Paul’s Blog – A car saga worth knowing

If you have a car that goes wrong my prattling on here may pay you big dividends, if not just read it for amusement/incredulity.

My high mileage Audi A.6 (11 years old & 271,000 miles from new) began to develop an intermittent vibration approximately 5 weeks ago but the saga really began to grow 3 weeks ago today (Monday 27th Feb) when my good mate , Paul Jones, picked it up from the Cafe to put it through it’s annual MOT. Upon returning it he confirmed the intermittent vibration was not our imagination & that I should get a diagnostics test by someone with the right kit & that his suspicion was that one of the 6 Injectors might be causing the fault. Paul & I then ran a pleasant loop of Capel together as we put ourselves through our own MOT’s, not much wrong there for two guys in their 50’s.

Driving home that evening the vibration got worse but the car otherwise felt fine. Tuesday dawned, I reversed the car & then began to pull forward when it promptly cut out & wouldn’t re-start. Left it where it was on the driveway & we drove into the Cafe in Dorina’s Dacia ‘I’ll sort the Audi out tomorrow when I’m off’.

By late Wednesday morning the Insurer’s had put it’s recovery in place, Bradbury’s of Barmouth, who had craned my Ex’s Beetle of our high retaining wall (long story in which no one died) many moons ago, were again very efficient in coming out & recovered the car to a main dealer who shall remain nameless (in this blog at least).

Despite the car being booked in for the said diagnostic test on the Thursday I had to chase the update 3 times & finally got one the following Monday. It was not good news:-

New Injector No.3 – £900

Sundry Other bits – £600, or thereabouts.

DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) – £5,500, yes I will type that again, £5,500.

Total Bill to put a car I bought for £49K that pre-breakdown was worth £4K, the service assistant was pleasant enough to conclude ‘I’m not expecting your answer now Mr. Hodges’.

This needed some though & investigation. Next day I took a tour in Dorina’s Dacia to two Audi Specialists one seemed closed or on reduced hours the other (I’d used to replace front light bulbs some years earlier, £900 for that & a story best to ask me about than to read here) was no longer in business, indeed the building had been flattened. Now What do I do?

Wednesday – By now I had phoned another Audi dealership (Shrewsbury, where I had bought the car from) & was awaiting a call back. With snow forecast I lost patience so late morning I stole Dorina’s Dacia to Shrewsbury to make myself known & hopefully make progress. To be fair they didn’t see the stricken car to diagnose it their end so I just asked a Sales assistant to look at the first Dealerships quote to see if it seemed reasonable if indeed those faults were correct. Phil (the Sales assistant) promptly took the quote to their repairs department & came back 5 minutes later to say ‘well yes most of the items we’d quote a similar amount but as for the DPF we’d charge closer to £8,000 for that.

Having been toying with replacing Dorina’s Dacia for several months with either a bigger new Dacia or a nearly new Audi A4/A6 for several months (the logic being we needed a more reliable car for my/our sojourns to the Alps, my car had broken down in Morzine last year causing Myself & Judy an anxious few days). Thus there was only one decision to be made. An hour or so later, documents signed I was now an owner of a 4 year old A.6 with 46,000 on the clock (very low by my standards). O.K. only a 2 litre & not 3, no heated steering wheel (bad for my Reinhard’s disease) but very fancy compared to my old one. Delivery booked for a week’s time (Wednesday again). Now I know Phil was only doing his job but he did it well despite me knowing that a lot of Salesman patter is a bit robot like & me not liking robots generally, Well done Phil! The next week went smoothly too.

Back to the broken one. I called at the first dealership on our way to a mini-break in Liverpool where I was to have my annual financial review (at least that had some good news). I collected a few essentials from the car & discussed the options with the repair assistant ‘we don’t scrap so you’ll have to arrange that’ ‘O.K. I’m away for a couple of days so I’ll get onto that on Monday & update you’ I said with a headache coming on.

By Sunday morning my thoughts were ‘how can I scrap it, it’s got so much kit on it, for gods sake it’s got a heated steering wheel, those seats, headlights……….’. ‘Chris’ (as in Lloyd) who was doing a shift on the pots standing in for Alan who was away, ‘do you know anyone in Llandudno who specialises in Audi’s’ ‘no Paul, but I could ask Dave Brown (like Chris, also a member of OVMRO & Cafe regular), because he’s got an Audi, to see who he uses’.

Dave recommended Chris Lewis (Mechanical Services) at Llandudno Junction, he then forwarded, by What’s App, the number, I decided that the scrap merchants would be at best the second call I’d make on Monday.

Monday ‘Hi Chris, I’ve got a several thousand pound problem’, ‘O.K. drive it to us & we’ll take a look’, ‘can’t, it doesn’t drive, can you recommend a local recovery firm’, ‘yes, North Wales Recovery’. Jenny was very efficient & good for a laugh & came back to me in 2 minutes ‘yes we can do it later today, £96 inc. Vat, if Chris can’t help you no one can’ she concluded. A second recommendation that brought a smile to my face.

By Wednesday morning (whilst I was waiting for the ‘new’ car to be delivered) Chris was on the phone, ‘can’t really diagnose the DPF until we’ve replaced the Injector’, I bit the Bullitt ‘O.K. let’s go with that then’.

Later that day I was at the Cafe having driven the new car there in order to meet Andy the Electrician who was testing our electrics when a text came in on my phone, it was circa 4:30 pm & from Chris Lewis. ‘Hi Paul, car is ready for collection, we’ve replaced the Injector, cleaned the DPF, it’s driving well, the cost is £686.69 (well the middle detail of that was not in the text but I got it from Chris the next day when I phoned to thank him).

I showed the text to Dorina & then Mike who’s jaws both dropped as mine had done minutes earlier.

Dorina is now proudly driving a 46,000 mile Audi A.6 (it really is a nice bit of kit), I am driving a slightly higher mileage A.6 but with a HEATED Steering Wheel & we are looking for a buyer for a Dacia Sendero, contact a lucky Angel please if you are interested on 01690 720429.

There is obviously a moral to this story but I’ll conclude by thanking those who deserve it:-

Paul Jones, Bradbury’s of Barmouth, Phil of Shrewsbury Audi, Chris Lloyd, Dave Brown, Jenny of North Wales Recovery, Chris Lewis (seriously big thank you that one, I’d recommend him to anyone who remotely gets bad news from a Dealership to try him out) & last but not least to a beaming Angel who drove me this morning to collect the heated steering wheel, both cars drove like a dream.

Now was there anyone I didn’t thank??? Ahh yes there was, wasn’t there.

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