Car Repairs, You’re Not the Boss of Me!

Actually, I think “Car repairs, you aren’t going to slow me down!” is a better suited title, but oh well.  So like I divulged in this confession, I planned some “luxury” expenses that I greatly enjoyed and went crazy on buying during the beginning of the month.  It’s hard not to when you walk into Nordstrom -it’s a place where everybody knows my name… and they’re always glad I came.

Okay, so that’s the “Cheers” theme song and I’m merely Customer #232 to them, but that’s neither here nor there.  All these planned expenses were great until an unplanned expense came along… car repairs.

A few weeks ago, I noticed that whenever I turned on the A/C, the car would start to rumble and, over time, it started to really rage.  I also noticed that when going up hills, it wasn’t chugging with steady fervor and, especially bearing Tonya’s pretty scary car breakdown experience in mind, I thought I’d get my little emo car checked out.

I didn’t like my old mechanic anymore since there was a bit of drama with that shop and it was inconvenient, so I tried a new person out at the suggestion of my supervisor.  Apparently, it needed a major service, because when I took it in last time, they weren’t nearly as comprehensive with the service as what he told me I needed.  He rattled off all the things I needed, and not really knowing anything about cars, I asked B for advice.  Thankfully, B called the shop to talk cars – not trying to be damsel in distress, but he knows more about this stuff since he has an M.E. degree and he geeks out talking about cars, anyway.  In my defense, I completely haggled on his behalf where I got him a ton of shirts for like a dollar in Thailand, so we work off each others’ strengths.

In the end, the repairs were about $600.  Nothing too harsh, but when I don’t plan for it, it’s kind of lame.  I do have a ‘secret stash’ that I try not to acknowledge, mostly set aside for emergency family situations, medical, or car needs.  The last time I touched it was a few years back to help out when my grandma in the PI needed dentures – coming from a long line of foodies, you don’t have to tell me twice it’s a “need,” grandmama!  As much as I hate touching the stash, I do want to progress and not regress with that debt, so I’m acknowledging it to help absorb some of the repair costs.

Is this a pitch for an e-fund?  A little… but mostly I just wanted to acknowledge how knowing some people might be watching my debt reduction has really made me think about these choices.  If I was an alternate reality without a blog, I think I would’ve just charged it and not thought twice about my debt building up again.  And, I hate to admit it, perhaps I would’ve became even more lenient with purchases… it’s what I’ve done before, so I wouldn’t put it past me to do it again.

So, I guess what I’m saying is that I’m pretty thankful that this blog and PF community keeps me in check!  I’m learning and I’m sure there are probably other setbacks in the future, but as long as I’m moving forward, that’s all that really matters.  Most importantly, my car is now even-tempered and working nicely, so hopefully it can last another year or so.

Have you noticed any changes, behavioral or otherwise, since beginning your blog?


25 thoughts on “Car Repairs, You’re Not the Boss of Me!

  1. Congrats on being so responsible and avoiding debt. Car repairs seriously stink. I’m actually a bit worried about our old 96 Saturn. It’s got a squeak up front somewhere. I’m afraid to take it anywhere because some shops just gouge people!

    • Mine’s a 97 – it’s at an age of worry, for sure. I totally agree with taking it to unknown shops – I tend to like ones that are personally recommended to me rather than picking someone out. I hope your car lasts a few years more just like I want mine to do!

  2. I would agree that having the blog has increased the voice inside my head of making wise money decisions. I hate car repairs and paying for them too, so I hope your car is done in the shop for a while. 🙂

    • Thank you, John! Yes, I agree that voice inside my head (the id, to get all Freudian) is tempered by bloggers and blog reading! 🙂

  3. I’m happy to hear you have enough in your secret stash to cover the car repairs Anna! Maybe there is something to be said about an emergency fund 😉 Good thing this Girl doesn’t drive 😛 Starting my blog has really helped me stay in check with my debt repayment as well!

    • Actually when I read your subsequent post, I think your savings is synonymous to my secret stash, so you’re doing a-okay, GMD! 🙂

  4. Ugh, car repairs are the worst. They have to be taken care of, yet they cost the world!

    LOL, Cheers…that show was funny until they got rid of what’s her face and then added Kirstie Alley. Downhill from there… Wow, I am really aging myself right now!!!!!

    • Shelley Long!! I agree, she was way better, and I loved her in Beverly Hills Troop. 🙂 I agree about car maintenance, it’s an evil necessity!

  5. I completely agree with you that the PF community does wonders for keeping us accountable. Knowing that I have to tell “the world” about what I’m spending my money on really does make you think twice before blowing your paycheque on crap 🙂 Good job on paying for the repair in cash.

    • Oh, I still charged it, but paid off some with the secret stash… it was hard to put in the full amount for some reason. Haha, “the world” is definitely right – I do like the accountability factor!

  6. ugh, sorry to hear that…I hate parting ways with any amount of money when it comes to cars..and just had to spend $250 on my car from the last breakdown. I’ll have more on the Friday. At least you got it taken care of before anything bad happened. I hope it runs better for you now. Cars are a necessary evil for most of us.

    • Oh man, they still made you pay something after dropping $3k? Okay, I’ll wait for the Friday report. Actually, my car did stall momentarily while I was trying to start it up – it worked afterward, but that was just too scary to be in denial and to risk not going.

  7. I’m a car guy, so am curious to know the details (How many miles are on the car? What was the issue?).

    I do repairs myself. However, I don’t blame anyone for not wanting to do them (I actually can’t stand it*). You need the tools and a place to work unless you want to be like my old neighbors and do the repairs in the middle of the front yard**. Also, you need a really vast vocabulary of profanity to deal with all of the issues you encounter.

    *My cars seem to know when they are more than 100 miles away from the house and when an arctic blast is coming through. That is when the rare breakdown occurs***.
    **Related note: In some cases, HOAs are a really good idea.
    ***My aforementioned Mazda 5 has yet to have an issue. Knock on wood (or maybe the plastic dashboard)?

    • I have a 1997 Accord with over 235k miles on it. They originally thought that it had something to do with the idle speed motor, and I admittedly brain-dumped a lot of what he said, but my notes read “major tune-up (not just spark plugs like last mechanic), carbon build-up, induction service, fuel tank additive, thermostat replacement.” I know, too, that B mentioned something about frayed wires and replacing them. We live in a condo so we don’t have a lot of car space (and I actually think HOA prohibits repairs on property). I am curious, what are HOAs for car purposes? I guess I can look it up… I’ve definitely been taking an interest in the Mazda 5! I have yet to spot one on the road (I still have Odyssey-goggles on hee hee), though, but when the time comes to replace my beloved Accord, that’s on the list.

  8. Regarding the HOA, I just meant that the guy wouldn’t have been able to park in the middle of the lawn and work on the car there. These same people had a pet goat. Who on earth would get a pet goat? This was in the middle of suburbia. White trash suburbia, but still…

    Odyssey is a nice car, built on the Accord chassis actually. I like the older ones before they got all fancy. Get a used, well maintained one with 80K on it and you’ll save a big bundle of money.

    • Oooh, I get it – duh. Oh man, who would have a pet goat?? Is it like that screaming goat clip from YouTube – those things sound scary! I’m definitely going to go for used for my next ride.

  9. Ugh. Sorry to hear about your car woes, Anna. I admit that I’m a complete car newb too, so I let my husband take care of that for me. I tell myself I can still hold my head up high because I manage our finances, right???? 🙂 Big believer in emergency funds as they have saved us many times in the past. The PF community is amazing in so many different ways, and they can definitely the angel on my shoulder when I’m thinking about spending money I shouldn’t!

    • Haha, I agree with being able to hold my head high – I didn’t want to “set women back” with having B handle the car situation, but I think it’s a sad reality that women might get taken advantage of by mechanics (besides, it’s up B’s alley so why not let him take over?). I agree about the angel on my shoulder when it comes to financial decisions, it’s a good thing for sure!

  10. Im always super skeptical of all the stuff auto shops want to add on. I am an M.E. too and most of the time I feel like they are just trying to grow their revenue rather than give you what you need. Im sure there are some honest mechanics out there though…

    • I know, I think it’s kind of sad that mechanics get a bad wrap since there’s probably good ones out there, but it only takes a few rotten ones to spoil the bunch. I know B told him to save all the stuff they replaced since he was curious especially about the frayed wires, but I’m not sure what B did with them. I just hope my car lasts for another year or so!

  11. I don’t have a blog but I read a lot of them and I think they’ve really helped me think twice before I’m about to buy something I don’t really need.

  12. Car troubles are the worst for me since I know nothing about it. But thank goodness you had money stashed away and your car is lasting a long time and hopefully a lot longer.
    I do agree about blogging helping you with making better financial choices. That was the whole point for me to start it. Just to feel like someone’s watching my moves, makes me more conscious.

  13. Umm dentures are absolutely a need it my book, glad you were able to help grandma. I love being a part of the blog community. I feel like it gives me a sounding board and keeps me in check financially.

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