Today, Somara got a “normal” shift again so we can drive to and from work together like we used to. I cannot remember when it stopped, it has been that long (a matter of months, not years). The upside outweighs the down easily, especially in light of gasoline costs, bringing my lunch and she can drive while I can take a small cat nap during the seven-mile commute. Maybe the downside will force me to get up and exercise more in the morning.
This couldn’t have happened at a more opportune time. On Monday morning (the upcoming one), my “trusty” old ’96 VW Golf GL is going in for another visit to Underground to see whether or not the CV joints are really starting to wear out. Last month, I bought a new pair of front tires from NTB. Part of the deal was balancing and the Golf ran great, no more vibrating through the steering wheel. They also said it needed some other work such as brakes, fluids, etc. I didn’t doubt it because I don’t really take very good care of the car; personally I feel that automobiles have been made too complicated by Big Oil, Detroit, Berlin and Tokyo, I mean, how many parts does a car really need for its purpose? So a couple weeks later (when the tires were paid off), I let NTB tackle the brakes and fuel system due to their hours being more convenient than Underground’s. Besides, this type of work is more in line with an oil change or new tires which wouldn’t really require Toby’s level of expertise and grief I get for being without my car. Besides the NTB people breaking the plastics covering my car’s steering column, I get this semi-dire discussion about the CV joints and how much fluid leaks from everywhere. The latter I knew about. However, ever since the brake work and warning over the CV joints, my Golf’s front section shudders if I accelerate rapidly, drive over certain surfaces (namely the new pavement on Parmer or MoPac) or anything involving a serious amount of torque (Jeremy’s term, I still don’t understand what it is outside of going uphill or braking heavily). I am not going to accuse NTB of dishonesty or incompetence but I am skeptical because of the change in performance being rather sudden. I don’t know cars well, thus a second professional opinion is needed. Either Underground will vindicate NTB’s work or correct it. Should I need new CV joints, I’ll go with Underground and Toby is more likely to tell me the truth on getting them replaced one at a time to save a little money. It may even be just a matter of refilling the grease to get the Golf to last another couple years; our current plan before buying a new car.
Speaking of buying a new car. I had seriously considered it earlier this week. If Detroit is behind the eight ball on manufacturing, I’d say they’re all inept at having useful/helpful websites when you want a decent quote, the closest dealership and building the car you’re interested in. Good luck on getting a model which will accommodate your iPod too. They offer the USB-based connection yet never have it in stock because they’d rather sell you that crap Sirius/XM satellite radio package.
I did pursue getting a quote from the VW dealership in Georgetown (I thought it was in Round Rock). As an Apple employee, I receive a discount so I figured why not. Someone from there called me in a couple hours after I submitted the request online which was surprising, most businesses never answer in my experience. We talked a bit and he e-mailed me the quote with the discount. I can’t disclose it but calling it a slight discount would be an understatement. I could buy a new Toyota Yaris or Nissan Versa at MSRP for less than what VW wants for a Rabbit.
Eventually, I told the sales guy thanks but no thanks, I will just get my Golf repaired. Another smug friend thought he was being funny on commenting on how often the VW is in the shop; it really has repairs in spurts. I went back to my Quicken file, redid the math on how much it has cost to maintain since it was paid off: less than $80/month. Certainly cheaper than a $300/month car payment and don’t forget the increased insurance premium.
The verdict on my decision will come in shortly next week.