May 15 2010
My car is 12 years old and now has almost 160,000 miles on it. I’ve owned it for 7 years and 70,000 of those miles. The biggest joy occurs every month when I don’t make a payment on it.
And… over those 7 years, I’ve spent money on a new radiator, new shocks, belt, and hoses. Each one of those things was less than the average monthly payment on a new car, so I am happy.
Yet… when the Service Engine Soon light came on and stayed on just 50 miles short of my destination on this last trip… and the engine was obviously in distress, I figured my happy cheap driving days were over. As I parked the car in an out-of-the-way place in my daughter’s driveway, I decided I would not even think about it again until after her baby was born.
Priorities, ya know?
Of course I thought about it anyway. I googled the symptoms and got results indicating it could be a blown head gasket. Or not. The oil was clear. I checked the value of the car in great condition and tried to decide what would be a reasonable amount to spend on repairs. It was all depressing.
And then there’s the problem of finding a reliable shop for not only the diagnosis, but also the repairs. The only thing I was sure of was that a Cadillac dealership would cost me more than I could afford.
I stopped at a Checker Auto Parts store located between my 3 year old granddaughter’s pre-school and the Taco Bell she always wanted to go to for lunch. I asked the clerk where he would take his car for repairs and he referred me to his boss who sent me to Dr. Dan in Apache Junction, Arizona.
Frankly, had Dr. Dan suggested any repairs under $1000, I would have been content. But Dr. Dan made me very happy. He fixed my car (replaced a coil and fixed a coolant leak) for under $150. And rotated my tires!
Dr. Dan restored my trust and faith in my fellow man… these were running a little low after my horrible experience with a stinky hotel room rented by a hateful innkeeper and dealing with my Amazon, Facebook, and gmail accounts being hacked. Those are topics for another post or two.
And owning a car that old is probably good for another post or two also. There are some electrical problems that I have to decide whether I want to live with or not… no cruise control, one window that can’t be rolled up from the driver’s door controls, no windshield washer, no moving the passenger seat… all electrical problems that scream $$$ to me to fix. Maybe it’s time to be looking for a newer car.
But… will I find a newer car that is as comfortable, as powerful, and gets 30 mpg highway?