Friday, September 16, 2011

Car maintenance

It was inevitable that the time would come for our beloved racecar to need some maintenance. We've already been surprised once with this vehicle since we've been here when Big R took the car in for its required inspection and it FAILED.  Yeah, that was a tad bit unexpected.  Four new tires later, and we had our registration in hand.  Can't say we were quite prepared for the cost of those tires.  Things are freaking expensive over here when it comes to your car.  Driving it, parking it, getting the license to drive it (Germans pay 2,000 EUR for the required autoschule to get a license to drive in Germany), insuring it, and now I am faced with the reality that maintenance is going to be a pricey affair as well.  We could use the good 'ol autocare center on Post, but when we got our new tires a couple months ago, we learned the hard way that using them is not the brightest decision.  Not sure exactly how much we'll have to pay to get all the things fixed that went wrong with the installation of those four tires, and neither Big R or I think it's worth the money we'd save to risk having more issues.

So, all that aside, the time had come for an oil change.  The pesky "time for maintenance" light screams in our face every time we turn the car on, and it was on me to get the car in tip top shape so that we have some dependable wheels.  Probably the best part of this story is that I couldn't quite figure out how to dial a local phone number here.  I actually knew, for once, where the Saab service shop was located, but I needed to call to make an appointment.  Should be easy, but I'm a moron on certain days of the week, and this week was no exception.  My German is improving painfully slow, so I practiced over and over how to say, "I would like to make an appointment for an oil change."  I had it down pat.  Little did I know I was going to dial the wrong number and ask a barbershop for an oil change appointment.  Yeah, the highlight of my week, by far.  Best part is, I did it TWICE on two separate occasions!  The person at the barbershop didn't speak a lick of English, but they still managed to bust out laughing when I clearly had the wrong number.  At least my practice paid off and they knew what I was asking for.

Somehow I managed to figure out how to get ahold of Saab - finally - and they were able to squeeze me in the following day.  I have now successfully taken my car to a German car dealer service shop to get the oil change and have spent our life savings in the process.  Turns out oil changes are a little pricey over here.  We have also had a bout of bad luck with prior service screwing up the car because we are constantly having to fix things.  Oy!  And we always thought taking the car to the Saab dealer was a guarantee for the best service, eh, not so much... The tires and wheels are all messed up (including the need to use the warranty on the brand new tires we bought - yeah, that we bought from the US and had shipped here, sounds like a fun project, eh?), the break fluid is low, and the bushes in our driveway have torn up the side of the car, so we're getting some scratches buffed out to make the race car look shiny again (and yes, I finally cut back the bushes to hopefully avoid future attacks).  

Needless to say, I continue to be happy with our decision to be a one-car family while we are living here in Germany. Not sure we could afford two cars even if we wanted to!  Just hoping our little racecar can hang in there. We love the darn thing, but this is getting a bit ridiculous.

1 comment:

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