I knew that there would be hiccups from time to time in the minimum wage challenge. It would be wonderful if spending was something that could always be prepared for and anticipated, but the reality is that unexpected costs will present themselves from time to time, and a decision what to do will have to be made. One of those situations happened to me today.
My car has been running fine, but it recently passed 90,000 and I needed the oil changed and tires rotated again. I know that 90,000 miles is one of the big milestone checks with cars (my service car light came on to remind me), so I decided to have a thorough check of the car to make sure everything was in good running order, especially since I put so many miles on the car. I really didn’t think there would be anything major since the car has been running so well (and I’ve managed to figure out how to drive to stop the clicking noise in the clutch).
So you can imagine my surprise when I got a call from the mechanic saying that one of one of my axles was cracked and needed to be replaced. I immediately went into my question mode:
Me: “Is it necessary for this to be repaired right away?”
Mechanic: “No, but if you want to drive it another few years, it’s going to have to be eventually replaced.”
Me: “If it was your car, what would you do?”
Mechanic: “Are you going to be driving it around here or on long trips?”
Me: “Probably a combination of both.”
Mechanic: “If you are only going to be driving it around here, you could probably put off the repair for a few months. If you are going to be driving long distances, I would get have it replaced right away. It’s functional now, but you don’t want it to get to the point where it damages other parts of the car.”
(Side note: Asking a professional what they would do if it was their item or what they would do in the exact same situation — of if there child faced the same situation — is one of my favorite questions that has saved me thousands of dollars over the years. It’s amazing the number of times I have been told that something needs to be replaced, but after asking that question, I find that it really doesn’t or there are other alternatives that can be considered. I have found that when you form a question of what that person would do in a similar situation, you often get unexpected answers that can save money)
While I would have preferred to wait, I decided that it was best to just have the issue taken care of right then and there. Since I do quite of bit of driving, the last thing I want is to have it become an issue when I am away and have to go into a random mechanic to have it looked at. Since I do trust my mechanic and he saved me a lot on what could have been an expensive repair on the clicking clutch noise, I told him to go ahead and repair everything that needed to be done.
In the end, I had the following things done to the car:
Change Oil & Filter
Change Cabin & Air Filters
Flush Brake Fluid
Replace Right Side Axle
Cost of Parts: $185
Cost of Labor: $185
Total Cost: $370
The car expenses more than double what I have paid up to this point in that category. All in all, although it wasn’t what I had hoped, it could have been a lot worse and I’ll have to cut back a bit more in other areas in the days to come. If the car can continue to run with no issues for the rest of the year, I’ll be happy. I’m also happy that I did my Redwood national park journey before finding this out because I may have ended up cancelling it otherwise. While it’s a bit unexpected, it doesn’t kill my budget and it’s one of those curves that we all face when budgeting.
(Photo courtesy of pat00139)