Audi A4 Shed
Now finally on the road after the debacle with the ignition switch and the Audi is behaving with impeccable manners. When running from cold, keeping the acceleration above 2,000 revs all is well. A few miles into the motorway drive, the car got up to temperature. The engine note changed to more of a calm, confident rumble that you’d associate with any modern motorway mile-muncher.
The gear changes were smooth and it was, well, very nice to drive. It inspired confidence to the point that I actually relaxed into the drive and started to enjoy it.
After the recent ignition disaster though, the battery had been removed so the radio needed a code. Happily, I have the code. Regrettably, I didn’t have the instruction on how to enter the code. My bro-in-law did tell me what to do, but I’d forgotten and he was now on holiday. A call to the internet was required, which provided me with lots of false and inaccurate information. Eventually, through pressing lots of random buttons I found the combo that allows code entry. For reference, with “Safe” lit up on the display, you press and hold “TP” and (the button below TP). Code entered, the radio sprung back to life and I now had musical choonage for the journey home.
The Shed has now been my faithful daily companion for a couple of weeks. The motorway journeys have provided ample charge into the battery and it starts with confidence and once to temperature, the acceleration problems disappear. I still haven’t got complete trust to fill the car with a full tank of fuel, but I was confident enough to commit £40 of unleaded at the petrol station last week. It’s record thus far is starting to give me the increasing assurance that I need to ultimately come to rely on it without the trepidation that inevitably still creeps into the thought process in the morning.
Long may it continue!
I set off on the first work-journey using the Audi shed and regrettably it failed me. The indicators wouldn’t work and neither would the wipers, the latter being an essential requirement in 2012’s British summer. I did a u-turn back home and parked the car up. Except that I couldn’t get the key out of the ruddy lock. It was stuck fast in the ignition and wouldn’t budge. I tried to restart the car and the ignition turned and fired the engine, but wouldn’t ‘catch’ meaning the key went straight back down to the off position.
Not a great start. A call was put into my bro-in-law who promptly disassembled the steering column that evening and found the issue with the ignition switch. New one ordered, the car was back on the road again a couple of days later.
No problems since and I’ve used it a couple of times. I like my shed. The big test will be next week when it commences commuter duties. Fingers crossed everyone.
My daily commute involves a long stretch of the hideous M62 motorway, which is currently clogged up with 20 miles of contraflow, resulting in continual traffic jams and increasing my commute to around an hour and twenty minutes each way.
This is depressing. It is even more depressing being sat in that in my other car (the Porsche 911, read about it here) which should really be associated with fun and enjoyment, not frustration and misery. Something had to be done, so I decided that it was time to take up the bangernomics ethos and enter the world of ‘shedding’.
Sheding, as I understand it, means buying a very cheap car to do the daily trudge, whose sole objective is to get you through the soleless miles which you really don’t want to be doing.
My budget was £800 but I didn’t really want to spend that much if I could help it. As cheap as possible was the aim. I was looking at Mondeo’s as I quite like newer shape but it was only a half-hearted search as I’ve too much going on at the moment and time is very limited. Handily though, my brother-in-law had just bought a new Audi A4 and was about to put his old one up for sale. A 1997 1.8 Petrol in burnt Orange. “You can have it for £300 if you want it”, he suggested. This was met with approval from my good lady and the deal was done. The car needed a few bits sorting out, which I said I’d pay for if he could fit them (he is a mechanic). So the car had new spark plugs, new rear disks and pads and a few other things that I’ve forgotten.
In terms of provenance,it has 156,000 miles since its origin, but comes with electric everything, climate control with cold air conditioning, remote central locking and a CD player. It has a few months tax and 12 months test, recent new tyres and service and a stainless steel exhaust. And it feels like a 90’s car; the seats are small and the headrests only serve to prevent whiplash in your upper back – and it has that old-car smell. But it all adds to the character. It still looks good and has a private number plate which disguises its age. It also drives well, but there is a small coolant leak and the engine doesn’t like to be rushed; there is a notable dip in acceleration up to two thousand revs and you cannot get it to move until after that rev range. I knew this when I bought it though, so no big deal. Once it is up to temperature everything behaves itself. Great news.
Shedding also has many unforeseen plus sides. The first being that you feel so much happier spending just a fraction of the cost of a new car. Buying a car that you don’t really care about brings with it a huge amount of unexpected pleasure. For example the first day I bought the car, I had to call at the supermarket on the way home, and there was a space available right at the front of the car park. Never has one been so excited at the prospect of being able to park somewhere so close to my destination and be completely at ease with the world of selfishness that surrounds us these days. Chancing a car park ding on my motor is fine-and-dandy in the Shed. It already has several war wounds over the years from light scratches to a small dent in the front wing, a couple of door-dings will be barely noticeable
Then there is the key turning gamble. Will it start or won’t it? Will the engine just refuse to work part way through a journey? Who knows. This is the fun of shedding, because with such a low price tag after a few months of ownership the car would become almost disposable.
Having said that, I don’t want to jinx it as I’m already becoming quite attached to my Orange Audi and so it was treated to a good clean at the weekend. Six minutes flat of glorious wash and wipe, a record for car cleaning here. The windows needed a good sorting though as they were filthy, so I spent 20 minutes getting these spick-and-span. Worthwhile as the car will be used primarily for motorways and I need to be able to see.
So, that’s the lengthy introduction to my initiation with Shedlife and still hard to believe that I bought an entire car for less than the price of one tyre for the Porsche. Total cost so far £400 plus £87 for 3 months insurance and as this is our third car, I guess that means I’ve formed the start of a ‘collection’ too. Happy days indeed.