In fact, this was the M25 on an ordinary morning in September: I shudder to think what might have happened if that bolt had ended up going through the windscreen rather than into my tyre.
Thankfully, the trashed tyre was not one of the expensive new ones I had fitted only a few weeks ago but one of the pretty well worn-out rears.
This time, there was no supply delay in getting a new 235/45 ZR 17 cover, but the £188 cost was a bit eye-watering.
For good measure, I swapped the other side with the new spare to give me a full set of first-rate rubber.
Since returning from a near 3,000-mile holiday trip to France, one of the rear wheel bearings has started to grumble – an unusual fault these days. It's only a slight whine at the moment, but something I shall be keeping an eye on.
Other than that, it's been business as usual with the Audi – great reliability and serene comfort. The extreme hot weather in France – mid 40s Celsius for 10 days – certainly tested the air con and, bizarrely, also seems to have cured the annoying dash creak which was driving me mad.
There's an added bonus in that average economy has also improved. I'm regularly getting 37.5mpg, and it's even crept over the 38mpg mark on a couple of long journeys. Not bad, but still some way short of the 39.8mpg claimed as the official combined figure – something I have never managed to achieve.
There's a new A6 due next summer but in my view there's plenty of life left in the current model. The latest ones now come with full leather trim and metallic paint as standard in a bid to bolster residual values.
A quick look at CAP Monitor confirms a positive effect as the three-year/60,000-mile RV prediction has improved from £9,325/33% last month to £9,600/34% now. Coupled with full Euro IV compliance for the 2.5 V6 diesel models, the A6 makes for a value for money package in the executive sector. Try comparing specification and prices with the prestige competition and you'll see what I mean.
Company car tax bill 2003/04 (40% tax-payer): £237 per month