this fact at the start of the road in Honiton. We could easily have diverted around it if we had known. The diversion signs were hopeless too. Fortunately, Rachel has map skills.
On arrival in Sidmouth, where we caught up with an old friend and drank tea, the XM started running its cooling fans, even though it wasn’t hot and the key had been removed. I had to open the bonnet and start wiggling relays until it stopped. It does this from time to time, because Citroen decided putting the relays in an exposed position behind the headlamps was a good idea. It isn’t.
From Sidmouth, it was a quick hop up to Tiverton for a gathering of my family. By now, the XM was annoying me. The clunky gearchange and horrible clutch are the main complaints, but the exceedingly random central locking is also a pain, and the driver’s seat lacks lumbar support, so it hurts after several hours at the wheel.
After a few days in Devon, we headed back home today and were treated to the sight of a Skoda Octavia dangling in the air on the M5, because its caravan had got blown over. It had obviously wagged the dog in a big way, leaving impressive skid marks and the whole rig pointing the wrong way. It has been pretty windy, but it’s a reminder of why some call them wobble boxes…
As we left the motorway behind and got onto the twisty roads of Wales, the XM’s steering started to play up. It’s done this a few times recently, where the steering assistance seems to suddenly and randomly diminish at times. It makes it very hard to drive smoothly, as you’ve no idea how much assistance you’ll have when you turn in. I’ve had it on BXs before, and I’m hoping a hydraulic service will sort it out. At the very least, I’ll pull the filters out of the LHM tank and give them a good clean. I may not have time for a full hydraulic flush, though it probably should have one after 133,000 miles.
So, not a problem-free trip, but we did cover over 600 miles without actually breaking down. I must take some comfort in that. I didn’t really manage to get any photos of the car either. I usually take loads of photos of my cars. Is that a bad sign?