Are we spending an appropriate amount on our cars?
Well, I guess that depends. I always offer to do a little work on my mum’s car when she visits with my Grandma. It saves her money and it’s just the right thing to do.
“Sure I’ll do an oil change, anything else?” I ask.
Always vigilant, she says, “I noticed a little coolant leak under the car”…
So… an oil change turns into a challenge.
No troubles with the oil change…But a mechanic must pursue.
So I’m investigating the coolant ‘problem’ under the hood of her car when I find the suspect. A large hemorrhaging coolant leak ensues. Hide the pets, invite the squirrels. That’s another story…
Being prepared, take note boy scouts, I always have something to catch the crap that pours out under a car when you least expect it. Well, I found the broken piece and now there is a car stuck in my driveway until parts are delivered.
Hopefully, before my Grandma makes me eat even more cake. You do not turn down a
Anyway, I end up filtering most of the used antifreeze so I can use it again. I definitely don’t want that to enter our water supply nor do I want to buy more. FI Garage car hack #?
Although the situation is not ideal, it is a hell of a lot better than my mum being stuck on the side of the road with an overheating engine or much, much worse my Grandma needing a cup of tea.
These are the skills I’ve learned. (make a good cup of tea). Do not be phased by another car repair challenge. I once offered to contribute to a ‘newer’ car for my mum. But she taught me to be frugal, and as such, still has her trusty 2000 VW beetle. Which I will happily fix forever.
Sometimes I wish I was there to provide roadside assistance, but
But hey, 19 years and 200,000+ KMs take a toll
Sure enough, it’s just a
So I ordered the parts, $41 for this, $26 for that, another $51 for the other. Now, it’s all about your MMM ability to learn a new skill and get those bits out of there (without breaking more stuff). Trust me, there’s always a youtube to help you anyway. (this video
But, what if she had to pay the
Had the car broke on the side of the road, with a tow and a visit to a local garage. I estimate this repair would have cost upwards of $800 or more (I only charged a very minimal beer fee for services delivered :). That would seriously make you consider selling the vehicle, or wondering why you kept an ‘old’ car in the first place.
The reality is, for many, you may not have a son who is able to repair your car. Or it just may happen at an inopportune time. There is a risk, for sure. But sometimes we overestimate the real cost of car ownership and repair versus the cost of a ‘new’ one. We always underestimate the community of help that is out there.
I would say, network your car knowledge. Friend, family connection, chances are we all know someone that can help. Even if you have to go to a garage, make sure you are choosing a reputable, trusted vendor. There’s no end to the horror stories. There’s always an opportunity for a second opinion. If all else fails, call the FI Garage.
Before I found the broken coolant line, this story was supposed to be about how my mother had been charged $200 for her last oil change. I was angry about that!
Now, I know rotted dinosaur flesh is expensive, but are you kidding? $200!!
I looked at the bill, the dinosaur extract and paper filter were $74, which is excessive. But WTF was the other $120?
Oh, yeah, topping up fluids and a multi-point inspection. Thank goodness they filled up that headlight fluid! Seriously, I just went to Canadian tire and bought the oil and filter and did it myself for less than $50.
Yes, I had to actually do it, how much is that worth? For my mother, priceless.
(No squirrels were harmed in the above described chaos, we did offer them tea.)