A Car for OnlyDads

Some of you will remember the nightmare I had with the OnlyDads’ Land Rover. To recap this 5 y/o Land Rover Freelander started to go wrong. In the space of 14 months it suffered from 4 blown head gaskets, had two replacement engines, and when just before Christmas it shuddered to a dramatic (swerving) holt on the A38 just outside Exeter, I decided to see if Land Rover might take a look at it just to see what was going on. I was not going to spend more money on it if there was (as I strongly suspected given the frequency and magnitude of breakdowns) something fundamentally wrong with it.

I wrote a really nice letter to Land Rover setting out the situation and unfortunate history and that I would like one of their engineers to look at the car to advise what might be going wrong. 

I got a response stating that as a company Land Rover were firmly committed to customer care and that as a responsible and professional company they…(you can insert here 500 words straight from their legal department)… would not on this occasion be taking a look at the car.

It was one of those read and re-read moments.

I wrote back assuming there might have been some misunderstanding. The car had been towed by the AA to a garage in Totnes. Being rural Devon with Land Rover garages all round the place, I really did think they may have misunderstood. It would have taken no more than a couple of hours to get a mechanic to investigate what might be going wrong.

For those who don’t know – to repair a head gasket you really are looking at a bill of c£1,400 (often a lot more).

It was not money I could afford to spend for the fifth time!

Land Rover wrote back via email with what I could only assume to be a standard letter. You can spot those when the salutation is written in a different font to the body of the letter. It went on to say that they were not going to deal with this matter and would not help.

Rather than blow another head gasket (in more ways than one), I took a deep breath and sold the car off for scrap. 

I am now thinking of what car to get next:

Budget is as tight as a drum so browsing though car brochures is not something I’m doing. In essence I want a second hand car that’s:

1. Safe for me and the girls to drive around in
2. Reliable!
3. Good for beach trips with body boards and all the girls’ kit
4. Economical (as much as cars can be)
5. Smart enough to take ladies to dinner!!

What do you think would make a good replacement car for OnlyDads? And before you all say a Jeep Compass I have just checked the bank balance and you are miles away!


Since posting this article Landrover on Twitter made contact and explained that someone from Landrover HQ would be sure to make contact and have a talk to me about my experiences with their company. This was followed up by an email asking for car details and again an assurance that somebody would be ‘phoning me before the end of the week. This was in late April….!

…You may or may not be surprised to hear that no-one called…!




About onlydads

Single Dad living near Totnes in Devon. I founded www.onlydads.org in 2007 and live with my daughters Priya, 14 and Anya 11. I write about single parenting, work, overcoming trials and tribulations and sometimes not overcoming trials and tribulations.
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2 Responses to A Car for OnlyDads

  1. Paul Francis says:

    May I suggest a Vauxhall Zafira? It has built in roof rails for a roof box, 7 seats if needed and a fair sized boot with the back 2 seats collapsed. Also, you don’t have to remove and store the 2 extra seats, as you do in many other cars…

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