6 Feb 2014

How Much Junk Do You Need In Your Car?

I spent many years purely driving my own cars.  I would own each for around 12 months and then get bored of it and buy a different one, not necessarily a better one just a different one for the sake of it being different.

I wrote a list of all the cars I've owned since I passed my test in 1988 and posted it to the Speedmonkey Facebook page.  Join in with your own list if you like, quite a few have already.  The post is embedded below.

Anyway, after 12 months of ownership and prior to being put on sale I'd have to clean the car out.  This takes ages, primarily because it would be so full of junk.  And then when the car was sold I'd go to the massive pile of stuff from the old car and deposit it all in the new car, in all the 'right' places.

My jobs over the years have meant I've spent hours in my cars.  It seems every time I got a car I'd bring something in my pocket and leave it in the car, thinking it would come in useful at some point.

Typically the junk would include:

  • A penknife (with a tooth pick for picking at my teeth in traffic jams)
  • A tiny torch which I've had since 1998 and never used once
  • CDs.  Many, many CDs (before CDs were cassette tapes, many cassette tapes)
  • A folder containing even more CDs
  • A toilet roll (for spillages and emergency windscreen clearing)
  • Kitchen paper (for cleaning my glasses (toilet paper leaves residue on the glass))
  • A small ring-bound UK road map for the glove box
  • A large paperback UK road map that lives in the pocket behind the passenger seat
  • A satnav
  • A phone charger (currently an iPhone5 cable)
  • A twin pin 12 volt plug so the satnav and phone charger can both function at the same time
  • A tiny can of de-icer in the glove box
  • A large can of de-icer in the boot
  • An ice scraper
  • A rug on the back seat (in case the boot was full and the dog had to go on the seat)
  • A small ring-bound note pad
  • Many pens
  • Several post-it pads
  • A bag of old sweets
  • Some toy cars to keep the children amused
  • A Game Boy (for about three years in the 2000s)
  • A Halfords wheel wrench (normally kept in the spare wheel well next to the car's own wheel wrench
  • Chewing gum
  • Wellington boots
  • My Barbour which I bought in 1989 (and which is still waterproof despite never having been re-waxed)
  • A Goretex jacket
  • A bottle (or two) of water
  • A handful of coins
  • A first aid kit with half the plasters missing
  • An emergency triangle from an old Saab (this was abandoned two years ago after one of the dogs did some diarrhoea on it)
  • Some spare bulbs (which was a generic kit so might not have even fitted the car)

I'm sure, even after wracking my brains, that there are some items missing.  The point is that is a lot of junk to haul from car to car.

And at no point did I think that was a tad too much until I got into this writing malarkey and started getting press cars delivered to my home.

Since April last year a steady succession of new cars has come and gone.  Some for three or four days and some for a week.  When a press car turns up I use it as my day to day car and take it wherever I need to go whether that be a 400 mile round trip or just on the school run with a blast at the weekend.

And the sum total of all that junk I put in a press car?  The penknife, wellies, iPhone cable and satnav (if the car's own satnav is useless (which most are)).

My own BMW is loaded down with all the junk, mouldering away with the passage of time.

The silly thing is that when I come to sell the BMW I will remove all the junk, put it on the work bench in my garage and put it all back in the new car - in all the 'right' places.  I know full well I'll never use 99% of it but it is a comfort that it is all there.

Which is daft.  But I couldn't bear to throw it all away.
This is a generic photo I pinched from ExpressLane.com

By Matt Hubbard