14 February 2017


A couple of years ago, the old BMW X5 died. We kept it around after Matt got his new car so we'd have something to put the dogs in. I considered selling my beloved 2008 Audi S5 in favor of an electric BMW i3. The rear seats fold down, making enough room for the dogs. When we needed it, we could just rent a car to take skiing or where ever. I decided not to for a few reasons, such as the house was still under construction and I couldn't put a charging station in the rental house. However, we still had a problem. Doggies are not allowed in my car, with it's "back seat." Doggies are also not allowed in Matt's. Our first world solution was to lease a BMW X1 for toting around the dogs and driving up snowy mountains. We figured by the time the lease was up, there would be more electric options and we could put a charging station in the completed garage.

Well, we still had three cars. Admittedly, it was a silly solution, made under pressure. And now two of the cars required monthly payments, instead of just one. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed like selling my Audi was the correct financial decision. The only problem - I didn't want to.

I truly loved my S5. Red leather interior, manual transmission, and exceptional handling at 95MPH (don't tell Grandma). The interior was spotless, except for the red ribbon around the stick. The only deficiency was the carbon fiber trim pieces. For whatever reason, the carbon fiber glue failed and the pieces started peeling off. The dealer wanted $900 PER PIECE just in parts, since all four entire trims had to be replaced (two on the front doors, two in the back). I declined their offer and bought used pieces online for $550 total. The body shop was going to install them for a few hundred.

Before I could install the pieces, another asshat hit my car and declined to leave a note. Add another few hundred to fix the scrapes on the driver's side door. And then the clutch started acting weird.

When you ease up on the clutch, the pedal is supposed to automatically rise up. Instead, it desided to only come up halfway. I discovered this on a freeway on ramp when I stalled the car. I "fixed" the problem by pulling the clutch back up with my foot.

It only happened once the first day, so I chalked it up to a fluke. Sadly, it started happening more and more on subsequent days. Time to bring my car in for service.

It took the mechanics a day and half to be sure, and then my service advisor called me with the bad news.  The clutch fork needed to be replaced. The part itself was only a few hundred, but to get to the fork the entire freaking transmission needed tobe dropped. That's $3900 in labor. Based on experience, there was also a good chance that the clutch assembly would need to be replaced, for an extra two grand. Great.

I got a price from the dealer. After a bit of negotiating, I got him up $500 by throwing in the trim pieces I already bought. It was a $50 loss, but easier than trying to resell the pieces myself. I was thinking of trying to sell my car third pary, but that would require fixing everything first. Based on online research, that would only get me an extra thousand or so over what Audi offered me, if I was able to get top dollar. There was a reasonable chance that I wouldn't. My original plan was to drive over to CarMax for a second offer, but driving all the way there in the rain with a bad clutch didn't exactly seem safe. So, in the end, I just sold my precious car back to the dealer.

Good bye, my love.

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