November 24, 2007

Reality Check: When Good Cars Go Bad

Obviously, given last night's post, I've been giving some thought to upgrading my car. But as much as I dream, I'm honestly nowhere near making that kind of jump. Today, I belatedly took my car into the shop, and found it will cost more than $2,000 to get it back to speed, and while that astronomical number had me momentarily thinking it'd be best to drive it off the face of a cliff toward an unpopulated area, I recognized a "small" financial hit now will save me money in the long run.

As noted yesterday, the car was telling me to "Service Engine Soon", was reporting "Low Coolant" and the "Brake" light tended to be on longer than usual, even when the brake was released. Combined with the oil last being changed over 4,000 miles ago, it was time to take it in.

I started the expedition by putting water in the car, solving the immediate issue. Dropping the car off at Midas, they took a look and found:

1. The Service Engine Soon light was coming on due to a bad O2 sensor.
2. The Brake light was coming on as my front brake pads were extremely low.
3. The Low Coolant light was happening all too frequently as it turns out the radiator's cracked.

Add on an old belt here, a worn-out spark plug there, and pretty soon, you're talking about a pretty serious sum of money - just enough to basically make my eTrade investment unprofitable, once you take out the government's share of profits for taxes.

Given Midas takes Sundays off, I definitely won't be seeing my junky old dirty car until at least Monday night. Hopefully, although this is certainly inconvenient, and expensive, it'll be better to put $2k into this heap of metal and grease now than putting $20k, $30k or $40k into something right away. Nothing like a spur of the moment big decision to foul things up long term, after all.

But if this keeps happening... the only thing you'll be hearing about my 1998 Mercury Tracer will be in the past tense.

1 comment:

  1. Oh no, sad to hear the little engine could is having problems.

    I enjoyed the last post too about your desire to not feel like "hired help" in the south peninsula. Very comical.