Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Car Repairs

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!


  1. Hey Catherine! I was wondering why you had a picture of my car up on your website! Seems we drive the same vehicle. We have a black one (97) AND a beige one (2002). They are great cars, very reliable and economical. Funny you mention it; my husband’s car (black one) was also leaking gas last week. Turned out he needed a new gas tank ($700). At the time I was pissed to spend $700 on an old car but compared to $1,100. I guess it could be worse!


  2. You gotta love how God works things out!!!

    (Yeah....I'm listening to my own words too!! ;) lol

  3. Those are some pretty sweet wheels Catherine!!! It must have been fun to glide down the street in that hip machine (even with the frightening cost of gas).


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