Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Another month, another car repair

Remember last month when the car door broke? The door hinge rusted and broke off, which was a major repair and a big pain in the butt.

The AC in my car can never be cold enough, so getting the Freon charged is an annual event. I took Barbie (did I mention my car’s name is Barbie?) to the mechanic on Saturday. I had coffee, knitting and a book to keep me company because they were really busy and I thought I’d be there for at least a couple of hours. I knit for about a half hour and then the mechanic pulled the car up in front of the shop. He came inside and said “You’re done but you’re not done.” That is never a good sign.

Apparently there is some do-hickey that is attached to a thing-a-ma-gig that snakes all along inside the engine compartment and eventually meets up with the what’s-it that makes the air blow cold and they are broken. OK – not only broken but totally missing. The what’s-it is still there and operational, but the other parts, not so much.

I had to take the car back there yesterday so that “my” mechanic could look at exactly which parts he’d need to order. “My” mechanic is the manager there and he doesn’t really work on the cars any more. He is a good friend of my brother’s so I know I have someone looking out for me. I still haven’t heard from him with an estimate, but yesterday he said it was going to be expensive.

So, now I’m wondering if this is going to be one of those years. You know – when all these weird things break on your car and you end up spending $2500 - $3000 fixing it and then realizing that amount of money is like having a car payment and why oh why didn’t you just get a new car then? This happened to me about 3 years ago and since I had already replaced a bunch of stuff that cost basically what a down payment on a new car would cost I didn’t go the new car route.

The question is – when do you know it’s time for a new car? Barbie is 9 years old and I thought I’d have her for a couple years yet. Insurance rates are sky high here in NJ, especially on a new car and then add in a car payment which I don’t have now and I don’t know if I can take on just now.

Unless I knit from my stash and don’t buy any more yarn…



Bezzie said...

Here's how we determined that our Ford Tempo had thrown it's last Tempo Tantrum: we looked up the Kelly Blue Book value and then we looked at how much money were were dumping into it a year in repairs. Um, yeah, can you say money black hole on wheels?
So yeah I've got a $150 a month car payment now, but I only have to do those major car repairs every six months instead of EVERY month!

Stephanie said...

Sorry to hear about your car...aren't they just the worst "investments?"

I hope your buddy is wrong with the quote...and it will be less expensive.

KathyInStitches said...

awwww, Barbie :(

My Subaru Loyale lasted 14 years.
It was practically a Flintstone vehicle at the end (where you can see the road while you pedal with your feet. hee hee)

My mechanic finally said "uh, this car will never pass another inspection" and then the transmission STB, so that was that.

and MA sux (as you know!) for insurance also, and I HATED having a car payment again after over ten years without one- think of all the STASH I could have. LOL

I hope Barbie does OK!! and that the e$timate is less. She is soooo cute.

Nikki said...

My daddy told me that it's time to get a new car when you spend more every month on repairs than you would a car payment (or equal a car payment) either way, that's about what he said.

Hope Barbie gets better soon!!

whining said...

Sorry about your car. Its kinda annoying when car is in trouble. I've been in that situation a lot of times. Recently, it was my mazda windshield wipers having problems. sighs.. When is the right time to buy a car? I guess, when repair costs double/ or too big as the cars' worth. But of course you'll have to think it over before making any decision. Lay down the pros and cons on buying one, then decide. Money should also be considered. Good luck