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Bentley Arnage Red Label Running Costs - Report 003

Updated: Jun 24

Bentley Arnage Red Label Running Costs

As Simon reminds us owning a twenty-two-year-old, thirsty beast is a constant work in progress. So what are the latest running costs of his Bentley Arnage Red Label?

Since my last article about ownership, the Bentley has seldom been faultless but still, she soldiers on. An engine management light regularly reminds me that I have a problem with a knock sensor of which there are two; an easy-to-get-to-one, and one that requires major fiddling and removal of many parts. Guess which knock sensor I have to replace?

An ongoing grinding noise from the rear brakes is still an issue and in the next few weeks, she’ll be going in to have the hand brake cable swapped out, which I hope will cure the fault given it’s the only thing left to change! The brakes work perfectly, it’s just the noise. You get used to it though and I’ll probably miss the sound when it’s gone.

Other ongoing things to sort include a proper polish of the plastic headlight covers, I am using a product that I am not happy with that claims to both polish and protect. The polish is OK, but they very quickly dull over again so I suspect the protection bit is not up to much. A new product will therefore need to be sourced. The noisy fan is another thing, the bi-metallic strip in the viscous fan is not doing a proper job and is currently not available.

This is a point worthy of note. My Bentley is over twenty years old and some parts are fast becoming obsolete. Finding equivalents is sometimes nigh-on impossible and the volume of cars produced means that it’s rare that parts get remanufactured by others. What this has led to is a rise in breakers. Even a slight bump is enough, these days, for insurance companies to simply write the car off. This means that there are some great cars out there being scrapped for parts.

Bentley Arnage Red Label Running Costs

It’s good in some ways, it keeps the roadworthy ones going but it also is subject to the law of diminishing returns. Eventually, the only cars left will be those in collections, never used, never enjoyed except visually and that’s sad. I love car museums, I visit Lakeland Motor Museum regularly – there’s a nice car meet on the first Saturday morning of each month – but I also feel that cars were made to be driven and slowly, inexorably the numbers continue to dwindle. Mind you, with the changes to fuels coming, it may kill most current cars off anyway. Nothing stays the same.

As well as a supply of parts, these cars need constant attention and when you buy into this club, you do so knowing that it will be a constant and on-going list of things to do. But do you know what? Each and every time I get behind the wheel, it’s all forgiven. She drives like a dream and all is well as I make my way to the next petrol station.

In early summer, I sort of fell out with the radio. The stereo I had put in when I got to the car was OK, but with the built-in Bentley sat nav now very obsolete I wanted to get something that did both things. So, I invested in a Sony 9-inch screen (XAV-AX3005) which uses Apple CarPlay™ or the Android equivalent. In the groups on Facebook where us Bentley owners help each other out I immediately fell foul of the purists, “you can’t do that”, “it has to be original”, and “are you mad?” were a few of the comments made about my choice.

Bentley Arnage Red Label Running Costs

However, the addition of the flat screen does nothing apart from take up a little more space and, the design of the Bentley centre console means that the screen fits with nothing being covered up. Almost like it was designed that way. A future owner can also, in about ten minutes, return the car to the original, if they wish.

However, what this gives me is sat nav, access to my Spotify, and if I were to get a suitable antenna, DAB radio. One thing I did notice immediately is that the existing radio, both the original one and my first replacement were not making the most of the speaker system in the Bentley. As soon as the Sony device was powered up and music started coming out, you could tell that there was a more rounded sound, crisper perhaps. Either way, the quality was vastly improved. Interestingly, it is still not as good as the best “non-modified” sound system I ever experienced which was a Dolby system in a 2003 Volvo C70 – to this day an incredible system to listen on – but it’s very good, nonetheless.

This is the single biggest thing I have done to her all summer apart from constant polishing and attending car meets. There are still a few niggles on the bodywork to do, some wood refurbishment and leather treatment but nothing urgent and nothing that stops people admiring the car from near and far. She’s doing a few weddings later in the year and it all helps to keep her going.


Bentley Arnage Red Label Running Costs

Date acquired - April 2020

Total mileage - 111,623

Recent mileage - 3,555

MPG - 16.0

Expenditure - £1,200

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