The Car Post
November 21, 2010 4 Comments
So after spending a lot of day in thought and worry over a vehicle for my sister I have some conclusive thoughts.
The ideas from commentors about getting her a used car were true. Also about teenager responsibility. I also thought that maybe getting her a scooter would be the way to go. A 2-3 year old scooter is reliable and inexpensive – but would suck to ride around in the winter with.
What I decided to do is to just wait.
There will be a period of about 6 weeks after she gets here before she’ll need a vehicle for school. And I won’t have work after the 17th, so if she needs to commute to a seasonal job or whatnot she can in my car. (It doesn’t look like I’ll be able to get a job – everything I’ve applied for I’ve been turned down – I think having the Ph.D. is hurting me in this case.)
During that time I plan on offering her the following:
1. I’ll put in $500-600 on a vehicle for you.
2. I can buy you a clunker car now to drive around in until it breaks; a scooter that will last longer; or you can ride the bus and save up money and use my $500-600 towards your down payment on a “newer” car.
3. We’ll just get the best deal that we can with whatever choice she makes.
For now I think this is the best idea for the two of us.
The battery light has been going on and off on my car for a week or so. The last time I got my oil changed they told me that my battery was starting to go bad – which shocked me since I had just bought a new battery 1.5 years prior and it should last at least 3-4 years.
When I called the repair shop here they said that it didn’t sound like a battery issue but more like an alternator problem. Sure enough, I took it in and the alternator is bad – but the battery is good. Which makes sense, as the battery is relatively new but the alternator is original (8.5 years old).
Since I’m leaving for Thanksgiving I didn’t have time to get it repaired before I left, my car will sit at the airport with the bad alternator. I may have to get a jump at the airport parking after the car sits for a week without “charging”, but that isn’t too big of a deal (I hope). I have an appointment the day after I get back to replace the alternator.
The estimate on the alternator is $475 plus I get a 5% discount. I’ll pay for it from my E-fund and pull from my yearly fund to replenish it come January when my car fund gets reset. I also think that as my car is approaching 9 years old and the last two years I have run out of money in my car maintenance fund, I should up my contributions to my yearly fund at least another $20 per month ($240/year) – maybe even $30 if I can squeeze that much out of the budget ($360/year). Otherwise – I’ll run out of money for my car in the first month of 2011 – not a great way to start the new year!