Marc's C3 Aircross SUV, Rants Raves & Everything Else

Tell us your ongoing tales and experiences with your French car here. Post pictures of your car here as well.

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GiveMeABreak
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Re: Marc's C3 Aircross SUV, Rants Raves & Everything Else

Post by GiveMeABreak »

And now for something completely different....

Well, I've been having a dip into the dubious world of Chinese tat. I wanted to see just how bad things can get - in full knowledge that whatever I order is likely to be:

1) A completely different Product than what you ordered
2) Nothing like the pictures shown
3) The wrong size / Designed for a Midget
4) Doesn't work
5) Totally useless

Item 1: A Silicon Funnel
Funnel.PNG
Looks ideal, I thought; perfect for filling the screen wash up from those 5 litre containers without spilling it all over the engine bay - what can go wrong - nice and big and also collapsible for storing out the way and they show it being used for pouring in engine oil - perfect! - Wrong :roll:

In reality, this thing is no bigger than a AAA battery and will very likely drop into the tank within seconds... Suggested alternative use: a trampoline for your pet hamster.

Verdict: FAIL
IMG_3963.jpg
IMG_3964.jpg


Ok, so next on the list we have:

Item 2: A branded Non-Slip Mat for the Dash

What could possibly go wrong with this I ask. Well, first of all, if you're going to copy a brand, at least get it right - they have missed the iconic tréma from the 'e' in Citroën (deliberately not used on FCF for obvious reasons of searching the term 'Citroen' on an English language Forum).

Why did I buy it? Only for the purposes of having somewhere to put things on the dash temporarily like a cup of coffee from the takeaway as there are no decent cupholders anywhere.

Does it work? Of course not! No point in having things grip to the mat surface, if the bloody mat itself slips all over the dash:



Suggested Uses: I may cut a circle out of the chevrons and use that to line the floor of the rear cup-holder and the 'Citroen' strip for lining the inside of the door binnacle that may stop things rattling about.

Verdict: FAIL


More to come later...... :roll:
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mickthemaverick
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Re: Marc's C3 Aircross SUV, Rants Raves & Everything Else

Post by mickthemaverick »

Before you cut that up Marc it might be worth spraying with photo tack as used by photigraphers to hold glossy pics in place during editing! :)
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Re: Marc's C3 Aircross SUV, Rants Raves & Everything Else

Post by GiveMeABreak »

Thanks Mick - I wouldn't want anything permanent or tacky though - I think it's the material the dash is made of - it's very slippery and has a microscopic pitted pattern, so I only want to be able to put this on for a coffee and remove it again.

I'm leaving the big item to last in my list.....
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Re: Marc's C3 Aircross SUV, Rants Raves & Everything Else

Post by GiveMeABreak »

So carrying on with my Ali Express experiment from a few posts ago we are now at...

Item 3: Sunvisor Glasses Holder
Ali Glass Holder.PNG
Ali Glass Holder B.PNG
Their PictureMy Picture - In Use
One of the better items in that it actually works. These can take 2 pairs of glasses - clipping in at either end, with a correctly spelled Citroen logo to boot! So I can have my sunglasses stored and also a pair of reading glasses in case I need them when I'm out. Cost: about £2 inc. shipping.

Verdict: Pass

Next we have:

Item 4: Leather Citroen Key Fob Protector

I ordered this primarily to protect the fob from drops. If you are anything like me, I have a major stress if I drop my Key fob (usually on the hard concrete) and knowing how expensive these are, thought I should get some protection against drops.
Ali Key Case.PNG
Ali Fob B.png
The fob is a perfect fit and the red stitching matches the car colour. There is a bar that secures the chain and clasp through the fob and the outer case covering. so this allows me to clamp the fob onto my trouser belt loop and leave the fob in my pocket without having to take the fob out. This is also proper leather and not the PU stuff often seen.

My only concern is the bar / rod screws into the metal to secure it. I did make sure it was tight and will likely put some glue over the end to 'discourage' it from working loose. Cost: £8 inc. shipping.

Verdict: Pass


Item 5: Door Catch Protectors
Ali Door Latch Shields.PNG
Ali Door Latch Shields B.PNG
So these were just something I just thought didn't look too tacky and would look ok. They just stick over the door catches and protect the catch fixings from muck and grime. And bonus! they are even spelled correctly. £5 including shipping for 4.

Verdict: Pass


Item 6: Air Freshener Bulldogs
Ali Bulldog Scent A.PNG
Ali Bulldog Scent B.PNG
Ali Bulldog Scent C.PNG
I thought a pair of these black bull dog air fresheners would match the ink black of the car and just clip onto the air vents. They contain felt pads and some horrific scent :shock: , but at least they supply a few pads to put your own scent on.

Well these things are somewhat lethal! They are extremely sharp and all the points for the collar and the ears are honed to such a degree that you could easily cut yourself handling these things. Next, the clips - which although they say are coated in rubber - they are barely just that, So putting these on and pulling them off is going to damage your air vent finish. There are metal bits exposed at the ends of the clips.

So the finish is as shocking as the scent. These have come off the car now and will be recycled as not only does it make the vents hard to move once these are stuck on, but the heads only take a few millimetres to turn before they come apart - and this could be a hazard under braking, easily taking an eye out - so it's recycling for these babies. Cost about £10

Verdict: Fail


Well I told you I'd leave the big part of my Ali Express experiment until last - so here it is:

Item 7: Bonnet Gas Struts (Apparently)

Gas Bonnet Struts. I do miss the gas strut bonnet supports of my earlier C5 MK II - sadly lacking on both the later X7 and the Aircross. So along with the other tat I ordered above, I thought I'd give a set of gas struts a whirl.

All pictured as I expected on the website, showing a left and right corner strut
Struts C.PNG
So what could possibly go wrong....?

This! ....
Strut A.jpg
Strut B.jpg
2 huge ginormous struts nearly a metre long - and bear in mind these are still compressed and my bonnet is fully extended open!

They supplied some Carlos Fandango metal straps - probably to pull the mounting brackets through the bonnet holes...
IMG_3959.jpg
So they expect you to mount these from the centre top bonnet to the front edge of the engine bay! I mean how ridiculous is that. Apart from the fire and gas leak risk of the material overheating when they are compressed and lying over the engine when the bonnet is closed - how are you supposed to get anything done with this monstrous 'V' in the way?
Ali Bonnet Strut Extrapolated.png
I've copied and transposed (badly) the strut to show what it would look like with the 2 fixed as they expected me to do - not that this is anything like what is shown on their website, with the 2 small corner struts I thought I'd ordered.

So that was the epic fail and as expected, despite providing all the evidence, 10 pictures, a full video (they wanted me to prove it was a C3 Aircross I was trying to fit these too :roll: ) and a dispute, they at first rejected my claim. I believe this is typical, so I persevered with the video and other proof along with the pictures the seller had on his website. Finally they judged in my favour but left it to the seller to contact me - who was less than agreeable.

So undeterred and with principles involved here - lodged a dispute for part of the order with PayPal. Went through all the malarkey again, and of course Ali Express want the items shipped back to Singapore. This, despite it coming to me from a storage depot in England.....

Anyway I had an argument with PP and they provided a link for me to claim up to £15 shipping costs back - which I have done. So it cost me £21 to ship it back to Singapore, the struts cost about £28.73, so £49.73. When I eventually get the refund, I'll only be about £6 out of pocket - which I don't mind - I just didn't want them to get away with it and was quite prepared to write it all off anyway.

Verdict: Fail Epic Fail

So, overall, despite a few things turning out ok (so far), the lesson here is and what is to be expected to be honest is:
  1. Don't buy anything of any high monetary value.
  2. Expect nothing you receive will be the same as what you thought you ordered
  3. Expect obfuscation and hassle trying to return anything
  4. Be prepared to pay for returns to the orient
  5. Be prepared to write off any expenditure
Just going back to that PayPal return shipping costs issue. It wasn't something I was previously aware of.

If you pay for something via PayPal, you can claim up to £15 back for returning eligible items. Obviously this doesn't cover items that are already covered in the UK for example where return post costs are covered for defective or 'not as described' items. But for places like China, it can be really useful where their returns practices are not as robust.

So in case anyone is interested, here is the link to PayPal Shipping Costs Refund Info and in my case, it made a return to Singapore viable to do:

https://www.paypal.com/uk/webapps/mpp/refunded-returns
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Re: Marc's C3 Aircross SUV, Rants Raves & Everything Else

Post by GiveMeABreak »

Went out last Wednesday to get the weekly shop and went to a few places where some idiot decided it would be a good idea to try and park front end first into a parking bay next to me and in the process drove into my rear wheel and continued to scrape all along the rear door :evil:

We never saw who it was as I only noticed it at the next stop at the farm shop sometime later as I was loading a sack of spuds via the rear door. To say I went ballistic is an understatement and suspect it was done at Aldi. Somebody obviously incompetent at bay parking and who legged it quite quickly once they realised what they had done as we were not in there very long and there was nobody else parked on this side when I returned.

I know this because on the other side of the car there was a not so spritely chap in his 80s or 90s by the looks of him packing his shopping into his boot, with his trolley leaning against my other rear wing! :shock: Thankfully those Aldi trolleys have rubber / plastic corner guards on them so there was no marks - but I gave him the evils and firmly moved his trolley away.

So went to Morrisons car wash (which I never do as I hate those roller washers) and paid £8 for a useless wash just to see the damage more clearly. Despite the daylight robbery of the car wash, it left huge areas unwashed and had I not been in a foul mood, would of gone back and created a storm. As it was I just wanted to get back home at this point.

Here are some pics of the damage, clicking on the images will provide a much larger view.
Rear Door A.jpg
Rear Door B.jpg
Rear Door C.jpg
Rear Wheel Arch and Rear Door A.jpg
Rear Wheel Scrathed A+.jpg
Rear Wheel Scratched C.jpg
On the way home I called into an auto repair shop and the bloke told me he wouldn't touch the alloy - it would need a new one and a fair bit for the paint repairs.

I left there none too impressed and got home to start the insurance process rolling.

As these are Diamond Cut alloys, they need re-milling on a special lathe, and as there are multiple scratches and a chunk scraped off on one edge, I just hope that it has made a huge score in the other person's vehicle as karma.

So a new Alloy is about £220 so that's on 7-10 day back order with the insurance company, so the car is booked in a week Wednesday, otherwise it would of been this week.

The scratches are quite deep and the rear door goes into a raised shape seen in the second picture, so this has scuffed the raised area badly. They are quite deep scratches, so I guess they hit the wheel, scraped along as they were levelling out and continued all the way down the door.

I'm just so done with these narrow car park bays and can see why people deliberately park down the centre line taking up 2 spaces - they want space and to protect their cars!

:mecker: Kids running riot, mothers with chieftain-sized pushchairs, people not fit to drive and psychotic trolleys have made me decide to avoid them.

I think I may equip the Chili Hornet with some suitable new upgrades when she's back from the repair shop:
C3AC Defence.png
My friends tend to shop in the evenings and so I think we may give this a go where there's less going on and more room.
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Re: Marc's C3 Aircross SUV, Rants Raves & Everything Else

Post by Hell Razor5543 »

You have my sympathies, Marc. Might it be worth calling back into Aldi to see if they have cameras monitoring the car park, to see if they can get you the registration number of the culprit? If they can, then the git may find their insurance company is not happy with them, and the Police might also have a word with them for leaving the scene of an accident.

I tend to do my shopping very early in the morning; I get to the supermarket at 07:00, and the car park is usually empty.
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Re: Marc's C3 Aircross SUV, Rants Raves & Everything Else

Post by mickthemaverick »

That is a real pain Marc, there is nothing worse than the hit and run driver!! Having to claim is even worse as you are likely to suffer premium wise in the end regardless of blame!! :roll:

I always go shopping at 11.30pm or 5.30am mainly to avoid crowds for covid and ease of parking, but also to gain access to freshly stocked shelves and easy no queue checkouts. :)

Of course driving an older car is also a benefit as both of mine do fit the parking spaces better and others tend to park away from them, in the mistaken belief that I must be a careless thoughtless idiot who can't afford a proper car!! :-D
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Re: Marc's C3 Aircross SUV, Rants Raves & Everything Else

Post by Hell Razor5543 »

mickthemaverick wrote:
14 Nov 2021, 12:44
I must be a careless thoughtless idiot who can't afford a proper car!! :-D
A friend of Mum's came up with a really clever idea for driving through London. She had a tatty car, and she got a friendly mechanic to 'stove in' the front a bit (making sure there was nothing mechanically wrong with the vehicle). Because of this NO London bus or taxi pulled out in front of her. The downside was that when the car went in for the MoT the examiners doubted it was worth even testing the car.
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Re: Marc's C3 Aircross SUV, Rants Raves & Everything Else

Post by GiveMeABreak »

Yes thanks chaps, it's a right pain in the tiddlies.

No CCTV there I'm afraid, so will be a claim. Mind you my NCD is protected, and haven't claimed a bean for donkeys, so it will go down as a fault claim as they can't reclaim costs, so I'll expect my premium to rise slightly.
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Re: Marc's C3 Aircross SUV, Rants Raves & Everything Else

Post by bobins »

My brother-in-law works at one of the supermarkets and he came back to his car once to find the side totally stoved in. This wasn't a parking bump, more of an out of control crash. Needless to say, the culprit was long gone, no one saw anything, and no CCTV. The car was very nearly a write-off. My advice to him was to always park in one of the quieter corners of the car park and not where there's a high turnover of shoppers who aren't concentrating on parking and driving their cars.
Might be worth getting one of the dashcams that have a bit of internal battery reserve and will record for 10 seconds or so if the car is hit whilst they're stationary and the engine is off. My Nextbase dashcam will do this.
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Re: Marc's C3 Aircross SUV, Rants Raves & Everything Else

Post by GiveMeABreak »

I didn’t bother (typical) fitting a rear camera on this model as I’m back to a tailgate Robin, and also because I needed a decent small front camera due to the long camera / sensor pack on the inside of the windscreen.

It would mean a second camera separate to the front, and additional wiring trickery, but I may just go for it now for this reason. The issue is whether it would’ve been strong enough of a bump to trigger the camera activation, given that it was just a scrape along the side. But it may have given me some indication if it did go off, of the culprit driving away.

I’ll have to do some research
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Re: Marc's C3 Aircross SUV, Rants Raves & Everything Else

Post by Paul-R »

GiveMeABreak wrote:
14 Nov 2021, 12:27
I'm just so done with these narrow car park bays and can see why people deliberately park down the centre line taking up 2 spaces - they want space and to protect their cars!
You would approve of this then.

When we were down in France this summer I discovered that our local Carrefour hypermarket had repainted their car park leaving extra space between cars. For each car there was the "normal" width between two white lines and then another white line about a foot away from these filled in with diagonal hatching giving you just that extra bit of room for opening car doors. Rather than just giving everyone extra wide spaces just by themselves the ordinary width space encourages proper parking centrally. It can't be cheap doing all that painting but it's well worth it.

Sadly, no photos. The satellite view on Google, Bing and Michelin all show the old parking layout (Google's is dated 2021 so the change was fairly recent) and I've just discovered that absolutely nothing later than September 14th has been recorded on the dashcam!
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Re: Marc's C3 Aircross SUV, Rants Raves & Everything Else

Post by GiveMeABreak »

I don't agree with it Paul, but I can see why people do it. What I mostly object to is overtly small bays Paul - just to cram more cars in and income no doubt. Our Aldi has a shared car park with another store - it was like that before they moved in and they are just very small bays. Compared with the new Lidl store just built on its own ground with a large car park, the bays are at least a third to a quarter wider.

I knew this before and often parked over the road in the space where the carpet / furniture shops are (the ones that never have any customers in) and preferred wheeling the trolley aver the road, just to have the extra space.

But more than that - idiots that don't know the dimensions of their vehicles and would rather charge into a space not suitable for their vehicles rather than park elsewhere.

Some interesting info from the AA:

https://www.theaa.com/breakdown-cover/a ... space-size
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Re: Marc's C3 Aircross SUV, Rants Raves & Everything Else

Post by Paul-R »

Sorry, I meant you would approve of the car parking bays that I found in the Carrefour.
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Re: Marc's C3 Aircross SUV, Rants Raves & Everything Else

Post by GiveMeABreak »

Indeed I probably would - I get what you meant now. It's not as if my Aircross is that big - and that's what is annoying Paul.