If there is one constant in the universe about cars, it is that they break. Sooner or later, it happens. In my experience, it always seems to be when I just received something like an overtime check or a bonus. Never fails! This golden rule regarding cars can also occur when the last thing you need on your mind is a broken car. It is like the car has a sixth sense, as if it were a teenager who figured out how to get a few extra bucks out of the parents when they least expect it, just so they can have the latest and greatest (in this case, parts).
My wife had a 1997 Dodge Neon that, to put it bluntly, was a piece of shit. No air conditioning, creaking/rattling like there is no tomorrow, a nice dent right in the trunk area, and slowly falling apart. She hated it with a passion, but she only drove the car about 7000-8000 miles a year. It had no car payment, it still got from Point A to Point B, and insurance was pretty cheap too. Once in a while, repair was needed, but we hoped to get it through another year while I finish paying off my Subaru.
It was up for inspection and registration last month, so I had it done. It passed inspection miraculously, but the mechanic gave a long list of things that sooner or later would need to be replaced. We knew it, 2009 would be the last year for this car. Maybe we could get the car to June or July before we had to make the decision.
Less then two weeks later, my wife was driving to work and all the sudden heard a loud constant noise coming from the car. It was so loud, she didn’t want to start the car again, afraid she would scare all of the kids at the daycare she works at. A tow to the garage confirmed our suspicions: the car had a new problem that of course was not on the list when the car was inspected. It wasn’t worth fixing. We had to find her a new car.
Luckily, I was told that my grandparents were selling their 1993 Saab 900S Convertible. A quick phone call to them and within a day, we agreed on a sales price. It had 162,000 miles and needed some work, but the price could not be beat and overall the car was in great condition considering its age. My wife can already picture her summers in the convertible.
We are putting a lot of money into the Saab. A friend of mine does a lot of work on Saab’s, so I was able to save money having him work on the car. At my last count, we are at the $600 range, due to it needing a new starter, 4 new shocks, a tune-up, new wipers, new rear backup lights, and an oil change. However it drives extremely well and even factoring in the repairs, we have come out so far ahead compared to buying a used car from a dealer and having a loan. So far ahead, it is entirely worth it, especially given the limited miles we will be putting on it.
Of course, I am sure the Saab is going to figure out who he is dealing with real soon. It won’t take it long to figure out how to tick me off.