The Toy has had starter motor problems since the summer. When I got him serviced in September, I told the mechanic that he was getting slow to start and was advised to wait until it got really bad, once winter started, and then get a new starter motor fitted: "No point doing it now. Might not get worse for months. Might as well save your money until then." (This is a local garage not a dealership.) Last Monday morning, I switched on the engine and all Toy could manage was a single, asthmatic wheeze. Waited a few seconds and tried again: the coil light for the glow plugs came on followed by a bit more wheezing. On the third attempt, he started. (Toy is a diesel. Once the fuel is warm enough to ignite, he'll run forever. I bought him new, 12 years and 263,000 miles ago.)
I drove into work, phoned the garage and booked him in for his new starter motor, which was done on Wednesday. He also got two new tyres (they needed replacing) and a set of new wipers (the old ones squeaked even in the past week's heavy downpours). The last time he had his starter motor replaced, 6 years ago, was back when I regularly him to a dealership for servicing and repairs so I was expecting a bill for at least £600 plus the cost of the tyres (say £750 in total). I was pleasantly surprised when I got the bill - £287.17 for everything, including VAT. My bank balance was much relieved.
Oh, and guess who now eager to get going on these dark wintery mornings and starts first pop? Makes me wonder exactly how long the starter motor had been going.