The Times When Having Your Own Car Sucks

BMW 3-Series

Only four more weeks and my better half and I will be packing stacks of junk in the car and head for Southern France. It’s hot there: air conditioning is a must.

Unfortunately the a/c on my lovely 1998 BMW 3-Series wasn’t functioning. At all. I knew this when I bought it last year and I haven’t bothered to fix it. There was no point; being on the other side of the globe all the time I had little use for the car and besides, the Dutch weather wasn’t generally very good. But now that we’re going away for two weeks, I want it fixed. There’s no fun in turning the whole car into a Turkish sauna, floating around in one’s own sweat!

So last week I took it to a specialised a/c repair garage. Probably not the cheapest guys on the market, but I’d rather have it done properly than half-arsed. The diagnose: a toasted pump, missing drive snare, filters as dirty as the inside of your vacuum cleaner and metal grit throughout the whole system. The bill: 1,500 Euros, a.k.a. almost 1,200 Pounds at today’s rate. That’s a hefty bill.

But, gosh darnit, it doesn’t end there! I’ve still got an issue with a vibrating steering wheel when I apply the brakes firmly at high speeds. You can imagine I have little appetite to go into the mountains of France’s beautiful south with a pair of sub-optimally functioning brakes. Even though they are perfectly capable of stopping the vehicle now, who knows what’s at the heart of the issue and what it can deteriorate to. Ergo, next Wednesday I’m taking the car to yet another garage that specialises in brake issues.

It’s times like these that make me wonder why I chose to buy my own car and the corporate mobility budget and not just run with the company funded lease alternative. That’s 100% worry free.

Until I sit down in the comfy leather seats, turn the key and hear the lovely dark brown growl of my Bimmer. Nothing a VW Bluemotion coffee grinder could ever match!

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