My birthday present to myself: FOUR NEW TIRES!

I feel like cars are similar to relationships. When you’ve driven a car for years, you become intimately acquainted with it. You know when things aren’t going well. You can feel when things are different. You take for granted the good times and can sense when it needs some extra TLC. Lately I’ve felt like things were off. Weird noises came from odd places and braking was not as smooth as it used to be.

Since I’m such a loving car owner, I could sense my neglect and took it to the shop on Monday. My mechanic Butch (real name) told me that it’s time for me to give my Honda a new makeover:

First Priority: Get four brand new tires immediately.
Then: Get new axles & alignment.
Then: Replace the belts that are cracking.
Then: Replace the brake pads.
Meanwhile: Continue changing oil.

I immediately took my car in to get new tires yesterday and it cost me $350 (-$60 rebate). Ouch! Nice birthday present. ;) I paid with a credit card, but will use my “Car Fund” to pay it off. I keep around $500 in this account for car repairs. (I don’t like using my Emergency Fund for car repairs since these are almost expected for older cars.)

The other repair items are a priority but not necessarily immediate. I plan on fixing these repairs over the next few months and am guessing a liberal $500-700 will need to be forked out from now until Christmas. Bummer, right?

I learned a long time ago that cars are high maintenance and require money and attention to keep them running. My goal is to celebrate my ’94 Honda Accord’s 20th birthday before getting a new car. I don’t mind driving a beater and would rather have a crappy paid-for car than to go into debt. However, that means by 2014, I’d like to have $10,000 saved for a new ride. Hmm… I suppose I will have to start a New Car Fund as soon as I’m debt free.

Ahhh, the joys woes of being an adult!

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  • I think having a separate car fund is a great idea – because you’re right – it isn’t an emergency, it is an expected expense. However, I never know HOW MUCH it is going to be. In the past year I spent $3,000 just on repairs on my car. It is hard to budget for things like replacing the transmission and having to replace both my wheel and tire after getting an unexpected flat. However, I still like the idea of it. Perhaps I should set up a sub account on ING for my car and put away $25/month or so in it – “just in case”.

  • Ah, Dave Ramsey would kill me, but I have a 2006 Toyota Scion tC. I love it! I actually bought it second-hand from my dad for $10,000. But I already have 61,000 miles on her, so I’ll be doing repairs sooner rather than later…

  • Happy Bday! I hope your day and your year is fantastic.

    You must take really good care of your car to want it until its 20 years old. My BF can’t even imagine having a car that’s older than 5 years old. He has a Pontiac G6 that is 2 years old, still in great condition, and he’s already planning on buying a new one. It must be a guy thing…

  • Haha! Owning a car is undeniably costly and stressful sometimes, but it sure is a lot of fun. :P Hmm. It must be a little painful to pay a lot just to have your car cleaned or repaired. But hey, all the pimping is for your benefit and safety and for you to be able to fully enjoy your car!

    Erwin Calverley

  • It’s
    been quite a while, Ginna. I’m pretty sure you’ve experienced so much
    ups and downs with your car in the last three years. I love how much
    you value your car, and I can imagine how neat it still looks even
    after all the time that’s passed. How are you now? Are you still
    driving the same car? :)

    Randee
    Colton @ CapitolHillExxon.com