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More Car Issues

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Gotta love all these car issues popping up (said dripping with sarcasm).

On Sunday night, hubs and I took the girls over to a friends’ for dinner. Everything was fine. We go over there and come back fine. Hubs needed access to the garage, so less than 5 minutes after we got home in our perfectly working vehicle, he went to get back in the car and move it out onto the driveway. When he did so, the car wouldn’t start.

This is the second time in 6 months that we’ve dealt with this type of issue.

Thanks to our awesome car insurance, we got the car towed for free to a nearby shop. They had it for a day and a half trying to diagnose it. They have checked everything under the sun and everything has tested normal. So the only possible issue, they say, is that the car must have a problem with the factory alarm. It needs to be taken directly to the dealer.

So I call the local Ford dealerships around town. And all are looking at a 2.5-3 week wait before the car will be seen. They say they prioritize non-working vehicles (like mine), but they cannot guarantee a faster turnaround. I’m just out of a car for that period of time.

There’s never a good time to be stranded without a car, but with the start of semester craziness, I feel like it’s a particularly BAD time to be out of a car. I got a loaner for the time being, but this is a serious problem. We need a vehicle that fits our whole family that we can use to reliably get to-from work and school.

I do NOT want a new car. We cannot afford a new car. We’re seriously buried under a mountain of debt.

But the old Ashley, at this point, would say “F it” and advocate going to look for a new-to-us car.  Our car is only 7 years old, but has over 130,000 miles on it. These issues that have been popping up on average 2-3 times per year (in which we have to take the car to the shop for multiple days and use a rental in the meantime) are incredibly stressful. Not having family around to help or having alternative transportation available is a big part of that stressor. We really need to have a reliable family vehicle to get us around and having this car die on us again just a few short months after it’s last major repair feels defeating. Like all the air flying out of a balloon. I’m barely keeping up with my tasks as it is. I don’t have time for this.

Sooooo, what do I do? Hubs and I can try to carpool as triage for a day or two, but that isn’t practical long-term. We have totally different schedules on campus and I rely on him to pick up the girls most days so if he’s stuck on campus with me, we’re stuck paying for after school childcare. Tucson is a smaller sized town. There’s really no alternative transportation in terms of busses, etc. that we can take from where we live.

Anyone have any tips about how to get low priced rental cars for longer term (e.g., 2-3 weeks)? What do we do?

Admittedly, this post is pretty knee-jerky. I just got the call from the shop about the car needing to be towed to the dealership, etc., so it’s all very fresh and I’m pretty stressed about the whole ordeal. I want to bitch and moan and buy a new car, but it’s not going to happen. The only solution I see is to pony up and pay for a long-term rental. Any other creative suggestions?


Expensive Day!

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Yesterday was an EXPENSIVE day, though not as bad as it could have been.

My car is a 2011 and, all in all, it has been pretty reliable. We’ve had some bad luck in the tire department in the past year, but (knock on wood), we’ve never had any major mechanical issues. All we need to do is regular, routine maintenance and the car has been great for us!

So when the brakes started squeaking a few weeks ago, I knew it would be time to replace them soon.

But life has been busy with work, school, and the holiday season approaching. I’ve kept putting it off, not wanting to spend the money. Then over the weekend, the brakes progressed from what I would describe as a “squeal” to what I would describe as a “grate.” It was truly an awful noise – the kind that hurts your ears, like nails on a chalkboard. I knew it was time to get in STAT!

I called around to a few shops to compare prices and went with a nearby shop that I trust. New brakes, rotors, fluid, and a serpentine belt later, my bill came to $643.28. Ouch! 

But never forget to Google for coupons! I’d taken my laptop and was working in the waiting room while my car was being serviced. As a last-minute thing, I decided to google coupons for the services I was receiving. And I stumbled across a 15% off coupon, good for all parts and service at the shop I was using!

When I went to pay, they scanned the coupon from my phone and my bill dropped to $549.11. BAM!

But it gets better still! The brakes I got came with a $50 online rebate. I had to wait 24-hours to enter my information, but I did so today and will be receiving a $50 rebate check in the mail in the next couple weeks.

That officially brings my total down to $499.11!

Still an expensive day, to be sure, but not nearly as bad as it could have been! And all because I was willing to do a little Google search to find applicable coupons while I waited.

No one wants to drop $500 on car repairs, especially around the holidays and at a time when we’re really not doing well financially. But to put things in perspective, $500 amounts to less than 2 months of the old car payment (I paid off the car in January 2016). Since we’ve owned the car an entire 2 years since then free-and-clear, a $500 investment here and there to keep the car in good running order is not too bad. I’m very grateful we no longer have that monthly payment in our list of bills!

 

Have you had any major car repairs lately? 


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