I scrapped my much loved Audi 80 (1994) a few months ago. Its MOT was coming up and while the old horse was still trotting along really well, the tyres all needed replacing, the brakes were on their way out, and some other bits and pieces also needed looking at. Combined with the paltry fuel consumption, this made it too costly to maintain, even though a lot of the spend would have been on standard wear and tear.
Looking back at the original receipt, I bought the car in June 2004 so it did last me a good ten years with appreciation of a mere £170 a year and absolutely minimal upkeep costs. Alas, Audi we knew each other well. All I have left of you is memories, a few photos, and the Audi logo which I prized off the glove box ; )
Being a little desperate to replace the car, I decided to go for a 2002 Golf GT TDI. In haste, I bought the car from a dealership who had just got the car in on a part exchange deal. I really should have spent more time kicking the tyres, because after I bought the car I realised the suspension was shot to pieces. The windscreen was also cracked and needed to be replaced for £150. At the very least, I could have bargained a few hundred quid off the price. Nevertheless, I figured it was a solid car, with a good service history, a decent set of tyres, and excellent fuel efficiency. Over the coming weeks, I picked up on a few more faults, such as dodgy electrics and a broken electric window, which surprisingly turned out to be typical of these cars (one reviewer describes the window mechanism as being made out of chocolate). Also, despite having various mod cons such as climate control, leather seats with heating built in, and a twin electric sunroof, the interior feels much cheaper than the Audi 80, a car that was eight years its senior!
Due to the dodgy electrics the headlight buzzer doesn't work and I've had to call the RAC out twice to jump start the car because I left the lights on - just today I had to replace the battery, which was drained to death. Oh the car also keeps locking itself, which means I could easily find myself locked out of my car if I leave the keys inside. As I don't have a spare key made up yet, this could be an expensive mistake.
On the upside, the suspension fix can wait, the cambelt has already been replaced, and the diesel engine is a rock solid lump. Visually, the car looks okay (it's just lacking soul and character), and the fuel efficiency is outstanding at over 53 mpg! The savings on fuel and road tax mean that I could happily spend about £600 a year on this car in repairs and it wouldn't hurt my wallet any more than if I kept the Audi running. Also, there is an important mental effect of having minimal fuel costs, which is that you don't feel that you are killing your wallet every time you take a drive!