WINTER: Anti-Freeze/Coolant Time – SAVE MONEY!

WINTER: Anti-Freeze/Coolant Time – SAVE MONEY!

And you thought this blog was all just ranting and porn?

Shame on you!

I’m actually going to pass on a tip here that will save you money!

Longer-term followers will know that The Mighty Uno (my first car) died at the start of this year.  Well, it was going fine, but it was blowing out all its coolant, so probably a head gasket problem.  Not that it’s really relevant…

Sooo… After riding bikes through Winter before this, I’d never skimped on anti-freeze.  Basically, what happens in severe cold is the fluid freezes inside your engine, and as it freezes water expands.  This will crack the shit out of your pipes and even the engine block itself, meaning you can be left with a huge bill and a very broken car/bike.

It’ s not worth saving money here.  Coolant prices have soared over the last few years so you’re looking at paying about £30 for 3 litres of decent name-brand stuff – that’s much cheaper than a new engine, so it’s a bargain!  You also have to change it every 3 years or so or it loses its effectiveness.

Still with me?

So rather than paying £10+ per day topping up the Fiat, I stocked up on a load of pre-mixed anti-freeze from a local Pound Land (for £1 per litre, surprisingly!).  I scrapped The Mighty Uno back in February, and left the rest of the anti-freeze sat in the garage.  Then recently I bought the old Kawasaki GPZ500, and as I had no idea how long its coolant had been in there, decided to change it.  And remembered the cheap-ass coolant.

I tested it with a proper tester for a laugh, and all the balls floated (it’s very technical), indicating that this cheap stuff was good for at least -30c or -40c temperatures!  For reference, if I’d bought the usual expensive stuff to mix myself I’d have diluted it to protect to around -20c.

Gawd, this was supposed to be a short blog!

So the moral is, if you haven’t changed your coolant for 3 years in your car or bike, for the sake of £3 (most cars or bikes take less than 3l to fill), get some of this stuff and get it in there! 

It’s from Pound Land (but I think other similar shops stock it, too) and called ‘Pro-Driver anti freeze‘.

And don’t say I never give you anything!

Look, McDimbo – That Does Not Work Out Cheaper Does It?

Look, McDimbo – That Does Not Work Out Cheaper Does It?

So I park my bike up next to the main windows, quickly check my tyres to feel the temperature and see if there’s anything left on the left-hand side (that Cloverleaf tears up your tyres),  take off my helmet, and stride in through the doors like some kind of Knight In Biking Armour.

As I approach the counter, I slip the rucksack off my shoulders and unzip it ready to put my food in.

The McEmployee calls me over and asks if they can take my order.

Oh yes, they can.

“Could I have a Big Mac and Large Fries, please?”

“JUST a Big Mac and fries?”  She looks at me like I’ve gone mad.

“Yes, a Big Mac and LARGE Fries.” I correct, just in case.

“Don’t you want the meal?”

Here’s where my ‘You Tithead’ look drops over my face like a dead monkey falling out of the Happy Tree.  I glance at my Shoei helmet on the counter, and yes, it does appear that I’m still wearing full leathers.

“No, I don’t.”  If I’d wanted the fucking Meal, I’d have asked for the fucking Meal!  Give me some credit!

“It works out cheaper.”  McDimbo advises, like he’s getting one over on The Clown.

Now, by this stage I’ve totally lost it.  I knew it was coming, but we can all hope that this time will be different.

You may have noticed that I didn’t go through the Drive-Thru.  It would be awkward to lean over to the windows, and I’d spend about 20 mins taking kit off and putting it back on again to pay and stow stuff away.


Hence I want a Big Mac and Large Fries.  I once used to believe these were available without some kind of Siamese bloody drink attached.

That bit, although it makes me want to tear off McDimbo’s face and spew down her nose-hole, is kind-of forgivable.  People are stupid, and even those that aren’t sometimes don’t think things through.

But I can’t forgive this line:

“It works out cheaper.”

HOW does it *puts on a silly high voice* “work out cheaper”????

A Big Mac and Large Fries costs £3.09.

A Big Mac Meal, which includes Regular (note not Large) Fries, and a Regular Drink – and this costs £3.10.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but paying a penny more to get a drink I can’t fucking take with me, and smaller Fries than I want, DOES NOT ‘WORK OUT CHEAPER’!!!!!!

“No, just the Big Mac and Large Fries, thanks” I say through a psychotic smile.

Bunch of fucking clowns.

Super Supermarket Fuel And Why Not To Be A Skinflint

Super Supermarket Fuel And Why Not To Be A Skinflint

I’ve banged on about petrol for years, and how the stuff supermarkets get is inferior, dirty crap that isn’t worth the so-called ‘saving’ you make in the price over the big name brands.

There has always been strong opposition from people who say it’s exactly the same petrol that they sell, I’m being a picky snobbish twat, and even if it did make a difference I wouldn’t be able to tell.

Now I defend this by tests I’ve done using different types of fuel over the years which have shown that I get better mileage, and that far outweighs the price saving of the cheaper stuff.  I’ve found there is a hierarchy with Shell at number 1 which I think makes an audible difference (and please note here that I’m talking about high octane ‘Super Unleaded’ fuels for all of this blog – I’d rather piss in my tank than put 95 RON crap in my bikes), with BP a clear second, and Texaco and Esso following up with not so big a gain to be had.

Things could have changed – so a few weeks ago I decided to put it to the test again.  OK, so I got some fuel vouchers for Tesco and decided to use them.  Whatever.
I put 3 tanks of their finest Super Unleaded in the bike for their bargain prices.

After a few days the bike started to run like shit.  A flat spot developed low down in the rev range, which meant pulling away suffered big-time.  Then shortly afterwards several more of these flatspots started to appear higher up the rev range, showing up when I was overtaking.

The bike started to feel down on power overall.

I figured it could be a bad batch of fuel, and so put some more in.

Here I should also say that normally I’ll get 120 to 125 miles from a tank until I have to switch to reserve.  With Tesco Super Unleaded?  110 miles.

So with the second tankful in all the problems remained.  I started getting paranoid about the bike.  I know some things ARE due to be serviced, and it all continued to run like crap.  I started planning stripping the bike or paying huge bills out to let a garage do the work on the valves and carbs as I put in the third tank of Tesco’s fuel…

Results were the same, so I was feeling a bit meh even as I finally switched back to Shell V-Power fuel last night…

Well bugger me if all the flat-spots haven’t disappeared!

The bike is back to running smoothly and perfectly, starting much easier, and just generally being better!

The price difference is around 10p per litre extra, but with a 17 litre tank it’s hardly worth crying over, is it?

I haven’t tested the mileage I’ll get yet, as I only filled up last night, but I’m 100% sure already that it will be much better once again.

In conclusion – suck my bawbag if you think supermarket fuels are the same!  They’re inferior cheap shit and will end up costing you more than the so-called ‘expensive’ fuels, if not in mileage then in servicing!

Don’t bloody use them!