Noise detective: episode four

Skoda Octavia GTEC engine opened

For the first time since long, today I was excited of having a one hour drive before getting to work! 🙂 Like a kid with a new toy I was looking forward to driving and having some time to listen to the new noises of the car. For the moment being there is one, which is really, really interesting. Everytime you switch the ignition on, before the engine starts, you hear a metallic “chunk” coming from the back. I believe it might be something to do with the valve of the gas bottles which activates. Aha. I like it.

But now I will stop playing with you guys and post at least one more picture. I actually have done like a ton of pictures but either the reflections or the light conditions made my pictures look bad. While selecting them I almost decided to go back to a real camera and take some decent shots. Truth is that even with phones, if you know how to take pictures, you get amazing results. I need to improve on that.

Maple brown Skoda Octavia (2019).
La Terrona

By continuing the nickname game that we started with La Celestona, its older sister, we decided to baptise the new car La Terrona, which I could translate to “The big earth”. We had laugh when we came up with it…

Driving it is really relaxing. First of all no more noisy differential as main companion. The automatic gearbox lets you forget about the existence of your left leg. Activate the automatic control of the speed and you may as well switch off your head for the next hours. Needless to say, knowing that you are not producing that life threathening particulate while driving makes you feel really light. Finally!

The first thing I have noticed is that while driving down hill, shifting to lower gears does not brake the car by much. I was told that it depends on the compression ratio of the engine, which is different from diesel (my older Octavia) to fuel engines.

You do feel the difference between the two engines: 150 HP of the previous car were definitely more satisfactory during overtakes. With the current 130 HP I have no problems driving in the city, accelerating to get on the motorway… before starting an overtake though, I believe I will now double check if I have time/room enough to perform it.

And range. Range is what keeps my breath hanging as for the moment being the statistics have not enough data to work on and are showing numbers which are not real, in this case, way lower than what it should be. But I believe it might depend also on the quality of the natural gas (now defined as 70% by the on board computer). We will see when I get high quality gas and some more km how the range changes. I am expecting of having at least 400 km range while running on natural gas and 200 km more while running on fuel. We will see if it reaches that high values in the next episodes.

Have a good week everyone, enjoy your holidays… if you have time, go hunting for some noises, ahah! 🙂 I should try to record that misterious, initial “chunk”…

Noise detective: episode three

First of all, did you miss the first two episodes? Catch up by clicking on the following two links: Episode one and Episode two. And now let’s get to it.

The new car has arrived…

I believe that if you did read the two previous episodes you will be a tad surprised to know that the new car has already arrived! In fact by reading the last episode (number two) I had not even decided if I should buy a new one or risk it all by staying with the noisy differential.

If those are your thoughts than, yes, you are right and I beg your pardon. Before buying it I did have a test drive, I even took some pictures of the display showing consumption and some other data. I even took some notes about the selling process, which in my modest opinion needs to be revisited at least in Switzerland. But I was not able to write about it: so this why you get the big news out of the blue. 🙂

… and with it a new adventure starts!

It will be a new adventure. Lasting, I hope, at least 200’000 kilometers. I call it an adventure as the car I have invested in uses natural gas as fuel: in Switzerland this kind of fuel is not distributed as diffusely as gasoline or diesel, in fact it is quite the opposite. As one friend told me I will be one of the few to buy such a car. Other friends firmly advised me to avoid such an investment. We will see. Together.

As you might remember my last car was a Skoda Octavia 4×4 2.0 liters, 150 HP: when I bought it 5 years ago I had two options. Either go for gasoline or diesel: given the fact that I cover long distances each the year I decided that diesel was the best solution, from both point of views, economical and ecological.

During the last five years some things have happened that made me regret my choice:

  1. A quick chat with a friend of ours about the size of particles
  2. The VW scandal and the brainwash
  3. “Il metanaro”

Let’s have a quick chat about those events.

Particle size

Being the car classified as Euro 6 I was convinced that the particulate issue was solved for good. This belief lasted until I discovered that the solutions which are used to decrease the amount of exhausted particles work by further decreasing the size of the particles. This tecnique allows the car to successfully pass the tests but creates particles which are capable of penetrating even deeper into the respiratory system, being even more dangerous than the original particulate.

From that day on a disturbing feeling started to grow in myself. And I believe this was one of the most important drivers which pushed me to such a radical change.

The VW scandal

Luckily my car was not directly affected by the diesel gate: I did not need to have it modified in any way. Still I was very disappointed by the company and by the people running it: apparently the most important thing to them, was to be the first car company in the world. As if, being the second one, is not enough. Of course, being the first company in the world it is huge. But at what cost?

Nevertheless I believe that I did not change my mind about the quality of the cars: even my new car is a product of the VW group.

On the other hand I am quite sure that the brainwashing which started as a result of the VW scandal had an influence on my considerations during the choice. By the way… did you ever wonder if what is now common belief (“diesel is the worst fuel ever”) is the truth? This is why I am calling it a brainwash… I am pretty sure that all us are getting manipulated/brainwashed to believe something. Could be a very nice topic for a further blog post, in the like of:

How to tell if we are getting brainwashed. How can we reach the most non biased opionion about important topics without being an expert in everything.

I believe I will need someone else to write it for me as I have no idea which could be good advices in order to achieve that.

Il metanaro

Il metanaro is an italian popular way of calling either the person filling your car with natural gas or to identify the whole filling station.

One lucky day it happened that I discovered that a new “metanaro” had opened very near to my office: this had a huge impact on my choice because it makes my day by day so much easier…

Mixed feelings

Enough with the “rationalities”… since I have ordered the car almost six weeks ago I have got mixed feelings. From one side I feel a little disappointed, as I did not manage to win my 500’000 km joke/bet (see previous episodes for details). Even a little melancholic as I liked very much the car and its almost unique colour, which today is not available anymore. It was because of it that my uncle gave the car the nickname of Celestona, which I could (mis)translate in The big sky blue. And it was my and my family companion for many years and we did many trips with it, so we started to treat it a little as of a member of the family.

Picture depicts a sky blue Skoda Octavia (2014).
A very long Skoda Octavia in a beautiful colour.

On the other hand I am really happy and relieved: the new car will have an automatic transmission, will be definitely cleaner and cheaper to run. And I also do feel a little excited to try something new: as natural gas distributor are not so common to be found, longer trips need to be planned with some anticipation.

Just noticed that I did not share any details about the new car… and no pictures either. But after all the information shared, do you really need further details? Maybe in the next episode…