Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Another Problem!!!

Well crap! I really have a dilemma. The Focus is almost dead. Is it worth it to try and resurrect it?
Here is where we stand on everything and it may seem pretty clear cut but there are some other things at work too.
The Kia is our "good" car. It is a 2004 Amanti and it is a sweet ride. It is paid for which makes it even nicer but it gets terrible gas mileage. TERRIBLE! Maybe 20 MPG, it looks great but my heart sinks every time I have to step on the gas cuz I know I just spent $7. It has about 78000 miles on it. So it is no spring chicken.
The poor white, once smashed, 1999 Chevy lumina is still going strong. It has a new transmission but has 158000 miles on it. On a good day, we can get about 22 MPG. This is the kid's car. Yes, I know to hell with the kids in desperate times but still. Anna is going away to college so she doesn't need a car so I should just drive it. The problem is in about a year and a half, DJ will need a car. Well not need a car but we gave Anna the car to drive to school(1.5 miles away) if she stayed on the honor roll(which is going to pay off because she will be getting college scholarship money) and had a job to pay for her car insurance. I can't do for one and not the other. I just won't do it.
And then there is the Focus. I'm thinking about just calling it the f*** us car. We are $1200 in repairs and no closer to fixing it. It has a brand new motor in it and the body is in really great shape. It also gets over 30 MPG. It will need a transmission in the near future. I really don't mind putting money into the car but I'm not going to waste money on a dead car either. No one can figure out what is wrong with it. At times, it thinks its a race car and the engine races out of control or it isn't getting gas at all. We have had it to transmission places, mechanics and the Ford dealer. No one has a clue. Everyone is just throwing parts at it, us included. Den is a car guy and is at a loss. A friend said he will stop over and list all of the codes that it is spitting out. Even though this has been done half a dozen times, Den is going to go over everything. He said he will try and figure it out and see if it can't be fixed for a few more bucks. Famous last words!
So here is the problem, it is costing us $100 extra a month in gas for Den to drive the Kia. I see that as wasted money and would rather that money go towards a car. If we get another car, we would have to finance it. And I would hate to have another bill especially when Anna is going to college and we don't know what kind of impact it will have on our budget. A new car also means higher car insurance. Getting rid of the focus will drop our car insurance a bit(maybe $30 a month) but not enough to cover the extra money for the gas. Please help! I know I should be able to make a decision by now but I seem to be stuck. At what point, do you give up on the f*** us and say no more money?
Thanks again,


Annie Jones said...

My first thoughts are for you to get rid of the Focus, since it seems to be a lemon. Any gas you're saving by driving it instead of the Kia is being eaten up (and then some!) by the repairs you're putting into it.

You can drive either the Kia or the Lumina and Den drives the other. DJ doesn't need a car right now, and Anna can borrow one of them if she needs it when she's home on holidays.

I have no issue with you helping your kids out by letting them drive one of the family cars, or even helping them buy a used car. My parents helped all of us kids out with our first (used) cars, and we helped our daughter get into her first car. Have DJ start saving up for one now and then figure out how you can assist him when the time comes.

Annie Jones said...

You're probably going to laugh, but could either of you make do with a scooter for all or part of your transportation needs?

We bought both of our little 49cc scooters for less than $500 each, and they get about a million mpg. In MO, you don't have to license them (but in KS you do, so you'd have to check with your state) and you don't have to wear helmets, but you certainly can wear one if you want. In our town, the laws are the same as the bicycle laws.

Anyway, it's just a thought.

Linda Robinson said...

WOW, Thats a tought one! I am the worst at giving advice.. Or making a decision.. I alway blame that on being a Libra.. I have a hard time deciding whats for dinner let alone the big decision like this! I wish I could help.. All I can say is follow your instincts.

Hugs, Linda

Jill said...

Well if your cars are paid for that's a huge plus and where you want to be. Could you possibly sell one or two even and buy another car outright? I definitely wouldn't go new they lose so much value when you drive them off the lot. One thing I like to do when making a decision is a side by side list of all the pros and cons. Sometimes looking at it layed out this way helps put it into better perspective. Just a thought :-) I wish you the best.

slugmama said...

Get rid of the F**us. It's a money suck hole at this point and a lemon to boot(does your state have a Lemon law that you could persue whoever sold you that piece of sh**?lol).
Let Den drive one of the other cars. And see if Den can carpool with someone 1 or 2 days a week....that would reduce your gasoline bill a bit for now.

Long term, I'd sell both the F**us and the Kia and buy 1 or 2 more used cars with better gas mileage, using one of those extra house payments with whatever you get from selling the 2 cars so you pay cash-no loans!

Or just buy 1 car. Do you NEED 2 cars? Can you get by using 1 car? On the day you clean can you take Den to work and pick him up so you get the car for the day? Can you do your errands in the evening after Den is home so you don't need a second car?
My parents didn't have 2 cars for many years...Hubs and I also didn't have 2 cars for a number of years and I am NOT replacing my car when it dies so we'll be a 1 car family once again.
Cars are money pitts and a big reason why middle class folks can't get ahead with the money.
Have I mentioned that I hate cars?lol

Doing for each kid equally is great but something you have to have other priorities...

I know you'll figure something out...you are smart!!
Does Den have an opinion on what to do long term?

Sheila said...

This really is a tough dilemma. I think since y'all have already put so much into the Focus and it is still not working right, I would get rid of it. Then I would have whoever drives less each day take the Kia. Whatever money you would be putting into the Focus to fix it should be put towards getting another car with better gas mileage than the Kia. I'm sorry your Focus is a lemon and I hope y'all can figure out a solution soon. Wouldn't it be nice if it was such a simple fix that no one had thought of it!?

McVal said...

Oh wow! That's some nickname for a car!
Hmmm... I'd probably wait until there's some "drop, kick or drag" sale going on at a car dealership and trade it in.
Good luck! We're trying to figure out how to get our car from our son in October when our honor roll daughter needs a car. He needs to get off his butt and get a better job so he can get his own. What am I? Made of money?!

Frances said...

Some Focuses are lemons. I had a friend that had one and it was in the shop more than it was out for a long time. But it was finally fixed and she loved it. And bought a new Focus when it was time to get a newer car. So, you never know.

As for your dilemma. Personally, I would not put any more money into the Focus. Sell it if you can or trade it to someone for a $25 Walmart gift card...kidding!

DJ does not need a car right now and a year and a half is a long time away. I don't have issue with you providing a car for him to drive WHEN THE TIME COMES. But that time ain't here yet.

Either get rid of the Focus, or park it, then as Sheila suggested whichever of you drives the least, take the higher mpg vehicle. Though, I must say, I would not complain about 20 mpg. My CRV only get 18 or 19 in town. (It does get 27 on the highway.) But I only drive about 200 miles a week.

Trust me on this. Financing a new(er) car will NOT save you $100/month. You might pay less for gas, but your car note and higher insurance premiums will eat that savings.

How do I know? I replaced a gas guzzler and though I love my CRV, I would take that paid off guzzler back in a hearbeat.

SonyaAnn said...

I'm not ignoring you all! I'm just packing Anna for college and trying not to forget anything. This house looks like Anna's closet puked on it!
I feel so blessed that you would all take time out of your days to try and help me! Thank you, I feel loved.

SonyaAnn said...

Annie Jones-I think car problems are some of the worst things that can happen to the budget! A dead battery or a flat is one thing but something that you can't find is awful!
So far that looks like the plan, we will just switch off. Or at least, that is the plan that I hope for. We will see if Den will switch!
I always get a bit nervous when I post about what we are doing for the kids. :)

SonyaAnn said...

Annie Jones-I think that it is sweet that you were still thinking about me when you left and then came back to post again. I was on your mind! Don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing!
It would work if Den was closer but he has a 35-45 min drive one way. And we are just north of Chicago, he would be a "dead bug" on the windshield of a semi pretty quick! But I have offered to get him a pink one and update his life insurance. It is kind of the running joke around here. Everyone talks about getting a scooter and giving it a try. One guy rode his bicycle down a highway here to save gas. He had quite the story and never did it again. The wind from the semis almost knocked him over every time!

SonyaAnn said...

Linda Robinson- Now my question is, my instincts are telling me to shoot it. Should I listen to that advice?

SonyaAnn said...

Jill-This has been talked about too! We don't buy new cars, we can't afford it and it does make me sick to just lose money! Den has been really great about keeping the fleet running. He can fix almost anything but this one has stumped the professionals.
I'm so glad that I asked everyone about this because it helps me with perspective. Thank you!

SonyaAnn said...

slugmama-I think that new name for the car is perfect! Thank you for using it. It makes me feel smart!
We have had the car for over two years so we can't go after the old owner.
I wish he could car pool! That would help so much but no one lives out here. Its a 35-45 min drive! His old boss lived 15 minutes away and they car pooled for 2(ish) years and wow did that help! Why did he have to retire?
We do need two cars. We don't have anything in way of a bus system around here and it is spread out.
I think it will be better now because Anna is gone so there won't be any scheduling conflicts.I just need to win the lotto!

SonyaAnn said...

Sheila-Good idea, I hadn't looked at it as saving money by not doing the repairs. I was looking at it as losing a few thousand for giving up on it.
Thank you for caring about my problems and taking the time to leave me a solution!

SonyaAnn said...

McVal-Leave it to white trash girl to come up with a nick name like that!
I just hate when one problem impacts the entire budget!I lose sleep over things like this but I'm sure that I'm not the first!
Have you told your son this or is this something that is going to happen? Kids are just great sometimes! Good luck and I'll say a prayer!

SonyaAnn said...

Frances-I have to say that before this stupid crap happened, that car was the apple of my eye! There was just no stopping it. I blame the people that have worked on it more than ol' girl! If they don't know they shouldn't take your money!
Den did find a buyer for it. SOme guy wants to part it out. That said I hate to see it. First off because I know that it is just something stupid that is going on with it. It's just how we roll! And if he can fix it, its worth a few grand.
Right about DJ, he won't be getting a car anytime soon so I'll just stop worrying about it. It's just that I had a plan and now it isn't going to work. And it isn't helping things with Den and I that we are stressed about the car, fiances, and Anna. It's a lovely mess mess!
And it helps me the most when someone tells me their first hand experiences. Thank you!

Frances said...

SonyaAnn, never worry about posting what you do for your kids. Everyone does what they want to do for their kids. Just because I might not do something that you are doing does not mean that I think you should not.

We did provide cars for kids to drive when they lived with us. It cost us a fortune, since Samantha killed the first one a week after we handed her the keys. Then when we let her drive again, the poor car we bought for the purpose suffered terribly.

She was, and may still be, a really bad driver. (Yes, she took driver's ed.)

SonyaAnn said...

Frances-I know. It's just hard sometime to put everything out there. I feel like I should always give the entire picture and all the details but somethings are touchy.
But I know that you are always looking out for my best interest!:)
And poor, poor you and the cars! I have killed a few in my day and hopefully she will improve with age like I have!