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Expensive @$$ Keys!

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Well, I’m happy to report that my car issue has now been resolved.

Several people commented on my original post with tips, suggestions, and ideas and I thank you all. Many of you advocated going ahead and starting to look for a new car, given that this seems to have become a pattern (this being our 3rd electronic-related repair in the past year and a half-ish). That being said, I didn’t feel good about that option. I know I don’t want to take on more debt and the thought of trading in my paid-off car to trade down to a “lesser” car wasn’t very appealing. If I’m able, I’d rather stick it out with my vehicle a while longer and try to continue attacking our debts.

So what was the problem, you may ask???

Drumroll………

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The keys. Something was messed up with the keys. The guy didn’t give me a great explanation (at least one that I could understand) for why the old keys stopped working. But for some reason, they stopped working. As part of the anti-theft system in the car, the vehicle would not turn on because it wasn’t “recognizing” our key as the correct key for the vehicle. So nothing was actually wrong with the car, itself. It was some glitch or error with the key and the anti-theft system prevented the vehicle from starting.

Nearly a thousand dollars later, I have two new keys and I’m back in my car.

Yes, you heard that correct. Nearly a THOUSAND DOLLARS went to this repair.

I’m using round numbers here, but it broke down as follows:

  • Car rental for 2 days (plus taxes and fees) = $100
  • Car tow to the dealership (Progressive paid for the first tow to the local repair shop, but the’d only cover 15-miles total and I had to have it towed from the local repair place to the dealer) = $100
  • 2 New Car Keys (including parts & labor) = 550
  • TOTAL: $750

So if you want to see the most expensive key on the planet (as far as I’m concerned), feast your eyes on this sucker:

I’ve opened up a little bit about various mental health issues I’ve been struggling with. So instead of seeing the major negatives in this situation (mainly the $$$$$$$), I’m really trying to focus on the positives. When the car key issue occurred, we were at home. We’re so lucky we weren’t stranded somewhere else (think about if it would have occurred while we were on one of our cross-country road trips back to Texas!). I’m also so glad the repair ended up being a quick and easy thing. I was originally being quoted a 3-week wait to get the car back! But after the dealer got the car, they had the keys programmed and I was able to pick up the car the very next day. Also, I’m glad nothing major was wrong with the car, itself. It felt major just due to the inconvenience of having to share one vehicle (plus the giant price-tag seems to have indicated a giant issue), but no. The issue itself was very minor and that makes me feel a little more secure with keeping the vehicle and NOT trading it in.

Right now I’m cautiously optimistic. I do think these car issues have started to multiply. I was really hoping to drive this vehicle for 250,000+ miles. Now I’m not so confident in that plan and whether the vehicle will hold out that long. I think we need to get a better plan in place for vehicle repairs and we need to start thinking longer-term about what our  next vehicle will look like (how much we want to spend, how long it will take to save, timeframe for when we want to buy, etc.). I’ll be honest. I know 2018 just barely began, but I see this as our year of finding balance. I think we’ll continue to make baby steps toward our debt-eradication goals, but I don’t think we’ve got any wiggle room to start saving up for a new vehicle. So for the time being, I’m going to hope and pray our current car holds out and keeps going strong for us. Maybe 2019 will be the year we begin saving up a “car fund” for a new vehicle. I don’t know. All I do know is that this month just got a major blow in terms of finances. Not the way I’d wanted to start my new year. But, again, I’m trying to focus on the positives. Things could have been worse. I’m just glad to have my car back. Along with the nicest set of keys I’ve ever seen in my life (lol).

Anyone else have a big financial obstacle this year already? How do you deal with big financial blows?


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?

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