Old age means facing up to the inevitable. It’s harder to get going in the morning, rumbling noises come from the insides, and bits fall off. Yep, it’s time to change the car. Reluctantly, I’ve concluded my eight-year-old old Corsa is nearing the end of the road.

A car is the second most expensive purchase we make in our lives. So how come I can’t fire up any enthusiasm for the task? I don’t have unreasonably high expectations. All I ask is they start and stop when I want them to. I admit to zero interest in how they work. I find detailed descriptions of what they can and can’t do, terminally boring.

Jeremy Clarkson claimed he was glad to leave Top Gear before, “it became tired and boring.” I have bad news for you, Jezza. Applying the stimulating conversation scale, Mr Clarkson, and car buffs in general, come just below beer mat collectors. I’m not making this up, there really is something on the internet entitled, A Brief History of Car Colours. I rest my case.

My reluctance to change the car is down to a condition best described as “car showroom syndrome.” Things have moved on since the heyday of Minder and Arthur Daly in the 80s and 90s. Nevertheless, I exude vulnerability every time I walk into a showroom. That’s when lack of knowledge and interest in all things automotive backfires. Any salesman (are there any saleswomen out there?) worth his salt marks me down as a soft touch. In the trade jargon, I’m the salesman’s dream. The prospective buyer unlikely to drive a hard bargain, aka a bunny. To keep the metaphor going, someone easily taken for a ride.

Yes, yes, I know most indexes of professional trust have journalists and newspaper columnists bumping along the bottom, with politicians and car salesmen for company. The main difference being salesmen deal with clients on a one-to-one basis. Their commission, mortgage, new shoes for the kids, all depend on buying low and selling high. I don’t want to be too hard on them. It’s a tough and competitive job, in which targets and performance are under constant scrutiny. You’re only as good as your last (or next) sale. Under the circumstances, it’s understandable some might be ethically challenged.

I’m at least partially responsible for my vulnerability. I don’t do my homework, so when I wander in off the street, I’ve little idea what I’m looking for. Remember the old TV advert in which the salesman enquires if “the bunny” has any questions. The best he comes up with is “has it got those thingies for hanging your jacket?” My lack of technical knowledge knows no bounds. I judge a car’s performance and reliability through a quick circumnavigation, giving the tyres a few desultory kicks en route.

Sometimes, I’ll ask for a test drive. Is it just me or does the salesman usually tag along? Ironically, one of the few times that didn’t happen, the car ran out of fuel a couple of miles from the showroom. Revenge can be sweet. A salesman once asked if he could take my car for a “run around.” I insisted I accompany him, frequently stressing why my car was worthy of a top trade-in price. The drive was strangely short.

When it comes to negotiating deals, I’m as inept as Boris Johnson and Lord Frost. It’s probably a man thing. Salesmen think they can greet males as if we are lifelong buddies. Males are hard-wired against admitting a lack of understanding of all things mechanical, especially cars. Women are more likely to admit ignorance, but still be hard-nosed to drive a good bargain. My wife’s Medusa-like stare cuts through any “I’ll have to go and speak to my manager” nonsense. In contrast, I’m easily suckered into lucrative (for the salesman) “back-end” extras such as finance, extended warranties, and GAP insurance. A sceptical wife is by the far the best safety feature if you don’t want to be driven round the bend in the car saleroom.