I’d like to introduce you to my wheels. Nothing fancy. Nothing fast but hey, they work perfectly for me! I’ve had this little Cavalier for almost 8 years now and it has cost me next to nothing except ‘normal’ car expenses: oil changes, new tires, new battery. You get the picture.
Last week was a different story. Over the past month or so I’d noticed a couple of problems creeping up. Being oh so knowledgeable when it comes to cars, I just kinda wondered if they’d go away on their own? (This has been my history I’m sorry to say. With my last car I ran it completely out of oil not once...but twice! Yikes!!!) I turned over a new car repair leaf when I purchased this ride back in 1998. Oil changes – check, Tire rotation – check, Winter and spring tune-ups – check check!
Going back to last week’s story, Mr. Muffler had been getting louder and louder over the past couple of weeks. Originally it was just a slight rumble but as time marched on it began to get louder and louder. Also, a couple of mornings I noticed the faint smell of gas in my garage. Not a good thing but since I couldn’t see anything dripping I figured it must just be linked with the muffler. (You’re quickly realizing that a mechanic I’m not!)
Monday night the muffler was getting just a little too loud to ignore so I decided to bite the bullet and take the car in the following morning. I took it to my regular dealership as a friend’s husband John, is the Service Manager there so I know he’ll make sure I get great care.
I waited the normal amount of time to receive the initial, ‘It will cost $xxx to fix your car’ call but by noon it hadn’t come. 2:00? No. I put a quick call into John and he said they were just then having an opportunity to look into the problem. I received a call shortly after that with the bad news. I needed a new muffler and all the fuel lines (I think that’s what they said! :o) also needed to be replaced as they were corroded and leaking. Only 1 was currently leaking but because they’re bundled together, fixing only 1 would only put a Band-Aid on the problem and I’d shortly be back needing another one to be fixed. The replacement of all these parts was to the tune of $1,100.00 plus tax! ***GULP!*** Trusting John’s judgement I gave them the go-ahead to do the repairs. Knowing it wouldn’t be ready until the following day John went above and beyond the call of duty and ordered a rental car for me. Thanks John!
I walked up to the block to the car rental place where I was prepared to climb into a little compact that would do me perfectly just going home, to the gym the following morning and then back to work. A puddle jumper was going to be perfect. When I arrived I was asked if I would prefer a car or SUV? Being conscious that John had done this as a favour I said I’d take whatever was less expensive for the dealership. Both were the same cost so I took this baby home for the evening!! What fun!!! It wasn’t parked in my driveway 5 mins. before my friend Carol called and asked about the sweet wheels I was driving!
I didn’t go far in it but it sure was fun for a few hours! When I needed to put gas in it and realized it cost $3.00 to drive about 15km I was thankful once again for my little Cavalier.
All of this is also to share something really neat with you. Since paying off my car loan a few years back I’ve been attempting to put a little money away for a new car as I was able. Not much but something is better than nothing. I have some of it in my chequing account but also some in a special savings account. The repairs could easily have been a big financial stress but ya know what….the total cost for the repairs was $1,095.22 (less than they'd originally thought) and I had $1,100.00 in my ‘new car savings’ account! I love it when God does that! I thought I was saving for a new car but He knew I’d need it for a new muffler and fuel lines. They’re not nearly as fun to show off as a new car would be but hey, they’re shiny, new and my baby now purrs when I start it rather than shaking the windows and waking the neighbours at 5:30am! Best of all, the repair is 100% paid for. How cool is that?
PS – Another reason the money was available was that about 13 years ago a gentleman came to our church and gave a financial seminar. He offered to sit down with anyone who was interested and help them plan a budget. I started one back then and have never looked back. It was the very best financial move I've ever made. If you’ve ever considered creating a budget for yourself but haven’t done it, I’d like to encourage you to do so. It takes some discipline and sometimes I do better than others but there has not been 1 single day that I've regretted being on a budget!