A little tale of woe and a warning to all.
I knew my A4 needed the timing belt done and had sought advice here (thanks to all here). Was contemplating driving all the way to London to get Chris to do it but wanted to check if there were any local independants who could do it for around the same price (so saving me around a 1000 mile of diesel and the cost of a ferry).
So, today I get the call that my 18" alloys have been refurbed and ready to go on the car. Great. Before I head out, I have a call from an independant here in Northern Ireland who can do the job for around the same price as Chris, but needs to confirm exact prices. Even better (no offence meant towards Chris).
So the plan is simple. Go and collect the wheels and once I get a firm price tomorrow, get the car booked in ASAP. I start the car and the battery light stays lit. Strange I thought, but it sits out all the time and haven't been out in it since Saturday. Start to reverse and discover I can't turn the steering. WTF thinks I. Tried various things and checked everything I could think of, and then Googled it. Most likely cause was alternator belt snapped or slipped off. Managed to remove the top belt covering and lo and behold the belt is slack. Mucked around as best I could since I'm neither a mechanic or have the right tools, but best I can tell is that it slipped off, which hints at the tensioner giving up the ghost (exactly as described on the net).
Oh joy! If that is the case, I need to get that fixed before I can drive it 70 miles to get it all done properly.
So, the moral of the story is simple. Don't wait until it's too late before getting important work done to your car. The job was going to be expensive for me anyway. Now it has just got more expensive.