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I hadn't seen this on the forums for a while, I always get a kick out of reading this and helps me understand why problems pop up. I don't know who the original author of this was, so I can't give credit.

"It’s not as simple as paranoia you know, it’s also the true spirit of pioneering scientific enquiry that leads me to take this apparently foolhardy action.

It’s generally agreed that there's a gremlin that lives in all Trollhatten built cars. As you know this gremlin waits until you’ve fixed the last coolant leak, squeak or rattle and then creates another new fault. People have been known to leave the odd serious fault unfixed just to keep the gremlin inactive for a while. Other people adopt strategies such as not opening the bonnet, or even not washing. In general the faster faults are fixed, the more active the gremlin gets. (Pete T’s gremlin has had a very active period recently.) The people at Trollhatten, and at some of the more experienced dealerships, are well aware of the gremlins and usually leave one or two faults in each car just to appease them. Many properly trained mechanics adopt this principle on all makes of car not just Saabs. This is why mechanics will leave the dirtiest handprints on the most polished cars; they can smell an active gremlin. Some bad mechanics actually fix all the faults, but they only do this to wake up the gremlin and create future business.

What’s not agreed on is the gremlin’s motivation. The most accepted theory (the bad gremlin theory) is that the gremlin’s purpose in life is to stop Saab owners from getting too smug. So just when you’re feeling most pleased with the new radiator the puncture appears. If you accept this theory the spare head gasket strategy follows. The gremlin knows you have the spare head gasket, if the head gasket fails, you will be smug just for being so well prepared. To gremlins ‘well prepared’ smug is an even more hateful sort of smug than ‘fuel gauge reads correctly’ smug. The gremlin is trapped, the head gasket cannot fail.

The alternative view on gremlin motivation is not as well accepted. This theory suggests that the gremlin is really quite well intentioned. However the gremlin makes observations about factors such as the size of tool kit, the promptness with which small faults are repaired, the quality of lighting in the garage and the state of your fingernails. From these observations the gremlin has mistakenly come to believe that you like working on the car. (My wife has come to this misguided view as well, so it’s easy to see how the simple gremlin makes the mistake.) The gremlin is desperately trying to please you by providing things for you to mend. If this theory is correct, the spare head gasket strategy is extremely risky and is inviting a failure by sending the gremlin further misleading signals.

So, I have set up an experiment to finally resolve the good gremlin/bad gremlin dispute. Shortly I will be taking a spare head gasket on holiday…."
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