Alright, it’s been two and half months, I guess it’s time for another personal post. And what’s my biggest issue? Car trouble!
First, it began back in April. One day I’m about to leave for work, but my car won’t start at all. So I call Triple A and they bring out a man to replace my battery, which was completely dead. Afterward, when he left I discovered that my rear brake lights were on. Apparently, this had started the night before, I just didn’t notice I guess because it was still light outside when I got home, I had to look real close to even see it that morning. But that was the problem, my brake lights had been on all night and drained my battery, and I couldn’t find a way to turn them off. So now I had to find a local mechanic who was open that I could take my car to and get that fixed. I got that done, and altogether for the battery and the brake lights that was around $400 spent that day. Whoopie.
The next month I get the notice that my registration was due for renewal in June but I need to get a Smog Test first. So I went to the regular testing place but my car failed. So then I went to a mechanic to have them see what was wrong with my car and get whatever it was fixed. They look at it and tell me it was going to cost over $2400 to fix whatever it was. Well, at this point my car was 19 years old with around 125,000 miles on it, and it just didn’t make sense to me to spend that much money on it. So I sent out to now look for a new car (note: it still cost me around $120 for them to check out my car, on top of the $50 I’d already spent to get the smog test that it failed).
With two weeks to spare before my registration ended, my mother and stepfather found a lead for me with a local Enterprise Rent-A-Car place that they’ve used. And I found 2018 Hyundai with around 43,000 miles on it. This is the “newest” car I’ve ever owned. My first three cars were all at least 10 years old when I bought them. So this was a new experience for me. This was on a Saturday, after buying it I just drove it to at left it at my mother and stepfather’s house and left it there, as my older car was still parked at mine. There was some talk of trading my old car in when getting the new one, but they said at most I’d probably only get around $350 for it, so I just decided to donate the car to charity, which is what I did with the two cars before that. So I arranged for the charity, Donate A Car 2 Charity, to come to pick up my car that Tuesday morning, which they did. That night when I got home I switched my insurance to my new car, only to discover that my rate now doubled, which I guess I should have expected since a much newer car would cost more to cover than my older car.
The next morning, that’s Wednesday before last, as I get into my car and start the engine, it feels rough, like the car is shaking a bit, and then it drags when I press on the gas, and then it craps out on me right as turn the first corner. I couldn’t believe it! Car trouble already?!?
I called Triple A and first they send a guy to check the battery, and it turns out to be the same driver from April, who recognized me. He checked the battery, said that was fine and that it was most likely the alternator. So then they sent a tow truck to take it to a local Hyundai dealer. They said they were really busy so I’d need to leave my car there and I just went to work. I was called the next day and told that it was the fuel injector that needed to be replaced, which they had to order and hoped it would be in on Friday. Oh great.
For the record, this was completely covered by the one year warranty that I got from Enterprise, which is why I took it to a dealer rather than a usual mechanic. So at least this wouldn’t cost me anything. But still, with no car, not even my old one, I now had to take Lyft or Uber all the way to and from work, plus any other shopping I needed to do. That’s at least $22 a ride. Plus, just the very idea that this would happen so soon was frustrating as heck. I mean, I thought one of the main advantages of owning a newer car with fewer miles is that at the very least I shouldn’t have to worry about any mechanical problems for a while? I figured I had about a year before anything might come up. All I was worried about was outside factors, like someone hitting my car or stealing my tires again. I honestly would have been less-upset if something like that had happened. Like a small minor dent I could deal with, that’s just a hazard of owning a car and driving. But it’s not supposed to break down so soon!
Then Friday came and I was called and told it didn’t come in but they hoped it would be there “Monday or Tuesday”. Then Monday I called and was told half of their staff were sent home because of a coronavirus scare, but they would get my car ready “this week.”
I got the call Thursday evening saying it was ready. But they close for pickup at 5:30pm, which is when I get off work, so I had to wait until Friday morning before I could go out and get it. So I got there yesterday morning and what’s funny is that it took them like 15 minutes to get my car, and first it looked like the man I talked to couldn’t find it. At one point after he went off into the lot he came back and asked me what color it is. And then it looked like him and three other guys found it, but they had to move a bunch of other cars that were blocked it first, and then they couldn’t find the keys. As I’m standing there trying not to get more anxious I’m just thinking what else could go wrong. Finally, they got the key and got my car to me and I headed to work. And I got back home last night and that’s a wrap, for now.
Again, at least the car repair didn’t cost me anything, but in that week I ended up having to spend around $327.00 on transportation.
I keep trying to remind myself that all of these are essentially First World Problems. A lot of folks are way worse off than I am right now, so I’m trying to be grateful for what I do have and not focus on the negative. But I really hope I don’t get any other major problems (the type of problems that cost money) for at least a couple of months. I don’t think that’s too much to ask, is it?