Adventures In Car Repairs (or It’s Better Than New)

When I was driving down to San Diego, I was about half of the way through the trip when suddenly I heard a horrible noise coming from the bottom of my car. It was so loud that it covered up the noise of my radio. I thought that maybe I blew a tire (that’s happened before) so I pulled over to the side of the road and contacted 511 (which is the highway roadside service).

When the 511 guy arrived, I explained that I heard a horrible noise from under my car and had no idea what caused it. He looked at all my tires and under my car and couldn’t find anything. He said that maybe I had hit something and was dragging it but it’s gone now.

I got back into my car and continued my drive, but the horrible noise continued. I even called my parents and asked if I should take my car to a mechanic that night to have it fixed in the morning. They told me not to, so I went straight to the rental house.

I had done some online research and some people reported a similar noise to what I had and it was a rock caught in the wheel. So my dad and I tried to dislodge anything that might have been in there the next morning and it seemed to make the noise go away considerably.

The rest of my trip in San Diego the noise continued to happen in my car, so when I got back to LA I took it to the repair shop that I now use (they are the ones who fixed the water pump in my car when I was towed home from San Diego).

At first, they thought it might be a $4000 repair and I freaked out. My car may not even be worth that much, but it’s cheaper than a new car. I told the shop that I’d wait until they knew what the problem was because I knew that I’d be panicking at home waiting for what they had to say. About an hour later, they told me that they had some somewhat good news.

It wasn’t the $4000 repair, but instead it was an issue with my wheel that they had mentioned to me last time I was there (it didn’t need to be fixed then so I didn’t do it). They also noticed that my axle was looking close to breaking, so they encouraged me to fix that too.

All of these things were adding up, so I asked them if they could do any sort of deal for me since it was a lot of work and I don’t have a lot of money. They quoted me a price that was expensive but I could deal with (thanks to the Hanukkah check I had gotten from my grandma at Thanksgiving), and I left my car at the shop overnight to be fixed.

The next day I was able to pick up my car. They honored the price that they had quoted me even though the repair ended up being more expensive (the bill reflects about $150 discount on the price). And not only is the noise gone from under my car, it drives better now than it did when I got it in 2008 (I bought it used)!

It’s funny that this happened to my car when it did. I was talking with my dad at Thanksgiving about having to get new tires soon for my car and how much that would cost. My dad asked me how much longer I was planning on keeping my car. Honestly, I want to keep my car for at least another 3 or 4 years (preferable more unless I win the lottery or something). So he said that putting money into the car is just what you have to do to keep it going. And my dad knows about that since his car is a 1992 Subaru SVX and he just decided recently that he might get a new car soon.

I know that these are all things you have to deal with as a responsible adult, but my financial situation really doesn’t allow for these sorts of things. I’m working on budgeting right now, but my priority on my budget is getting my credit card debt eliminated. That’s not going to happen anytime soon (unless again, I win the lottery), but I’m taking baby steps toward it. This repair isn’t helping that goal, but it is helping me not have to spend more money down the line on more expensive car repairs or a new car sooner than I want to get one.

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