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Car Crisis Averted – It Could Have Been Worse

Maintenance issues are currently wearing me down.  Everything around me is breaking.  When I make progress on one, another gets worse.  And when my husband honked from the garage on his way out Monday afternoon, I ran downstairs to see what happened.

The Prius wouldn’t start.  Crap.

Car Crisis

Okay, so technically the Prius started.  It just wouldn’t allow us to shift it into gear or move it in any way.  It would sit there, lit up, and literally writing to us on the display that it was broken and needed professional help.  How freaking sad is that?!  It was a little sadder when I replied that I knew how it felt.

Anyway, my heart dropped.  We are just now starting to make real progress again to our long-term retirement goals.  It also doesn’t help that we spent the $10,000 saved for a new car on our new home instead in late 2012, so that account only has $3000 in it right now.  Definitely not enough to buy a solid, new family car with low miles with cash.

Handling the Immediate Issue

But we had a $13,000 paper weight in our garage, so whining wouldn’t help.  I called AAA, explained that we had a dead Prius in our garage, and dropped my husband off at the meeting he was late for.  As soon as I got back, the tow truck driver arrived and asked how to put a Prius in neutral…

Ummmm, I already told the AAA lady that a Prius doesn’t have a neutral.  It has “go” and “not go”, and that’s it.  So the very nice tow truck driver, who was not previously informed, used a jack to get the front wheels off of the ground and we slowly pushed the hybrid out of our garage and down the driveway about a foot at a time.  He then promptly hooked it up and towed it away to our favorite mechanic.  I stuck a large note to the driver’s seat asking my mechanic to call me when they got into the car.

Car Crisis Averted

So at 8:30am Tuesday morning, I get a call from my man, Mike.  He explains that the 12v battery was done.  He also let me know that there is one in the area for about $300 or he could maybe get one online for $200 in about a week.  Yeah, we took the same day option.  My car leaks brake fluid and is a standard…it’s not a car to share.

Tuesday afternoon, we paid up $350 in exchange for a Prius that runs (that also had the oil change it needed this week anyway).  :-)  Overall, we’ll consider it a win.  We’re just holding our breaths that it is indeed good to go for a while.

What’s Next

Now I may up our contribution to the new car account.  Right now, it’s at $500 a month (my last car payment was about $200 a month and his last one was about $300…hence paying ourselves $500 a month now).  I think it’s going to be $1000 now…we really rather pay for a car in cash when we need it.  No more car loans please.

Okay, so now our cars are both working.  Our icemaker works now too.  But, I still haven’t gotten my stupid phone fixed.  Waiting to get it back from Samsung since I declined to pay them $179 to fix a phone that I can buy new online for $150.  Oh, and our cable is still being inconsistent.  We’ll most likely be getting rid of it early next year (the next month is too crazy to handle yet something else new to deal with).  It’s working well enough for now.

Have you had any car problems lately?  Anything else on your plate?

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9 comments to Car Crisis Averted – It Could Have Been Worse

  • Carmen

    Why oh why do these things come in spates instead of one breakdown at a time? My Nana used to say “When it rains, it pours” and “Bad things, like good ones, come in threes”…dunno if that’s true or not, but it has often been my experience. I’m visualizing the perfect-for-y’all car coming into your life at just the right time.

  • I am now the proud owner of 4 years of car payments. I couldn’t bear going another winter in my car event though it worked perfectly and had low mileage.

    The driver’s door would freeze shut on the cold days and I would have to scrape the inside of the windshield as well as the outside.

    Freezing rain in my part of Canada today and I will be able to get in the driver’s door and not climb across. The only ice I will be scraping is on the outside.

  • Not to discourage you from saving for a new car, but don’t panic about the Prius. I had the 12v battery replaced in mine about a year ago. While I was p*ssed that I had to buy a new battery when I’d had the car less than a year (purchased used via Toyota Certified), the cost of the new battery was consistent with what you paid. Maintenance on this car is really minimal and there are people driving Prii that have well over 100K miles on them. So, don’t worry that it will give out on you. http://awindycitygal.wordpress.com/2013/06/22/a-tale-of-two-car-dealers/

    Unfortunately, batteries usually die abruptly. That’s what happened with my last car, which was not a Prius. I went to the garage to start it up and nothing happened. I had to have it towed out of my garage.

  • @Carmen, it’s pouring. Just was told today by the vet that our Dachshund’s lump needs to be removed – $400-ish by this time next week. This is in spate’s of 5 or 6, lol.

    @Jane, holy moly – you put up with it longer than I could have. Congrats on the new car!

    @Linda, we’re worried about the Prius since it is a 2007 that we bought in 2008 with 30,000 miles already on it. Now it has 120,000 miles on it. We’ve had to get several little things done to it, for a total of about $1500 so far. Not so bad for 5 years of ownership, but I bet at our current driving levels, it will need to be replaced in about 3 years. 2 if we’re not lucky, 4-5 if we are really lucky. :-)

  • MikeS

    Just close your eyes and say it’s 2014, maybe your luck will change with the calendar. Cars have a habit of needing things in bunches, at least that’s how it always feel for me. Recently needed a couple of tires, new catalytic converter and a muffler for my car. Granted it’s 12 years old with about 150K miles on it, but it still hurt. I’m still hoping for a few more years out of it.

  • Crystal, I’m sorry to hear it’s been hitting you like this… I remember when we had to pay $2,000 to get some tumor growths removed from our dog’s jaw (and part of her jaw too). But she’s ‘family’…

    It will get better! And remember, you had the Emergency Fund! And that’s pretty much what these are!

    Keep on Truckin’.. or Prius’ing :)

  • Must be flu season for cars. I just did a post about my car. Was noticing a squeaky noise when driving. Took it to the shop, the guy told me it needed new tires. Which I sort of new. Got those done for $210, still squeaky. Took it back, he looked at the front and told me the tie rods were worn out and this could cause my steering to fail. $830 for that. STILL SQUEAKING. Finally got to the root cause of that which was rear brakes. Another $220. I trust the mechanic so it was all on the level, and I was thankful that they ‘found’ the tie rod problem as that could have otherwise killed me, but still, dropping $1,200 and change in the course of a week didn’t sit well.

  • I certainly felt like that a few weeks ago when it looked like we might be on the hook for a new washer and lawn mower, but both were able to be repaired for about $400, which is hit, but much better than buying all new.

  • Meghan

    I had to rent a car for almost a month, which cost $996 plus gas and 3 nights in a hotel to drive 1650 miles. My Dad has been sick and he died, so I would absolutely not change the spending, because I was able to say goodbye and be there for my Mom. I had other unexpected costs this month too, like transferring the lease that I had (my Mom was living in my apartment while my Dad was sick). All in all, my expenses were 6 times more than normal. It will take a couple of months to pay off, at least. My goal was to get a car by the spring but it may be summer. Not sure yet… I know I will be traveling home more to see my Mom, too.