It all started several months ago when I bought a second hand car. It’s a Volkswagon Polo 2002 model. It’s the best car I have owned in 30 years.

A few weeks after I bought it, it became sluggish to start. I did the obvious and charged the battery. Hey presto! It started fine……for three days. It then became sluggish to start again. I charged the battery and took it to the local garage to have the battery tested. On testing, let’s just say the battery had seen better days. (That’s not how I worded it). I got a new battery and things were rosy for the next few weeks.

I was doing my shopping one morning (the supermarket isn’t far away) and the car e wouldn’t start. It was turning over fine but just not ‘firing.’ Eventually it started. Over the next few weeks this  would happen approximately 50% of the time I went out. I noticed a pattern. It would always start first thing then after a short trip it wouldn’t start.

I asked my Dad, who’s mechanically minded and he thought the problem was the coolant sensor. I went online and looked for forums for people whose identical cars displayed identical symptoms to mine. 24 hours later the verdict was in. Over 90% of responses were the coolant sensor like Dad said.

I whizzed down to the newly opened Volkswagon centre and ordered a coolant sensor. It arrived the next day. I then took my car to the RACT (Automobile Association) and they replaced the sensor in a matter of minutes. They didn’t even charge me.

For the first two weeks I remained pensive but the car started first time, every time. It continues to do so today. What a relief, I can tell you. The car is running like a dream.

Apparently the faulty sensor is telling the cars computer that the engine is too hot to start…..when it actually isn’t. This was why it wouldn’t start for some time. ie. once the engine is stone cold. This is why it would always start up first thing in the morning.

I asked Dad what made him think that it was the coolant sensor. He told me that he had similar trouble with his Jaguar some time back and it was the coolant sensor. How handy and lucky was that?

What a weight off.