My husband and I have a tradition of taking a vacation in January. We’ve only been together a few years so it’s open to interpretation and change, but usually by January he’s exhausted from working retail during the Holidays and I’m exhausted from working 911 during the holidays (fun fact: personal crimes, disturbances and suicides usually skyrocket during November/December).
This year we were going to have a bit of extra money so we decided to take a vacation. We settled on Colorado Springs – far enough away to get out of Texas, close enough to drive it in a day, and most importantly: mountains. We both grew up around mountains and are really only in Texas to be near our family. If we had our choice, we’d most likely live in the mountains somewhere.
Last year we finally paid off my 2003 Hyundai Elantra which is our only mode of transportation. Since then it’s been in the shop every month with minor but necessary repairs. We knew there were a few things that REALLY needed to get done on it, so we decided to take it into the shop before leaving for Colorado. I’m glad we did.
We knew there was something wrong with the front right tire – turns out, one of the bearings was bad and needed replaced. That was just the start though. There was 2 separate oil leaks – one up on top by the engine, and one down below. Our mechanic, Joe, is a great guy and took the time to lift the vehicle so he could point out exactly where it was leaking to us. Sure enough, 2 leaks. Bummer. They weren’t horrible, but to replace the oil pan and take care of the leaks, apparently you have to get pretty far into the engine area. The timing belt should have been changed 60,000 miles ago and Joe told us that if we could afford to get the timing belt done at the same time as the oil leaks it would save us a bit on labor, since some of the labor is the same.
Joe works for Herrera’s Automotive, also called Blunt Force Customs. I was recommended him by a friend and I honestly recommend him to everyone I know in the Austin area. He has been nothing but upfront, reasonable and honest with me – and because of that, he gets my business and anyone I can convince!
Anyways, he said he definitely recommended the ball bearing fix before our trip. That along with the synthetic oil change was about 250 dollars. The oil leak fix and the timing belt were quite a bit more expensive… around 750 dollars. He said we could wait, but we’d be running a risk with the amount of driving… and said the oil leak would be quite a bit worse by the time we got back. We toiled about our decision, but finally decided that if we took the trip and didn’t get the timing belt replaced (especially with all that up-mountain driving) we’d constantly worry about it and not enjoy the trip as much.
So, being the responsible adults we are, told Joe to go ahead and fix everything wrong with the car.
The crazy thing is, I’m not as sad as I expected to be. Our car has been very good to us, and if we want it to last another 150k we definitely need to take care of it. And God provided the money to us when we needed it, even though we had to make the decision to miss out on something fun. We’ll still have fun this week, it will just be a little closer to home.
Even still… being a responsible adult is hard sometimes. Goodbye thousand dollars, hello better running car. Woop-de-doo.