Ever considered cosmetic surgery? No, not a dose of Michael Jackson-inspired facial reconstruction, but a bit of tlc for your car to return it to that ‘as new’ look? After our Peugeot 508 SW suffered a bumper scrape at the hands of a clumsy parker – who irritatingly failed to leave their details – we were left with the problem of how to fix it.
Enter the experts at Shine!, who specialise in Smart repair techniques for scratches, scuffs and dents on the likes of bumpers, wheelarches and alloys. A quick visit to the company’s www.taketheweekendoff.com website confirmed the job would be straightforward for one of its technicians, and, even better, he’d be able to carry out the repair on the driveway of my south London home.
And so it was I found myself outside my front door at 8am on a cold, wet January morning with Shine!’s UK colour specialist Martin Boote ready to get to work.
The scratch didn’t look too serious, but as Martin explained, this kind of damage can often become the most difficult to fix. It entices over-confident ‘home experts’ to try to do repairs themselves, often with disastrous consequences.
Thankfully, I know my limitations, so there was no chance of me attempting to have a go – although even I wouldn’t have been so daft to try to smooth the slight indentation out with cement, as one of Martin’s previous clients had done!
Over the next three hours, I saw a master craftsman at work as he carefully sanded, masked, painted and buffed the bumpers back to perfection.
At only £125, I considered it money well spent and would thoroughly recommend the service – particularly to anyone who might need to give their car a spruce-up before trading it in or putting it on the market.
So with its good looks fully restored, how have I been getting on with our 508? Well, on the plus side, it gets all the basics right. It’s handsome, comfortable, spacious, delivers adequate power from its 2.0-litre diesel engine and is generally pleasing to drive, if not exactly a thrill-a-minute.
But a succession of niggles and quirks are testing my patience. Chief among these was its failure to start on three mornings during a recent cold snap. Each time it took multiple attempts to fire the Peugeot up. Happily, last week’s snow didn’t see the problem return, but the episode has not filled me with confidence.
I was also frustrated by the continual flashing of the service light. After being completely bemused as to what was causing this, I finally clocked it was happening when the screenwash was used – and specifically when a warning flashed up to inform me the reservoir was low. I initially thought the illumination of the service light was caused by the electrics getting confused, but having checked the manual it transpires it’s a feature of the car, albeit a curious one.
Another gremlin popped up when the clock and calendar turned back time to 2007 one morning. No doubt this could be quickly rectified, but who’s to say it won’t happen again?
Some aspects of the cabin leave a little to be desired, too. For example, the location of the cup-holder in front of a heater vent isn’t ideal, as I found out one especially icy day, when I had the climate control turned up to the max. Warmed-up Irn Bru is a taste that’s really hard to acquire... Next time, the vents on that outlet will have to remain shut.
Plus, the interior lighting is poor, especially at the rear. Trying to strap my daughter into her car seat after nursery in the dark evenings is like playing ‘Pin The Tail On The Donkey’. Brighter lighting would solve this.
The niggles are a shame, really, because on the whole the 508 is a good car... just slightly flawed.
“As a parent, I also appreciate good cabin lights. The panoramic roof is a neat touch, but it limits where you can mount lights.”
Ross Pinnock, Road test editor
“Erratic electrics don’t appear on the options list – they come as standard with every new Peugeot.”