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30th October 2018

GEM Recovery / Motoring Assist long time member review. If you have a number of cars and/or bikes and would rather them brought home to fix after a breakdown read on...

In my early motoring days I never bothered with membership to a motoring organisation or recovery service as I couldn't really afford it, believed I was fairly proficient at fixing cars and carried essential tools in the boot. It may have been the confidence of youth or just povety, but looking back I feel very lucky to have got away without any drama other than the odd self changed flat tyre, especially as most of this time was pre mobile phone ownership.

As I got older I owned a couple of new cars for work and these came with 'free' 1 year membership to a major national motoring organisation, and although I never needed a call out in this period, I grew to enjoy the peace of mind that comes with being covered for breakdowns.

After my 'free cover' expired I actually paid for cover from the same organisation for a few years and had to call them out on one occassion. A Renault Clio I had wouldn't re-start although the engine would turn over slowly. When the 'technician' turned up I said I thought the battery had given up, but he insisted the cambelt had gone, filling me with doom. I opened the oil cap and pointed out that the camshafts were turning as the engine was cranked and asked him to have a go with his battery boost pack. Bingo, the car started and ran as normal, I fitted a brand new battery and all was well, apart from my faith in that motoring organisation.

When that cover expired I was shopping around for a cheaper alternative and discovered GEM Motoring Assist on the 'net. I liked the price but was also impressed with the level of cover, the fact that they covered individuals which meant I could be covered in more than one car owned, and they did joint cover to include my wife.

We have had joint membership/ cover with GEM now for about 8 years, enjoying the peace of mind that we are covered in/on any of our fleet of 3 old cars and a classic motorcycle, and for me especially I love the fact that if they have to come and rescue me in my classic car and they can't fix it at the roadside I have the option to have it (and any occupants) brought home for me to fix (or to a suitable specialist of my choosing) rather than have it dumped outside the nearest garage that may not be able to offer the experience of marque or level of love that it needs.

But have we had to actually call them out and test their service?

Yes, on 5 occassions:

Twice for jump starts, my wife and I have both suffered from seemingly good batteries failing and GEM came out and got us going quickly. We both just brought our cars home for battery replacement, but when mine failed the friendly recovery contractor offered to follow me to a local fast fit garage to have a new one fitted there- thanks but no thanks.

Twice for fuel pump failure on a classic car. Same car, two different pumps and both times had the car brought home from a few miles away on a flatbed truck, without any issues.

Once quite recently for a failed ignition coil on my wife's car. She was with my son visiting family 200 miles from home and the car started missing terribly on the last part of her journey. She made her destination, but needed to get home two days later. She was quite distraught as there was nobody where she was that knew a thing about cars (they own 2 Lexus!) and that her Italian thoroughbred wouldn't like being mishandled at any old garage.
She called GEM and a contractor arrived quickly, diagnosed the fault as #1 coil, went and got a new OE Bosch replacement from a factor and fitted it. This solved the problem and she paid about 90 for the repair which included the 50 part which felt very reasonable.
It was reassuring to know that had the issue been more serious that the car could have been recovered the 200 miles home or to a nearby trusted specialist.

Check them out, they can cover up to 4 people in the same household driving any car/ bike/ small van/ motorhome even if they are old classics or borrowed/ hired!

Visit GEM MOTORING ASSIST now to see everything membership offers.

  My own GEM card

11th October 2018

MOT pass relief

The first of three quick succession MOT tests today on the Alfa 33, and I'm very relieved that it passed, and without any 'advisories'. I'd done quite a bit of work on it in the summer and given it a good look over etc, and so was fairly happy it was in good shape for the MOT. However I'd fitted a second hand catalytic converter that I bought 10 years ago, that I had stored in the loft since, and wasn't sure of it's true internal condition. When the tester asked 'has it got a cat' during the emissions test I feared for the worst, but once thouroughly warmed up I'm pleased to say it came to life and slipped through the test.

9th October 2018

Lovely weather for (Nissan) Bluebirds

A remarkably warm day for October, I even had the sunroof open during a run in the Alfa!

I couldn't believe my eyes when I also spotted not one but two 1980s Nissan Bluebirds parked up together. One a regular or 'Premium' model (as it was badged) and the other a body kitted Bluebird ZX Turbo.

16th September 2018

Classics on The Green- Croxley Green, Herts.

We usually end up missing one or both of the two Classics on the Green car shows that are held every year in Croxley, but managed to get to this one and were not disappointed by the vast array of Classic and interesting cars and bikes.

Personal favourites and the car and bike that I would liked to have taken home were the Seat Panda Terra (open back MK1 Panda), and the air cooled two stroke lovely that was the Yamaha RD250E in white with red speedblocks and Micron expansion chambers.

Other vehicles that caught my eye shown in the photo collection below include: An original popsicle purple Yamaha FS1-E, Fantic Chopper, NSU 1000, Gilbern Invader, Relaint Fox, Datsun 240Z, an amazing condition basic model MK1 Ford Fiesta, Triumph TR7 fixed head coupe, Jensen Healey, and Fiat 500 Autobianchi Giardiniera.

Early September 2018

Servicing the 'modern' Alfa

Gave Mrs MG's Alfa Romeo GT a small service.

I used four and a half litres of the wonderful Petronas Syntium Racer 10w 60 oil which I found at the best available price from Mytyres with free postage and quick delivery to boot, and a genuine Alfa oil filter bought on Ebay. The correct filter is a slim little chap which is neccessary as the clearance is pretty tight.

I aslo changed the cabin filters which clearly hadn't been done for years and were an absolute swine to get to inside the passenger footwell up under the dashboard, and bled some new brake fluid through all four brake calipers.

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