Mr Clutch will fix your car... Eventually

When our not-so-beloved MPV became almost impossible to drive because of a slipping clutch, we took it to our local garage for a prognosis. They confirmed that the clutch was indeed slipping, and that we should take it to Mr Clutch in Norwich as it was a specialised job.

Skip forwards a couple of days, and a one-minute assessment by a Mr Clutch mechanic confirmed that the clutch was slipping. The car was booked in for the Wednesday, and I was told that it should be done by the end of the day.

Having taken the car in first thing Wednesday, I phoned them around 15:00 (no having heard anything) only to be told that the gearbox had been leaking oil onto the clutch for a long period of time, and that a gearbox reconditioning (around £1500) or a salvage gearbox replacement (around £400 plus fitting) would be required. I was tasked with locating a salvage gearbox, since that was clearly the cheapest option.

On Wednesday night I left a message with Hainford Hall Salvage and put a request out on 247spares.co.uk.

On Thursday, Hainford Hall called me back with the news that they didn't have a gearbox, but that I should try a salvage firm in Swanton Abbott. I also received several calls from salvage firms (thanks to the 247spares request), all of whom quoted £840 or thereabouts for a delivered gearbox, inc VAT. Not looking good! I called the Swanton Abbott firm, and they actually had a gearbox/clutch assembly available - still in the car - which they could remove and get to Mr Clutch by Friday morning; all for £420 too! I explained all of this to Mr Clutch, and they reckoned that I might have my car back by the end of Friday.

By 15:00 Friday I hadn't heard anything (except a confirmation from the Swanton Abbott firm that they were delivering the gearbox around 10AM), and called Mr Clutch. They said that the car wouldn't be ready that day, but that everything was in order and the car should be ready by the end of Saturday.

I called Mr Clutch on Saturday, around 15:30, and was told that the car would not be ready by the end of the day, as it was a 'big job' and that it should definitely be ready by the end of Monday.

It is now Sunday, and I am wondering whether I'm being too soft on these Mr Clutch guys for not being remotely close to their repeated estimates of 'by the end of the day'. Fair enough, the end of Friday was the earliest they could realistically complete it once they realised that the gearbox was leaking, but I also wonder whether 'end of the day Monday' is going to happen...

Update, Monday evening The car is ready, last thing Monday evening! The only way that I've known what's going on was by calling at regular intervals, as they never called me. The car drives like a bomb now, making me realise just how knackered the clutch was. It's very frustrating that I didn't raise my suspicions when I noticed the slipping a few days after buying the car, especially as it saved the Foundry Car clowns a grand in repair bills. Ah well, we live and learn.


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