Monday, November 28, 2011

Car Conundrum

Here in good ole Deutschland we have to have winter tyres usually from October until Easter (O to O* as the saying goes) which is great, the winter tyres are much grippier and therefore safer, if you have an accident when you should have winter tyres on and you've still got your summer tyres on you will have a hell of a job getting your insurance company to pay up (so we're warned).

So every October the tyre garages are all crazy busy changing everyone's wheels and storing them away somewhere ready for spring when they'll be mad busy again. Sometimes they sell out of winter tyres (so I've been told) although once you have a set, unless you're doing huge mileage (or donuts in the local carpark on a Sunday) the 2 sets of tyres should last a fair while.

We've just decided to buy a new car, a Mini Countryman will be mine just before Christmas (hopefully), we've spent time choosing the colour (NOT black or silver (Simon's 2nd choice) and he wont let me have the yellow ("think of the resale value Verena") but I am allowed "Surf Blue"**) and various other twiddly bits and also some nice wheels - no point having a sexy paint job if you're going to stick a set of rims on that look like dustbin lids, trust me, I'm a part-time petrol head. The sexy wheels the car comes with are its summer wheels and so we have to arrange winter wheels either through the dealer or through the tyre garage that normally stores my this means that if we don't get the dealer to change the wheels for us prior to driving away the sheeny shiney new car we'll be taking it home (30 minutes from one side of the city to the other) on winter roads*** with summer tyres and therefore dubious insurance. We discussed this at the dealership with the salesman, angling for him to offer to come and drop off the new car and take away the old, but no, I guess we didn't have a particularly strong bargaining position seeing as it was +10C outside, maybe closer to the date, when I ring and tell him that no, I'm not going to drive over and collect my new car and pay him for it because the roads are too dicey, maybe then he'll reconsider.

Of course the other problem is that we have to change the winter wheels on the old car back to summer wheels before taking it to the dealer in part ex, because they only buy/sell cars in summer condition. Great, so I have to get the tyre garage to change the wheels on the car we're part ex-ing, put the old winter wheels in my garage to try to flog them on ebay**** and then drive said car across the city before driving the new car home and taking it straight to the tyre garage for its winter make under.

So, winter wheels, great in theory and in practice, but (mental note to self) try to only buy/sell a car in the summer, it's so much less hassle.

Anyone need any slightly worn winter wheels? Collection only.

* Easter = Ostern.
** the majority of cars here are black, those that aren't black are silver, other colours can be seen but if you're having a car colour counting competition with a small child, then black wins.
*** at that time last year we had 30 cms of snow, at least, everywhere, with sub zero temperatures and no respite in sight.
**** have no idea how strong the demand is for 2nd hand winter wheels, let alone in mid Dec when everyone sensible/law abiding is already sitting smug.

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