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A random ramble about avoidance and cars

October 7th, 2019 at 11:03 pm

(originally posted July 19, 2019)

I tend to avoid spending, even when it’s absolutely necessary. My car is making a subtle noise and I have been procrastinating taking it in for service. I don’t want to know what the noise is or how much it’s going to cost to repair. The main problem solving skill that I learned as a child from my mom and grandmother was “ignore it and hopefully it will go away or solve itself.” Guess what – that doesn’t work. 55 years later and my default is still to ignore problems and hope they go away. My house is falling apart due to this logic.

The car problem is amplified in my mind because I am starting to think about replacing my current vehicle which is a silver 2010 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport hatchback named Sally. She has almost 90K miles.

I’ve owned four cars in my lifetime. The first was a beige Chevy Chevette with orange and brown stripes (ah, the 70s) which was a hand-me-down from my older brother. I’d still be driving that car if my dad hadn’t stepped in and bought me a new red Honda Civic Hatchback (Lucy) in my mid-20s after he heard I was planning on driving the Chevette from the East Coast to Colorado. I had Lucy for 10 years and probably drove her for about 180K miles since I took several cross country drives.

My next car was a black VW Golf named Pablo. My dad provided the car loan and I was paying him back monthly. Then my dad died less than a year later and I was so distraught that I think my mom ended up eventually forgiving the loan if I remember correctly. I had Pablo for 10 years before trading him in for my current car.

Now I’m almost at 10 years with Sally and thinking about what’s next. That’s why the current problems (the new noise and the fact that I should replace the timing belt soon, which will be $650+) are amplified. I don’t want to put money into a car that I might not have much longer. But, I need to drive it until I do have a new car, which could be quite a while, so I can’t really avoid the repairs. But I want to!

Ok, I called a car place and made an appointment for Thursday. Another resistance point has been wanting to try a different shop than my usual one (outside of the tech school that I’ve been using, see below, but it’s closed for the summer) because I think they are pretty expensive. I need to have the car fixed because I’m taking a six-hour drive this weekend to visit my mom and younger brother. I wonder what the problem will be and how much it will cost to repair?

I wrote this entry a few days ago (I have so many unposted entries that I’ve written over the years…). I dropped the car off this morning, explained the noise and also asked them to check the brakes, which have been a little off since I unexpectedly left the car sitting in my driveway for month during the rainy spring. Just got an update call with what needs to be done:

Noise is left front wheel bearing $275
Front brakes $250
Rear brakes $300
Inspection due date is in August, so they could do it today $60
License plate bulb blown out (needed for inspection) $10
Estimate - $900

Normally, I would have put off the inspection until September and probably the rear brakes, but decided to just have them do it all today and get it done. It’s important to have the car as safe as possible for my big drive this weekend and now I don’t have to think about and take the time to schedule a second appointment.

I’m kicking myself because I had my snow tires taken off a few months ago at a local tech school and asked them to check the brakes. I was told that the front brakes were a bit rusty from sitting and that I could either replace the pads and rotors or wait and see if driving the car would wear off the rust. I was taking a big trip and didn’t think I had time to go back and have the work done before leaving. And, I didn’t want to acknowledge that the work needed to be done and that I’d have to spend money, so I waited. The front brakes would have only cost $160 if I had done it at the tech school, which is now closed for the summer.

It’s almost like a strange Russian roulette game that I play in my head – thinking I’ll be fine, that I can get away with not fixing or buying something, but then I have a nagging in the back of my head as I test fate, in this case, driving six hours both ways on the questionable brakes (I did that in May/June). Or driving around with the noise for the past month, knowing that something was wrong, but waiting.

Oh, and I have the money. It’s not a matter of going into debt if I get my car fixed. Although, if I was to address all of the problems in my house, I would need to spend a lot of money and wipe out a good chunk of my savings. So, I just avoid them all.

Now it’s Friday morning, and I picked up the car last evening. The grand total was $928 and the car is ready for my big drive. I do feel a sense of relief that it’s all finished – that gift to myself should be worth the pain of spending. I want to concentrate on that aspect more…I need to put necessary spending in the mental category of self-love/self-care.

Argh – didn’t realize until I started to drive away from the repair shop that I should have had them change the oil, too!!

Comments
Lucky Robin Says:
July 20th, 2019 at 12:09 am
90K isn't that much for car mileage these days. It still has a lot of life in it if maintained properly. Do you really need a new car or do you just want one? I guess it doesn't matter too much if you can afford one, but you can probably take that one to 150K to 200K miles.

Amber Says:
July 21st, 2019 at 10:31 am
My Camry 🚗 has 250k miles and she runs great. I love that car.
I’m glad you got repairs done, breaks are a serious matter

rob62521 Says:
July 21st, 2019 at 01:28 pm
I think although the $900 price tag was probably a shock at first, deferred maintenance adds up. Plus there is the safety issue not only for you, but for the other drivers around you. Glad you got your brakes taken care of.

We look at our house as an investment. We aren't planning on making a big profit, but we try to keep things updated and fixed not only because it makes our lives easier, but if something should happen and we would need to put the house on the market, say one or both of us couldn't live here, we figure keeping things fixed and somewhat updated will help in the long run. I keep a notebook on what we have replaced and when we replaced it so we know how old things are like the roof, drive way, water heater, etc.

4 Responses to “A random ramble about avoidance and cars”

  1. Carol Says:

    Just to second what everyone said above. Subarus last longer than 90,000 miles. The oil changes are important though.
    Doing the fixes around the house means you get to live in it and enjoy it, rather than fixing it to sell and someone else gets the benefit.

  2. rob62521 Says:

    Maintenance is important in both cars and houses. A friend of ours is debating whether to get new carpeting because he figures they may have to put the house on the market in a few years. This is the same one who refuses to change the swag lamps in the bathroom when he put his house on the market a few years ago when the realtor suggested he update. Then he wondered why he received absolutely no offers.

  3. Katherine Gayle Olynick Says:

    For the house, make a list of what needs to be addressed and then prioritize the list. Get estimates. Give yourself dates to have things done by.

    This allows you to plan for those repairs.

    You can't wait for the roof to cave in on you.

  4. Jenn Says:

    I like your car names!

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