“It’s better than a car payment.” That’s what I tell myself every time I have to hall in one of our 10+ year-old vehicles to have some repair done on it. This morning I went down to Ames to see what was up with our 1999 Ford Escort which my daughter uses at college. It wasn’t starting for her. I was able to get it started, after much difficulty, and it ran fine. Until I turned it off at the Interstate Battery place. I thought maybe it had a weak battery, so I went to have it tested. Once I turned the engine off, it would not turn back on. It wouldn’t turn over. It wouldn’t even crank.
The teenagers that worked at Interstate Battery (at least, they seemed like teenagers) tried their best to sell me a new battery. But I just wasn’t convinced. Why would it start up after sitting for hours in sub-zero weather, only to completely have no juice after driving it for a while. There was a Ford dealership across the street, a little less than 1/4 mile away. I decided to forgo the new battery since I was not 100% convinced it was the battery. So I pushed the car. Yes, I pushed the car across the street, in -10 degree weather. At one point, someone got out to help me push because by the time I was half way, I felt like collapsing.
I managed to get the blasted piece of machinery all the way to the Service door at the Ford dealer. I had sucked in so much of that frigid air that my lungs were hurting (still coughing every so often several hours later). Turns out, after repairing the wires going to the terminals on the battery, that the battery itself was okay after it was recharged. The starter was bad, which was what I suspected from the beginning. So, after about five hours, a walk to Sam’s Club, and several copies of People magazine, the car was done. I won’t mention how much $$ was spent. But you can well imagine.
Just another day in the life of old, used cars. But at the end of the day, I am still saying, “It’s better than a car payment.” I will nickle and dime these cars until they cannot be nickled and dimed anymore (though, it wasn’t exactly nickles and dimes today, or last month when I had the alternator replaced, but I digress…). Yes, I am that cheap. Thankfully, it was my day off.