November 15, 2012

Wanting to Hang Up the Keys

This has been one of those weeks I shouldn't own a car. It actually started three weeks ago when I was in the pick up line at Bones' school. That's when I noticed that when at idle, my car a/c would shut off and I would get this intermittent hum. I immediately turned off the a/c thinking that it was a/c related. But as soon as my car was moving at a steady clip, the a/c popped on and the hum went away.

I only pick up Bones once a week. But I noticed two weeks ago that when driving Bones through a parking garage to take him to his vocal group practice that even at the 10 mph, steady, the same event would happen.

I made note that I had to take my car in and made sure I've not taken my car on any long trips. (Yes, I've had travel. I took my son's car.)

Yesterday when in pick up for Bones', my car actually started to get hot. The needle moved just short of red-line. As soon as we were moving, the car was fine, the hum went away, and the needle moved down to center.

I got home and my car smelled like something was burning. We checked the radiator fluid and... it was pretty much gone. My husband filled it.

I found a guy to take a look at it today and drove it down. I have dual fans in my motor, so there was thought that one of the fans may have been shutting down, pushing the other into a type of overdrive. But when the mechanic looked at it, knowing my type car very well, he said both fans were running fine and they'd have to take a look. They kept it overnight.

I have 212K on my car. I made a list of things for him to do... a honey do list if you will. I change my oil ever 3k-4K and it was overdo. Rotate the tires, check the hoses and belts, air filter, check the transmission fluid and on and on. It was time.

I'm starting to hear rumblings in the house that I need a new car and I'm just not on the same page they are. I don't think that if I have to spend $1000 a year above and beyond oil change and tires, that it's too much on a vehicle. A carpayment would be a helluva lot more than $1000 a year. I think I'm willing to spend 2K a year above and beyond normal wear and tear before I think it's time. That's alternators, water pumps, radiators, and brakes. When we move into transmission and engine issues... that's where I draw my line.

So far.

Am I wrong in this cost effectivity thinking? Or am I just living in the testosterone zone where cars are too cool?

Anyway, so my son dropped me off at my husband's office so I could pick up his car. My husband had an event he was going to with a buddy after work and his buddy was going to pick him up.

I got out of the parking lot and a yellow emergency light came on. Crap. Immediately I called him and he said he'd had a slow leak and I needed to fill up the tire and he was having it replaced on Friday (tomorrow).

I got to the gas station and I was practically on the rim. I was puzzled as he didn't sound concerned when I called, 'A slow leak' and I'm riding on the dang rim? (yes, I sent him a sarcastic text, why do you ask?)

Flash forward 2 hours and I am back in the car to take Bones somewhere. The yellow light came on... again. I'd originally filled it to 50 pounds (I know... it was high), but we were already down to 25.

Evidently there was more than a small leak. By the time I got to our destination, in 25 minutes, we'd lost 10 pounds.

Again I called my husband. He and his buddy came to where I was and changed the tire, which was great.

But I spent a better part of the day thinking I needed to move to a big city with community transportation. The whole car problem thing just gets to be too much...

Posted by Boudicca at November 15, 2012 11:20 PM

Agree with your philosophy. A lot of miles can be gotten out of properly maintained cars, and it's actually more cost effective to drive them until the wheels fall off, if you can, than to deal with another car payment and the insurance increase. In some cases a rebuilt engine may resurrect a dying car if everything else is in working order, I've gone that route a couple times. Tranny issues, though, instantly junk the car for me, once those go bad they'll never work right again, even with a transplant or rebuild.

Posted by: diamond dave at November 16, 2012 11:45 AM

I am on the get a new car side, although it doesn't have to be new new, a new used car would be just as good.

But this is from the person who leases a new vehicle every 2 years.

Posted by: Quality Weenie at November 16, 2012 11:54 AM

I just had the annual inspection done on my beater, and once again put a few hundred dollars into it. I know my car is in good shape, but it's old and things wear out.

Cheaper than a car payment every month.

Posted by: Ted at November 16, 2012 12:13 PM

For what purpose is money if not to prevent mothers of three from EVER having to find a mechanic? We parsimonious Scottish girls hate to part with the coin, but the idea of breaking down and having to be rescued rankles more than writing a check. I think it's time for a sportscar. A nice shiny two-seater. One seat for you and one for your empty purse. Not even big enough to get groceries, that's what I vote.

Posted by: Leigh at November 16, 2012 12:26 PM

Sunk 2,000. for a new transmission into my 2000 Grand Cherokee last year and she runs great. Don't see a need for a later model, but then my travel is probably microscopic compared to yours...

My husband ran with a slow leak in one of his tires for a week before getting it changed; made me crazy thinking of him driving on a hinky tire!

Posted by: pam at November 16, 2012 05:21 PM

Get the new car. Not brand new but new to you. Go for it - you deserve it.

Posted by: Kris, in New England at November 16, 2012 06:20 PM