As I previously mentioned, I had to take my 7-year-old car to the mechanic again on Monday, but this time, it was of my own volition. I already knew what the problem was, so I was able to anticipate that it would be a costly repair.
The ABS, Trac Off and Service Vehicle Soon lights started twinkling a few weeks ago intermittently as I started driving, but they would turn off just as quickly. So initially, I thought it was a bad fuse or a small electrical issue. When I finally decided to do some research on the interwebs, I soon found out I was dealing with something a bit more serious.
The wheel sensors were shot, and it was affecting the car’s anti-lock brakes and traction control feature. I also discovered that it would be a costly repair because they’d have to disassemble the wheel hub. It’s a problem that seems to occur in many GM vehicles.
So when I spoke to the mechanic about dropping off the car, I knew it would be costly. I even estimated in my head that it would be $500 to fix the errant wheel sensor.
Then the mechanic called back with this bombshell: BOTH wheel sensors/bearings had to be replaced. Awesome. The estimated repair bill? $800.
At the end of the day, the cost was $700 plus tax, so $749. That put a big damper on the savings/Christmas spending budget I had in my head, but that’s why a big emergency fund (or in our case, a big savings account) comes in handy. But with a baby on the way, I need the car to be safe for both me and the little one (and Mr. NSF, of course).
Someone suggested that I could have made 3 payments on a new car for about $800 without having to worry about car repair. Sure, that’s true in the short run, but new car payments last a lot longer than 3 months — more like 4-5 years. Plus, we already have a “new” car that we’re making payments on. At 0% interest, of course!
I just hope my car is now satisfied that I’ve taken care of it and won’t cause me any more problems in the foreseeable future. Other than this and the fuel pump, I haven’t had to do more than oil changes, brakes and tires over the past 7 years. I think that’s a pretty good deal that outweighs the allure — and waste — of paying for a new car.