Ready for story time?
I have a 2005 Audi A4 quattro 3.0 ultrasport that I’ve been throwing money at ever since I bought it. I really love the car, it’s super fun to drive (especially in the snow), but it seems like the previous owner sold it right before everything started to break. Paid $13k (too much) for the car 2 years ago at a buy-here place because my credit report was pretty much a blank sheet at the time.
I’ve replaced the entire A/C system (~$1200), timing belt (~$1500), various suspension parts (~$500), both front window regulators and trunk actuator (~$600), brakes, and of course the $100 each oil changes regularly. It also burns about a quart per month, which is supposedly normal but that adds up too.
Since it’s all wheel drive, tires need to be bought as a set. Last set came out to nearly $800 for 4, after mount/balance/alignment. These were Goodyear Eagle GT 235/40ZR18s, which I guess they stopped making in 2013.
This week I walk outside and there’s a giant knot on the sidewall of the front tire. I’ve put less than 15k on these tires, and since they aren’t manufactured anymore, I’m faced with buying another whole set. Another $800.
Adding it all up, it looks like I’m about to break $20k spent on a 11 year old car with (now) 140,000 miles on it. Not to mention it’s throwing a check engine again, something about evap system. I also read that the catalytic converters start to go bad around 120k miles on this car. That will be a fun adventure too.
Wifey is about to quit her job in a couple months to do her nursing program full-time. Clinicals I guess. I made a little less than 30k last year and expect to be supporting both of us with about the same amount for the next year or more. I want to get my real estate license and break into that this year as well, which is gonna be another giant expense, at least at first.
I’ve been considering the idea of just driving this thing up to dealership to trade in, and let them deal with the knot on the tire or auction it for whatever. I hate the idea of having another car payment, though. It was so refreshing when I paid off the car and dropped to liability insurance, cutting out a total of $440/month in expenses. But with all the maintenance, it feels like I still have a car payment.
Is it time to cut my losses and go buy a Mazda6?
Or should I buy another set of tires and try to suck some more life out of this money pit? It’s tough to stomach putting another thousand in when I know I could be driving a decade newer car.
Any of you have similar car-trouble-during-precarious-financial-times stories to tell ?