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Ever Get the Feeling Like You Just Dodged a Bullet?

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I was scared to death to call my mechanic today to find out the fate of my car since I hadn’t heard anything from him yet. Even though I tried not to worry about it, the thought of having to replace the engine wouldn’t leave my mind.

I’m happy to report that our engine appears to be fine. Now, the oil was thick and my mechanic believes it might have clogged up the oil filter, causing the oil light to come on (or something like that – my husband actually picked up the car and talked to him). My mechanic did an oil change and also flushed the engine with Sea Foam. When he test drove it, everything seemed fine. Total cost of the bill was $36.

Now, here’s the not so easy part of blogging…the confession. We haven’t taken care of our car as well as we should have. Before this happened, the last oil change was due in July. I am embarassed about that. We were very fortunate and the whole ordeal only cost $42 for an oil change, the sea foam and the towing. It could have been a lot worse.

I feel like we dodged a big costly bullet. I think that car of ours is going to get an oil change every three months like clockwork now.


12 Comments

  • Reply Maria |

    Whew! Angels do exist because they were looking out for you and your family!
    Congratulations for putting a positive spin on it and keeping your chin up!

  • Reply Dennis |

    Lucky you! I’m so glad to hear everything went fine. But, your story, well, reminds me that I can’t even remember when my next oil change is (was?) due…

  • Reply Jason |

    Whew! I posted a couple days ago that I hoped it wouldn’t be as bad as anticipated. Thankfully, I was right this time!

    I think we could all use some reminders when it comes to oil changes. I’m just as guilty myself!

  • Reply Dawn |

    I remember when you used to do your own oil changes on your Reliant. Can you do it on the Toyota? I expect that if it is under any factory or dealer warranty that something like that would void the warranty. I do remember watching you do it for considerably less than I was taking my car to a quick lube. πŸ˜€ I am very very happy to hear that this repair was minor! Have a great Christmas!

  • Reply SCapitalist |

    I am glad to hear your car is fine. I carry your same grief when it comes to oil changes. It is really hard for me to stay on top of those. It is now in my daily planner… 3 months in advance.

  • Reply GInger |

    It is such a blessing when things like that happen. My husband and I are not very good at that either. But the car that we bought was a 2000 Honda and they already had synthetic oil in it so we can go about 7 months instead of 3 months althought the cost is about $20.00 more each time but at least we dont have to worry about it as often.

  • Reply Kathryn |

    I’m *so* happy the repair wasn’t major. Whew!

    Here’s the trick we use. Every so often we’ll glance at the odometer, lop off the last three digits and divide by 3. If you get a whole number … you need an oil change.

    BTW, tires are supposed to get rotated every 10K miles for even wear. Some people remember by doing it after the 3rd oil change — that’s way too hard for me (I can barely remember Wednesday). What we do is to go by the odometer. When 120K becomes 130K, the tires need rotating.

    Some garages have lifetime contracts where you can purchase wheel balance and alignment at a premium cost the first time and then go back anytime you please for tire rotation, alignment, and to get the tires balanced.

    Good job on your website. You are making wonderful strides on your debt. We’re so proud of you.

    Kathryn

  • Reply Dave |

    Regular oil changes are the single best thing you can do to ensure a long life for your engine. It’s pretty simple to do yourself, and cheap. The money it costs will more than pay for itself in the future.

  • Reply Jen |

    Whew! Glad your repair was a small one!

    If you want to save money, and help the environment, you can probably get away with doing an oil change every 4 months as opposed to 3.

    Oh, and I don’t believe doing an oil change yourself voids the warranty, but it may make it harder to prove that you’ve properly maintained your car. That might be where the warranty gets voided – if the manufacturuer thinks you’ve abused or neglected your car. So the solution may be to save the receipts on buying the oil and filter.

  • Reply Matt |

    Good to hear the car decided to play nice! Cars can be really really expensive at times, it’s nice to read that yours gave you an early christmas present.

    Which reminds me, I should have a look at mine. Its about that time again… *sigh*

  • Reply Kevin |

    Guess I’m going to be the contrarian here. You don’t need to change you oil every 3 months or 3,000 miles. That’s too excessive unless you really beat the hell out of your car by towing trailers and driving on dirt roads all the time. Why waste that extra money?

    Every 5,000 miles is adequate for normal city/highway driving, with modern motor oils. I’m not even talking about synthetics.

    Of course, the oil change places, and the oil companies would love to have you believe every 3,000 miles is the thing to do, just like the gas companies want you to believe the Premium will provide extra performance to your car that is made to run on regular unleaded.

    Don’t believe me? Click and Clack the car guys say that too!

  • Reply Tricia |

    Hehe…I guess that’s one good this about confession my lack of proper car care maintenance…I’m reminding everyone else to get it done πŸ˜‰

    Kevin – about your comment, my mechanic recommends 4,000 miles now. I mostly said 3,000 because I’m now concerned of the car getting oil sludge in the future (now that I’m aware of the problem). We actually use our car very little and sometimes it does sit for a few days in the garage.

    I think I’m going to shoot to get it in every three months, and that will allow a little bit of time just in case I can’t get it in right away (I do not like taking cars to quick oil change places).

So, what do you think ?