The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres


Continuing the ramblings I wrote while on holiday in France


It’s surely not a good sign when you notice there is a small puddle under the car and upon closer inspection you can see the occasional drip coming from the underside of the vehicle. The last thing I need is for my car to break down in a foreign country. I know that I have Mazda Roadside Assistance, which is considerably more comprehensive than mere AA cover, but my knowledge of French is restricted to ordering croissants. I’m no expert on the workings of the internal combustion engine and would be at a loss to describe what was wrong with the car in English; I have no hope in a different language.

Dabbing my finger in the liquid and sniffing revealed it wasn’t battery acid, petrol or engine oil. In fact it had the consistency of water and no discernable odour. Therefore, by a process of elimination from my extremely limited knowledge, it is either windscreen washer fluid or some kind of condensation caused by use of the air conditioning system.

This latter idea is a complete guess and I have no notion where it came from; for all I know it might be as ridiculous as assuming it to be gremlin urine. However, it has struck me before now that whenever I switch on the air-con it dehumidifies as well as cools the inside of the car, and when I switch it off it’s like I can suddenly smell a slight dampness in the air. So, my reasoning goes, the extracted moisture must be going somewhere, therefore it could be condensing in, around, or just behind the engine bay, which is where the dripping seems to be coming from.

This morning, after the engine had cooled overnight, I went out and looked under the bonnet. All the fluid indicators indicate that there are sufficient fluids, although the windscreen washer might be lower than I’d have guessed, so all I can do now is wait and see. I checked the local Yellow Pages last night and unless Mazda’s go by a completely different name in France then there is no local authorised dealership in Brittany.

Within a few days I’m either going to be calling Mazda Roadside Assistance or I’m going to relax and put the whole experience down to “one of those things…”


UPDATE: The car is still running, nearly 2 weeks and over 1500 miles later, and still nothing has exploded yet.


Kate said...

Oh well, if it keeps going it's probably nothing serious. (Can you tell I know nothing about cars LOL)

Kim Ayres said...

Well I figured I'd be OK because I picked a dark green one...

Nikki said...

My car does that when we run the AC.

With my extremely limited (miniscule) knowledge of cars... your conclusion sounds right to me (I know that brings you huge amounts of comfort)

Kim Ayres said...

Well make sure you let me know if it explodes :)

Dr Maroon said...

Kim Ayres you should not be allowed to own a car with AC.
What you see is condensate from our uncommonly humid and warm atmosphere (the air around you) dripping to the ground under the effect of gravity [9.81m/s/s].
Nothing to worry about, it is how rain is "made".
Do not drink it from the ground.
READ YOUR CAR HANDBOOK which may [or may not] allay your fears.
Before we were affluent, pre zoom zoom zoom Mazdas with aircon, we used to open a window. Bring back the Cortina!
Had a love affair with Nina,
in the back of my Cortina,
a seasioned up hyena,
could not've been more obscener....

Kim Ayres said...

So what you're saying then, Doc, is that I was right? Woohoo! It's not gremlin urine after all!

Finally I can relax. Thank you.

Dr Maroon said...

another thing with Nina,
she took me to the cleaners,
but I got right up between her,
rum and her Ribena!

so you ask Joyce and Vicky,
if I ever took the Mickey,
I'm not an effin' thicky
I'm Billarickie Dicky
and I'm doin'....very well.

Kim Ayres said...

I bought a lot of brandy
when I was courting Sandy
took eight to make her randy
and all I had was shandy
another thing with Sandy
what often came in handy
was passing her a 'Mandy'
she didn't half go bandy

Gotta love Ian Dury

El Guapo in DC said...

I miss Sandy...

Kim Ayres said...

...but it costs you less in brandy

Welcome to my ramblings, El Guapo!

happykat said...

That condensation happens with my vehicles, too. Dr. Maroon has the right of it.
As long as the puddle under your car isn't greenish/bluish (indicating a coolant leak or "boil over") don't worry about it.

Incidentally, I'm willing to bet you can tell the difference between an oil spot and a tranny leak.

Zoom! Zoom!

Foot Eater said...

Kim, Dr Maroon appears to be drunk, so I'd be careful about taking his advice if I were you, even if he is a scientist.

No, what you want to do when your car starts leaking like that is give it a good kicking. Be sure to aim for the tyres or the rear bumper and use moderately firm boots (anything soft and you'll break your foot). It will make no end of difference to your mental well-being, even if the car's performance remains unchanged.

I work in the more moist sciences, you see.

Dr Maroon said...

That is the thing Foot Eater,
to you I appear to be drunk,
but in the morning, no.

To you I am a drunkard Sir! But in the morning I shall be. That's noyt it.

I may be in the gutter Sir, but at least from here I can see the lifeblood draining from Ayres' car. Don't tell him, he worries so.

Kim Ayres said...

Oh that's all I need - a drunken brawl in the carpark!

Foot Eater said...

I want to be straight, I want to be straight,
I'm sick and tired of taking drugs and staying up late.
I wanna confirm, I wanna conform
I wanna be safe and I wanna be snug and I wanna be warm.

I can out-Dury the best of you, as I happen to live in Essex a stone's throw away from Billericay, and I'm rapidly acquiring the accent.

Dr Maroon said...

I knew it was ...BillEriCAY, I'm just lazy.

Arseh*les, b*stards, fuck*ng cun*s and pri*ks...

What an intro!

The tribute bands always struggle with that one. Especially the Dutch ones.

Dr Maroon said...

I thought you might have zapped that one Kim. I would have.

Kim Ayres said...

It was quite fun watching your drunken ramblings unfold. I'll leave it there, but if you're embarrassed by it feel free to bin it.

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