Easter Valet & Seasonal Tyre Swap

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Arianne
Posts: 440
Joined: Fri Jul 21, 2017 9:39 pm
Location: UK

Easter Valet & Seasonal Tyre Swap

Post by Arianne » Mon Apr 05, 2021 6:21 pm

Easter 2021 should have been so different, but then so should February and the Xmas / New Year just before it. The rolled up list of short breaks deferred to 2022 at least holds the promise of better things to come when the ingenuity that is the human family has beaten the very worst of this dreadful Covid-19 virus. So with Nicola having delayed the opening of self-catering accommodation until late-April, it looks like our Velar is going to have some love lavished upon her during the Easter break. And this thread becomes the latest in my log of long-term ownership covering our 09/2017 Velar D300 R-dynamic, now with 42,000 miles under her belt. If you're unsure whether to dive in and order your new or pre-loved Velar then read on. Search on my earlier posts to read about our complete ownership experience from the very beginning, the good and the bad - a very honest assessment. Or just read this latest thread as a light-hearted distraction from the constant drone of news. Whatever - enjoy!

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Fearnach Bay House, Argyll & Bute, was to be our Easter 2021 destination. Alas, this has been added to the great getaway for 2022

Folk may recall that our last report followed Holly (our Velar has a name) across NW Scotland to Gairloch over Xmas, this being a replacement for our cancelled skiing in the Austrian Alps. We scampered back to the Borders just after the Scottish Government declared another lockdown. Like most folk, our mileage has collapsed. My review of LandRover InControl shows that almost 100% of our journeys in any given month have simply been to Mrs A's elderly Mum for whom we provide care - a short jaunt over the River Tweed of about five miles in total.

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Homeward bound from Gairloch after Xmas 2020


So has anything noteworthy happened with Holly over these past three months? Only a couple of things spring to mind. First, our Velar was her usual amazing self during the snowy season. Her 'go-anywhere' four-wheel drive system, Michelin winter tyres and raised ride height combined to make light work of the snow and ice covered roads here in Southern Scotland. When the road was blocked with a stranded VW, we just used the air suspension to raise the ride height and drove off-road to circumnavigate the obstruction and continue with our journey. Traction never went missing even as I stopped half way up another hill and waited while the lad in the hoodie peered from his driver's side window as he skidded straight past me heading down in the other direction - that was a look of fear, all four wheels locked up but still moving forward! What is it about men though? It seems like a badge of honour for us guys to feel the need to drive too fast on snow covered roads, with summer tyres and our hoods up! It must be some throwback to an earlier evolutionary age? Beats me!

The second noteworthy event, although I am pushing the very definition of noteworthy here, is that the black plastic shrouds of the hydraulic tailgate struts broke free again from their plastic clips during the sub-zero cold snap. This happens almost every winter and a spot of superglue mends them like new for another twelve months. This is the one minor item that I never felt sufficiently bothered about to have replaced under warranty - although to be fair to my dealer (Lloyd LandRover Kelso) they offered to replace them at the time. I figured that they would just freeze and break free again so what was the point?

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Plastic shroud covering the struts breaks free in very cold weather, an annual occurrence


I've appreciated Holly's heated steering wheel (surely one of the best value options to tick on the list), heated seats and remote climate control. However, on this latter feature I have a few observations to make. I went for a while with Holly running in Eco mode. Handy for fuel consumption, you drive like you own a Micra or Honda Jazz and Mrs A never seemed to notice - even when she was at the wheel. My memory tells me that, back in 2017 when we first took delivery of our Velar, the driving mode would revert to Comfort overnight, or any lengthy period of Holly not being used (eight hours or so). Not so now. The mode will stay on Eco until one chooses to select an alternative. Here’s the thing - the heated front screen is disabled in Eco mode when starting by means of the InControl Remote function. That's so annoying! What happens is that, as soon as you select Eco, the heated screen defaults to the off position and stays that way even if you subsequently select Comfort or Dynamic settings later in that same journey or even at shutdown. Initially I assumed that my heated screen wasn't working but I was wrong. I just needed to reset the default settings in climate on the lower screen. I've since ditched driving in Eco mode because I am worried it also disables the aircon unit. These units need to be lubricated regularly through use and the cost of failure will far exceed the savings of Eco mode on diesel consumption. So that's that. The Nissan Micra / Honda Jazz snail's pace driving technique will need to wait until I can afford a couple of cushions for the rear parcel shelf and I am well along in my retirement.

Today's an event though - my local dealer has swapped our winter Michelin latitude tyres out for our brand spanking new Michelin Pilot Sport 4 SUV summer rubber. This is clearly the reason why it snowed last night, why we have an arctic blast and caused Scottish Borders Council to recommence salt spreading everywhere yesterday. My local dealer is Cleland Volvo. Yes, owned by John Cleland the retired BTCC championship winning racing driver - more here:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Clel ... ng_driver)

If I end up retiring to drive a Nissan Micra then BTCC Champions retire to ....... own a Volvo dealership. John runs a tight ship with his franchise - the dealership looks good and is good. I had two Volvo cars and the service was first class, even if the deals were hardly bargain basement. Still, you get what you pay for generally in life. So I trust my Volvo dealer with Holly's 21" alloy rims and, as you can see below, Mr Cleland & Co have a very precise approach to labelling each tyre since they want to know which corner of the car it came from when next winter approaches.

I liked Volvo and I like the current XC90 - yes it's getting on a bit and will probably be replaced soon, but the XC90 is a good looking SUV, comfortable and spacious. My problem with the XC90, and indeed every car in the Volvo range, is that they have nothing more potent than their four cylinder diesel engines (unless you want to choose a hybrid electrical surge or petrol power - neither of which makes much sense on a big SUV and the hybrid tech comes with a hefty price tag and low range).

The demise of Volvo’s proven five-pot diesel was a sad day. I remember reading on the Volvo XC90 owners' forum about a guy travelling from the UK through France. While pulling away from the auto-route toll booth with family, holiday luggage and roof box, he was outpaced by a Dacia Duster. Those of us that have done the 'lights go green, go-go-go, F1' start at the auto-route tolls in France know just how important it is to retain pole position as the tarmac narrows into the two lanes heading off to the South of France! Another evolutionary throwback for the male of the species there! I don't know why, it just is!

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Volvo service ain't always perfect but it's pretty good most of the time - and this visit has been no exception


And so to the Easter break and the season to detail and valet. Last year’s application of sealant and waxes has lasted remarkably well. The lack of mileage has meant that the frequency of washes has reduced. And this means the carnauba wax top coat from last year remains intact, still beading water and providing a beautiful deep shine in the crystal clear arctic air and high 'fleck-popping' definition of the bright sunshine right now. It might be cold, but the light is a photographer's dream. I think I will be easy on myself this year then and prove demonstrably that I don't have serious car detailer's OCD. I will just top up my wax layers rather than strip everything back - avoiding the prospect of applying the surface cleaner, clay bar, sealant and wax. That takes a loooong time and I don't fancy it this year since the protection from last year remains in good order. But I will be removing the alloy rims and using my special cleaning fluid to clean the brake dust and iron-oxide residue from winter salt brake disc corrosion off the wheels - this gives the silver alloys a mottled orange effect on the inner rim. They get special wheel rim protection layered onto them which means that they come up like sparkling new.

Otherwise, Holly's been her usual wonderful self. Everything continues to work. There's no rattles (the felt tape around the front passenger seatbelt stalk wore down from rubbing on the side of the seat. That knocked when the seat was not in use so I replaced it and the sound has been silenced). That includes the driver's window which used to rattle slightly at the top but which I resolved with a homemade version of the LandRover technical bulletin - 5min job and now perfect.

I continue to adore the Meridian Surround Sound system which, as journalists frequently say, is the first car hifi system that actually delivers a proper music experience truly worth listening to. Fed with studio quality, 16bit FLAC music files from the USB stick which have been downloaded from 7Digital's online music store, I have discovered my favourite tracks all over again with more of the producer's magic audible because of the way the recording and Meridian combine - https://uk.7digital.com/features/VUifKi ... hi-resflac

It makes driving alone a complete pleasure. In case anyone asks - yes, it is possible to rip from CD to FLAC music files but my HP Pavilion laptop with its slightly flimsy CD/DVD tray doesn't come near to replicating 7Digital's technology. In side-by-side comparisons of Elton John's 'The One', 'Philadelphia Freedom' and 'Brown Dirt Cowboy' along with Visage's (Midge Ure) 'Fade to Grey', the HP laptop was off the pace and couldn't power the Meridian system to deliver the best that 7Digital has to offer. By the way, the Velar does have an onboard hard drive for data storage but, when all the native software is installed, the remaining capacity won’t hold many of these big, uncompressed FLAC music files. So a 128Gb USB drive makes sense as the best alternative and the latest ‘over-the-air’ software updates from LandRover have ironed out almost all of the glitches us early adopters endured at the Velar’s launch.

As and when I have more to report during the Easter Break in relation to our Velar..... I will update the community. I know several folk on the forum enjoy these occasional updates (thank you for the feedback). If you're not one of them then best you skip over this thread next time and continue reading about wobbly suspension and P300e real-world range in colder weather. All very interesting and combine to make up the eclectic mix that is our forum.

And if you have something interesting to add about your Velar ownership, motoring more generally or just something that the rest of us may find mildly interesting during this period of somewhat limited life choices....... this thread is for all of us.

Best wishes, Arianne.

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Maybe next year at Easter? Here's hoping.....
D300 R-dynamic with lots of optional toys. Corris Grey, sunroof, activity bracelet, configurable lighting, 825w Meridian sound, heated everything, configurable dynamics, full leather pack, summer / winter tyres & the important cup holder cover!

We88ie
Posts: 78
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2018 9:09 pm
Location: UK

Re: Easter Valet & Seasonal Tyre Swap

Post by We88ie » Tue Apr 06, 2021 9:49 am

Arianne, as always an absolutely beautiful write up. Great to read passionate garages and franchises are still out there!
The inner child within me relates instantly to the toll barrier challenge on those glorious french toll roads heading south! However that feeling never seems to be the same when heading home? I seem to be happy to let others pass by whilst we saunter back north, I’m sure it must have something to do with the colour of the sky!
Unfortunately I have terminated the lease on my Velar a year early, as could not renegotiate a better mileage deal due to the working from home commute killer. Add in not returning to either our bolt hole in the South of France or the office more frequently, financially it made no sense to keep her. I could not find anything on the market to go into and the deals on the new Velars for now seem to have evaporated, especially those with all the right toys included.
Now it’s back into a Discovery D4, but it certainly reminds me every time I have to go to site why I chose the Velar in the first place.
The ability on greenfield sites, that I still frequent and blessed for those days out from office/home, is that the Velar is as capable as the Discovery D5 & Shogun commercials my engineers use, yet gave me the ride quality of a car (in comparison) and cuddled in the surroundings of what a Range Rover stands for. If anyone states the roll on the Velar is too much they need to get into an old Range Rover or a LR D3/D4 then get back into the Velar it cocoons you and feels planted in comparison.
For now I am happy with going backwards into an older Discovery, as it gets me where I need to be in these current times. That said whilst I did have the two on the driveway the velar was always picked first to get to site.
Taking what I learned and from this forum, next year I will be looking for a D300 rather than the D240, enjoying being back in a V6. I will definitely buy used rather than the new version with privi pro, fixed gear selection and in my opinion a cheaper looking steering wheel and will add the heated steering wheel so a HSE is definitely the choice rather than a lower model with extras.
Thanks again to this forum and Arianne for your sublime posts. Here is to normality, great British drives this year and the smell of European drives again in the near future.

Graham.

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Following one of my engineers in a D5 commercial to site.

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Arianne
Posts: 440
Joined: Fri Jul 21, 2017 9:39 pm
Location: UK

Re: Easter Valet & Seasonal Tyre Swap

Post by Arianne » Wed Apr 14, 2021 10:40 pm

Nice shots We88ie, good to see your Velar hanging out with the Shoguns and not out of place at all. Nice write up to.

Well today was the day for the wheels. Last week was freezing and blowing a stiff breeze. I've worked in such conditions before and I can tell you that it ain't pleasant breathing wheel cleaning fluid that is blown back into your face rather than sprayed onto the rim! Today was pleasant and still.

All four wheels removed, wheel arch liners cleaned, rims treated with the special Bilberry wheel cleaning fluid (50% dilution), followed by three layers of Poorboys rim sealant. That should do it for another year.

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A few points worthy of note:

First, typing this message is a bit painful. Right arm is knackered from the work. I'd forgotten just how heavy those 21" rims are and one has to line them up with the spigots. One more reason why I am glad I didn't go further and get 22" rims. They must weight a ton! The 21” rims certainly do.

Second, the rims have held up well. Our car is now 4.5yrs old with 42k on the clock. Four Scottish winters and three trips to the Austrian Tyrol for skiing, plus two summer breaks in Spain and Italy (although the summer breaks make little impact on the wheels as it's the winter that is the challenge). There's some evidence this year of small blisters on the inner side of the rim spokes and I think I have just one or two more years before some of these blisters will become visible on the outward facing side of the rims - they tend to creep around the edges. The front pair take the heaviest wear.

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Third, the running gear and various drive / suspension arms show plenty of signs of corrosion now, although the rubber boots and air suspension parts look okay.

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And finally...... after my local Volvo dealer fitted our new Michellin Pilot Sport 4 SUV summer tyres I was....... a bit underwhelmed with them. Noisier than the Michellin winters that they replaced and the ride was too firm, skittish even. I hoped, even suspected that maybe the dealer had overinflated them and I am relieved to report that this was the case (naughty dealer). The correct light load PSI is 34. They got two from four correct, although these were across different axles. The others were 36PSI and 38PSI. Each have been inflated correctly this afternoon and my test run revealed that the ride comfort is back to acceptable (the Velar is, as others have already said on this forum, slightly too firm for what the car really is - JLR should have calibrated the air suspension settings such that Comfort would be that little bit softer while leaving the Dynamic setting alone). The new tyres are a bit quieter now too. They handle well with lovely precise turn-in.

Finished off by dressing the outer tyre walls and they now look almost showroom condition.

Best wishes, Arianne.
D300 R-dynamic with lots of optional toys. Corris Grey, sunroof, activity bracelet, configurable lighting, 825w Meridian sound, heated everything, configurable dynamics, full leather pack, summer / winter tyres & the important cup holder cover!

putt4par
Posts: 48
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2020 6:07 am
Location: Kent

Re: Easter Valet & Seasonal Tyre Swap

Post by putt4par » Thu Apr 15, 2021 6:38 am

Great read, thanks so much for sharing, Velar still looks in great shape!
2019 3.0 D R Dynamic HSE, in Fuji White, Black pack , Pretty much fully loaded.

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