Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Car Trouble

This might be long…

I hate car maintenance.  I know nothing about cars and I am really bad about making sure my car has regular oil changes and whatever else it needs.  I just want my car to be reliable and never have to worry about all those working parts.  

I’ve called AAA more than a few times- twice for a dead battery and twice for flat tires.  Both of my previous cars I wore holes in the tires.  Drove them so much and never looked at the tires until I ended up with a huge gaping hole in my tire.  Yeah, I suck.

For the past few weeks my car has been giving me a warning light that says “Coolant low”.  My thought process was “It’s winter.  It’s freezing.  Why would I need coolant?”  So I ignored it.

Sunday I was at Target getting toilet paper and groceries.  When I went back out to my car, it wouldn’t start.  I tried 5 times and the engine did absolutely nothing.  No noise- just the click of the key turning and the radio coming on.  I wanted to cry.  I don’t have AAA anymore.  I called my friend and asked if she had jumper cables.  She said no but she was on her way and to go in Target and buy some jumper cables.  I did, but then I remembered my uncle had bought me a car emergency kit that I had stored  in my trunk.  I checked, and there were jumper cables in there, so I was able to return the ones I bought.

When my friend got there, the car started for her without us having to use the cables.  But it started making a horrible chemical smell.  I told her about the coolant light and she told me my theory on coolant was completely wrong and I should not have ignored the light.  She said I should take it somewhere now because I most likely had a dead battery too.   

My regular shop was closed so we took it to the closest one.  They checked the coolant and it wasn’t that low.  But then they told me I needed new tires on the front.  I did.  There was hardly any tread left.  I told you about my problem wearing holes in tires.  So I agreed to get 2 new front tires.  Cost= about $450. And they would top off the coolant for free.  Wonderful. 

About 2 hours later they called and said there was a major problem.  My brakes were pretty much metal on metal apparently.  I not only need break pads but I also had to replace the rotors because they were too bad to resurface.  He told me it would be close to $900 more.  

What could I do??  I didn’t want my brakes to fail me.  So approximately 6 hours after dropping off my car I handed over my credit card to pay the $1250 bill. (He got it down $100 from the original estimate).
But it kept nagging at me that they didn’t fix the original problem that my car wouldn’t start and that horrible smell.  And how could my regular car place not have told me about the tires or brakes?  It was just in there for an inspection in December!

So I called and told them the situation.  They said all they could do was check to make sure the work they said they did was done and the reason they wouldn’t have seen that is because the NC inspection is not very thorough and it is mainly just to check your emissions level.   

I took the car in the morning and told them about a new knocking noise I noticed on the front driver’s side last night.  Three hours later I find out I do indeed need a new battery and they want to rotate the tires because the place I took it to on Sunday put the two new good tires on the back and put the old bad tires on the front which is apparently not good.  I told them my sob story and they said they would do the tire rotation for free.  But the battery, electrical test, and labor still cost me another $200.

So in the past 3 days I spent almost $1500 on my car!  $1500 that I do not have.  Now I am trying to figure out how I can pay this off before interest gets out of control.  Any money I had saved for my house is now gone.  I have no idea how I am going to afford Jamaica for one of my best friend’s wedding this summer.  I freaking hate money.  

And I still worry that I was just taken for all I was worth because I know nothing about cars.

I hope my future husband is good with cars.

Lesson Learned: Start a car maintenance savings fund.


Jamie said...

We save 50 a month for car repair. Its hard to come up with, but its easier to have that buffer when necessary. (Don't get down, remember that the Lord takes care of all of your needs)

Shoshanah said...

I feel the same way. I know I don't take care of my car well, and just hope that it runs. But that isn't always the case, and spent around $1,000 myself on my car over the past year. My fiance does take care of my car when I bother him enough, but he still thinks I should do a little more towards it's care.