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Baby Driver

My car is toast. An 8000 lb paper weight.

Well, no, it’s still plugging along, trying its little heart to please me. I always thought of it as a scrappy little dog, wagging its tail, ready to go on the next adventure, barrel through the next plow berm, load up the boot with the next airport pickup’s luggage situation.

The last year, my car has had some issues. First, the driver seat broke. Apparently this was a known issue with Nissan Muranos — the seats track little plastic gears just wear smooth and honestly, mine was at 160Kish miles so it was due. Esteban used it as an opportunity to fix other issues with the driver seat — bought a junker seat online, had my seat’s cracked panel repaired (another known problem — the seats are leather, but the side panels are vinyl and every one of them cracks right in the same place), the padding replaced and put the entire new track situation into the car, all saving about $500 (still not cheap, though, as you may suspect).

Then the tires needed replacing this summer. That was again a wear part — I knew that we’d have to replace the tires when it got to 170kish miles and a weird thing about the Muranos is that they will tear the tires off if you don’t start practicing orthodox tire rotation religion.

Then the seating that holds the engine in place broke. Another wear part — again, the car is kissing 175K miles, so these things are starting to happen. Then, I spotted the mystery fluid. I drove it to the mechanic and took a Lyft back on Monday, and wrote on my blog:

I dropped off my car at the auto shop today and similarly am doing a prayer that it isn’t something cataclysmic. While we certainly could survive for the three years we’re here with only one car, it’s not a theory I care to test out. And I really don’t want to try to fit another car payment into our budget, which is so tight that you could play the bridge to Inagaddadavida without an off note.

We had decided that the repairs, which were clocking in at a healthy $1300, were still cheaper than buying a replacement. But then they got it on the hoist and tried to start working on it. That’s when they realized that the frame is so rusted from its Wisconsin years (despite weekly car washes and underflushes — or perhaps because of them?) that they need to bring in special forces to even start to fix the repairs. So now it’s an estimate of $2500 in repairs for the tire juice stuff that was all over the floor. And they still haven’t addressed the serious gasoline smell that doesn’t/couldn’t be related to that breakdown.

My car is 10.5 years old. I drove or rode in the car for just about every one of its 175,000 miles. It’s only worth at best $2500 in trade in.

It’s time to call it — I have to get another car.

On my graduate student stipend.

Quite simply, it’s not a good financial decision to keep throwing money into a vehicle that is now reaching it’s “everything is worn beyond usability” stage. We would have to go for five months without a repair in order to equal the same amount of money spent toward car payments and I’m not confident that my little scrapper can do it. So…we need to get another car.

You guys, get ready for some drunken psychedelic refrains, because our budget is now going to be so taut that we will squeak when we walk.

Yesterday, I parked Esteban’s truck in the student parking garage, grabbed my lunch and my messenger bag and started trekking across campus toward the Literature building and then decided “Holy shit, it’s the last day of the month” and then I realized I didn’t have to be on campus until 1 pm per se, so I turned back around, looked up a used Nissan Murano and headed to the auto dealer. It was, of course, wonderful and felt like my scrappy little 10.5 Murano, only newer and shinier and Bluetoothier — but when we ran the trade in information for my broke and busted gal, the total was….. ooof. Way more than I wanted to spend, even on a 5 year old Murano.

Fuck me.

So tonight, we’re going to test drive some more stuff. And then I’m going to try to figure out how to pay for even a frugal reliable replacement vehicle when the Senate Republicans are about to vote to tax my meager living stipend into oblivion.

Now watch me pull this rabbit out of a hat. I’m interested in seeing how we pull this one off too.

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2 Comments

  1. Dashby, dahling. wrote:

    I hear that Hyundai Elantra is surprisingly sophisticated for a small car. I have a hard time with them because of the ugly emblem and, quite honestly, they are shaped like a bar of Dove soap. But oy, the reliability.

    Friday, December 1, 2017 at 7:46 pm | Permalink
  2. WendyBix wrote:

    I tried them. I’m too tall. Esteban is way too tall. It might have just been the individual car that I tried, but yeah… too tall. Or my butt is too fat which makes me sit taller. Or probably some combination of that.

    Saturday, December 2, 2017 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

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