Saturday, August 20, 2011

Vehicle Expenses

My van, which is a 2004 Ford Freestar, has been without air conditioning since April of 2010. I was on my way to an out-of-town conference when it decided to give up the ghost. I brought it back to my mechanic 3 days later and asked him to fix it. It didn't get done. Not because the mechanic didn't listen to my request, but when he was looking it over, he noticed other, more important repairs that needed to be done. Things that were a matter of safety. Like a tie-rod end or some such thing. Last year the air never got fixed.

Knowing it was going to be a somewhat expensive job, I set aside money for vehicle repairs for 2011. I had a budget of $2000 for repairs for both of our vehicles. Hubby's car is a 2002 Pontiac Grand Am. The Grand Am ate up about $750 of the repair funds, which leaves me with $1250 for the van.

Before we left for vacation at the beach, I dropped off the work van to the mechanic with a very long list of items needing to be looked at or repairing. The sliding door on the driver side didn't open, the brakes needed some attention, the transmission needed a service, the a/c needed to be working, and the bottom panels had some paint chipped off that was letting rust in. Then I left it in his capable hands to deal with it, with an explanation that because of my work, it needs to look good, no matter what it runs like. His motto is always safety over comfort.

When I picked it up on Monday, I was surprised to find out that the a/c had still not been repaired. Everything else got fixed, or the OK, but still no a/c. He felt guilty at having spent so much of my money already, so he left that part until another time. While checking brakes, he discovered that one of the ball-joints was cracked. Some huge thing had to be replaced as just replacing the smaller piece was not an option. (He always keeps the parts being replaced so he can show me what he means. He knows I have no knowledge of this stuff.) The big part was over $300 alone.

Total parts and labour to get my baby back on the road in good condition: $1172.00. Without a/c. :(
That leaves $78 left int he auto repair/maintenance fund. Wait, no...I got the Grand Am an oil change before we left for vacation. $78 - $44 = $30.

To finally get the a/c fixed is going to cost in the neighborhood of $300, because the pump needs replacing. I gave the mechanic the go ahead to order the parts he needs, and he is going to call me to set up a time that is good for the both of us. He knows later in the day works better for me, so on the given day, he will start later in the day to accommodate my schedule. How nice is that?

Now, where to get the $300 from?


  1. Consider yourself lucky. I have a 2000 Windstar, and it seems that every repair is $$$$. I have had the suspension done twice, serpintine belt, a/c, water pump....and the list goes on and on.

    $300 isn't too bad. I bet if you sell a few things you will have it in no time.

  2. Aw what a drag. You could always go with out AC, since we are going in to fall and then winter. That would give you time to save up the money.

  3. Sounds like you have a great mechanice though. Safety over comfort is always a good thing.


  4. I'm sorry, that really stinks. When I was younger, my family always drove older muscle cars, and they always needed to be fixed. So I bought a new car recently to get rid of all of the hassle. It's nice, but the payments are not fun.

  5. Ugh!! Geez, that's a lot of money! Every time I read a post like this I'm glad I don't drive/own a car! lol!