Pay Me Now, or Pay Me Later

It’s Later, Apparently

My 1999 Audi A4Q has been acting up lately, so I took it into the shop today. It’s been making this horrible humming/grinding sound from the rear for a couple weeks — it seems to get louder every day, and it isn’t tire noise. Also, the handling has been a little odd, it doesn’t want to track straight.

Turns out the right rear wheel bearing is shot, and the left one is starting to go. too. But you can’t just re-pack them with grease, or pop in new bearings and be done with it. No, these are entire assemblies, including the hub and a speed sensor and who knows what else, so the cost for both sides is, um, about 5% of what I spent for the car three years ago (bought it used with 40k miles).

The tracking problem is the tie rods on both sides, which runs about another 4% of what I spent back then.

Oh, and it needs rear pads and rotors, but that has to wait. I may even try that myself, since my son is now an expert at doing brakes, based on his extensive experience from last summer.

But I can’t complain too much. In three years of ownership, I’ve hardly spent any money on it. A coolant temp sensor a couple of years ago ($150). Other than that, just a few oil changes that I’ve done myself. It does need a new winshield washer pump (or something), that hasn’t worked in a while. But that’s it.

So over three years I’ve driven this car almost for free, i.e., for just the cost of the depreciation. So now it’s time to pay up. But it should drive like new again, and it is a great car when everything works right.

I may even buy some new performance (summer) tires for it, and save the current Pirelli Sp6000 all-seasons as winter tires, and therefore buy a little more handling and braking performance for the 8 good driving months of the year. 😉

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