Budget Woahs: Cars are expensive

I’ve already bemoaned the effect Irma had on my budget, Hurricane supplies have their cost. But what I didn’t mention is the fact that I wasn’t exactly flush going into Irma as I would have liked. Cars are one of the most expensive necessities that you have to suffer through and I’m mean it when I say I hate having one. I would gladly trade my car for reliable public transportation any day of the week. Seeing as that’s not possible I have to have a car and with a car comes maintenance costs.

I was already coming up hard on my timing belt replacement (you do NOT want to gamble on that breaking, it can destroy your car), but I was trying to wait just a bit longer for my next payday. Well that didn’t happen, mostly because I have automatic windows and for a week or so before my repair I had kind of been trying to pseudo ignore a strange grinding sound when I raised and lowered my driver’s side window. One morning my window was fogged so I had to lower it to see out for a turn and well, it didn’t come back up. Yeah, I know ignoring a car problem won’t make it go away, but this was the type of car problem that would require an outright replacement anyway so I was putting it off a bit. So my car window needed to be fixed and my timing belt was about 100 or so miles out, I needed an oil change… Might as well take it in.

I call my (at this point former) mechanic about bringing my car in for a timing belt replacement among other things and get the quote. Because of the nature of a timing belt replacement there are a variety of parts in the bowels of the engine that are wearing that generally should just be replaced at the same time to save you the headache of having to have your car taken apart just to replace the water pump or whatever later. It saves money in the long term, but it does drive the cost of the repair up a bit for parts purposes in the immediate. Add in everything and I was quoted a minimum of $1000 some odd for the repair, which didn’t surprise me, but did make me groan. Especially because just a week prior I replaced some tires that were VERY tired and that set me back about $300. But there’s nothing for it, so I arranged to drop my car off on a Friday and scheduled a rental car for the day because otherwise I was going to be stuck at home all day.

Well I’m glad I arranged for the rental car because it allowed me to get stuff done while my (former) mechanic dicked around. I dropped my car off at 8:15 a.m., and I’m not going to lie, I was a little late, but considering I’d set up the appointment well ahead of time it shouldn’t have been a thing. Yeah, they called to let me know when they got my car up on the lift… at 11 a.m. They had my car for three hours and didn’t even get it on the lift. Oh and when they got up there they found I had leaks because the gaskets were old. Ok, yeah I agreed to repair those because obviously they weren’t going to add that much to the cost, but also because I really don’t want my car leaking. Anyway, I’m planning on going to pick my car up, have my roomie drop off the rental before Enterprise closes for the day and head home in my car. So I call at 4 something p.m. to find out that they ordered the wrong fucking window part.

Oh, it gets better, they tell me to call back around 5 p.m. (they close at 6) to check on things. I was debating if we should get on the road because in Tampa, rush hour is a bitch but my roomie convinces me to put it off, which is good because when I call back apparently the guy who was supposed to deliver the part for my car got in a car accident. Oh, they’re going to try and get someone else to pick up the part and bring it back for the repair, but they don’t know if they’re going to make it today…..

So they didn’t bother to check that the part was correct, they didn’t actually start repairing my car until well after I’d dropped it off, and they didn’t bother trying to keep me informed about the progress. Well that’s fan-fucking-tastic.

Since I have to work on Saturday, pick my car up, and return the rental my Saturday morning became a nightmare juggling competition that required my roommate to drive with me to pick up my car, drop off the rental for me while I followed in my car, and drop me off at work only to come back and pick me up at the end of the day. I dropped around $1200 on the repairs, they didn’t apologize really, definitely didn’t comp me a damn thing, and oh, did I mention that they didn’t do the oil change I requested?

I’m finding a new mechanic.

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