July 1, 2010

Spending money on auto repairs is the biggest waste of money there is. Part of my feeling is that, unlike some people, I have never had a love affair with cars. I’ve always hated getting my hands dirty, hated having to peek under the hood for anything beyond replacing windshield washer fluid and/or antifreeze, hated the idea of washing and waxing a car, and hated the whole car-buying and car driving experience. Cars may be an essential commodity if you want to get around anywhere, but other than that I despise them.

Car dealers, auto parts stores, automotive garages, automotive experts, NASCAR – you name it, I hate anything and everything to do with cars. Oh sure, they’re not as bad as going to the dentist, but they’re not far behind.

Let me tell you a story: Tracey and I have been very fortunate in that we haven’t had a car payment for nearly four years. Our 1999 Saturn SL2 has 131,000 miles on it, but between the dryness and the heat, the Arizona lifestyle is catching with the “Golden Retriever” (as we call it). Last month the transmission blew, and it cost us over $3K to replace. Then the front brakes needed a total overhaul – I think that cost around $250. Still, compared to the cost of a brandy-new car, it’s still a good deal – especially since its role as a second car that just drives locally for errand-running is something hard to replace without having to spend some money sometime. I mean, 130K is still 130K – you’d feel your age if you had 130K miles on you, too.

Some days I feel like I have double that.

And then there’s the primary car – our 2003 Saturn L300. This car has 90K on it, so it’s presently going through that stage where original parts start requiring replacements. Fortunately, none of the problems have been very expensive. Like all Saturns, if you keep to your regularly-scheduled oil changes and don’t skimp on the quality of the oil you’re using Saturns will run forever.

Today, however, was a day that would challenge anyone’s patience. Over the past two weeks there had been a grinding in the “Golden Retriever”s left front wheel, and today it was discovered I needed a wheel bearing replaced, for around $280. Fine, just get it done, right? Wrong. the repair shop calls me at 5:30 PM to tell me my car won’t be ready today because the auto parts shop sent the wrong part and it wasn’t discovered until they had started doing the work later in the day, yadda yadda yadda.

And where did I find this out? While I was standing on the side of the on-ramp leading from US 60 westbound onto Loop 101 beside my disabled L300, which only minutes before had started sputtering before finally quitting on me while heading over to take Tracey home from work, of course. Because the Golden Retriever was still in the shop. Fortunately, the AAA guy was there pretty quick, but he couldn’t get the car restarted so he called in a tow truck. So now, at the AAMCO shop up the street we have not just one, but both of our cars in their parking lot.

Fortunately, we still have a bicycle in the garage. That’s going to come in pretty handy tomorrow, I’ll tell you.

Perhaps it will all turn out well in the end and just be a clogged fuel filter or something like that. But if the L300’s problem is a fuel pump, we all know how much they cost. Me, the whole thing just makes me sick – spending money on auto repairs. Still, I have to admit that as long as the costs don’t get stupid ridiculious like replacing another transmission, it still beats having a new car and a car payment to boot.

Pool temp: 92 degrees

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:47 | Comments (6)
6 Comments »
  1. I believe you hate grits more than cars or anything to do with cars. Here is the nightmare I envision for you…You just bought TWO new cars and the doctor said you had to go on a grits only diet because it would keep you from having to go to the dentist once a week for a root canal.(and she quietly slips out the door before he starts throwing thing at her)

    Comment by Jana — July 1, 2010 @ 4:43 am


  2. LOL – you and I must be on the same wavelength. Took in our Accord on Wednesday for brake job…only 40K on the car and we ended up spending $1000. New rear brakes, fluids for every orifice of the car, new filters and an oil change. Good thing we have our Ramsey emergency fund.

    Comment by Kim — July 1, 2010 @ 7:36 am


  3. Hi Bear
    You forgot to mention the over $300 we just spent on the L-300 for a tie rod, oil change, and break check just 4 days ago!

    Comment by Wife — July 1, 2010 @ 10:31 am


  4. Jana’s got it right – especially if it involves cheese grits. Blaaaach!

    Comment by Wife — July 1, 2010 @ 12:35 pm


  5. Between the love of a good martini and baked cheese grits, Tracey and I were bound to be best of friends. Miss you both so very much and would a visit here

    Comment by Jana — July 2, 2010 @ 7:18 am


  6. What a horrible combination! (the martinis and the cheese grits, I mean) You and Tracey are a pair that would beat any full house. Have a relaxing and enjoyable 4th weekend, Jana!

    Comment by The Great White Shank — July 2, 2010 @ 8:21 am


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