In the Pockets

Two years' worth of rent well-spent

Three years’ worth of rent well-spent

I’ve spent a small fortune this weekend, and I wish I could say it was on something awesome like a jetpack or an invisibility cloak.  When you become a responsible adult you don’t get to blow your money on things that matter.  You have to buy dumb stuff, like food, rent and car repairs. 

I hate owning a car.  I hate driving.  If I lived in a place where I could walk or ride a bike without fear of being run over, I’d totally do it.  The shitty part is that my office is about 10 miles away, a reasonable biking distance that is rendered impossible because of the ultra-dangerous conditions of a mega-highway and everybody driving like NASCAR.  I took the stupid vehicle for its 90,000-mile preventive maintenance check.  I hate doing stupid things like this, but if you want the car to last you have to, or it turns into a piece of shit and you spend even more money.  Just to check the car, it cost $600.  Naturally, they’ll find the slightest thing wrong, which in my case, it was something to do with the drive belts and brakes.  What I hate about the whole thing is that you really don’t know, you have to trust these people.  Am I qualified to inspect brakes?  Not at all.  Do I want to die or kill other people in a fiery death because my brakes failed at the worst time?  No, I don’t, so I agreed to the $350 to redo the rear brakes.

Ma'am, you're definitely gonna need nitro boosters and a cloaking device, state law, you know.  Also, your passenger seat ejector is busted.  You're looking at an easy million, but I can get you a 10% off coupon.

Ma’am, you’re definitely gonna need nitro boosters and a cloaking device, state law, you know. Also, your passenger seat ejector is busted. You’re looking at an easy million, but I can get you a 10% off coupon.

Is that a lot of money for brakes?  Probably.  But you know what you can’t do in the car world?  You can’t call around for a better price.  Everybody wants you to bring the vehicle so they can look at it and assess you a price.  Usually, they’ll charge just to look and then they’ll say something slick like, “Of course, if you need brakes, we’ll deduct the cost of the inspection from the amount you pay for the brake service.”  It makes you feel like you’re getting something, but you’re not.  That’s shitty.  It’s not like you can use one of those price comparison apps to find the best price.  You have to drive all around town and these car places know you don’t have time for that. 

I do what I can to save money on car repairs without being too cheap.  Because my car is relatively new, I do want it to last for quite some time, so I got to take care of it.  Yes, I’ll get brakes.  Yes, I’ll get tires.  Yes, I’ll top off the fluids.  No, I won’t wash it.  And no, I won’t get an oil change every 3000 miles. 

I knew I should have got the premium air freshener.  Now what?

So that’s what he meant by “you won’t get far on 1/8 tank of gas.”  Damn.

I will not even begin to pretend that I know shit about cars, but I started to wonder about this 3000 mile oil change thing when I bought my first car in 2001.  Everyone had all this advice for me, including change the oil every 3000 miles.  I did this diligently because I wanted the car to last, but every time I went to the oil change place I was kicking out $40 to $50.  For a lot of people that ain’t a lot of money, but that was a small fortune for me back then.  I just wondered why all the car commercials talk about how their cars are so advanced with the latest technology but yet they still needed to have their oil changed every 15 minutes.  Even the car oil commercials talked about how awesome their new oil was.  It didn’t make any sense to me, but I kept on changing the oil until one day I didn’thave any money so I skipped the oil change.  Skipped another and another and another.  By the time I had some extra money my Corolla had gone 8000 miles without an oil change.  It still worked fine so I kept doing it that way. 

Who needs an auto repair shop?  The manual makes it easy.  By linking the windshield wiper mechanism to the radiator cooling system and bypassing the fuel injection pistons I should correct the "empty gas tank" problem.

Who needs an auto repair shop? The manual makes it easy. By linking the windshield wiper mechanism to the radiator cooling system and bypassing the fuel injection pistons I should correct the “empty gas tank” problem.

There wasn’t any Google back then, so I couldn’t look it up.  Forget about that little book they stick in the glove box.  No time to read it, but my Corolla went on to drive more than 250,000 miles with an oil change around 7500-10000.  I sold it because I wanted something new, and when I bought that car I actually did look in the book.  Hmm, amazingly my brand new Hyundai said to change the oil every 7500 miles.  I knew it.  Total conspiracy.  That car went 200,000 miles with random oil changes.  The only major issue was air conditioning and the fact that I wrecked it eight times.

I dated this guy for awhile who is a car fanatic.  He loves everything about cars and reads up on them as a passtime.  He looked at me like I was stone cold crazy when I told him I only changed the oil about 7500-9000 miles.  Of course, him being a man and me a stupid woman who cannot fathom the complex intricacies of the car world, he scoffed at this.  I don’t need to know anything about cars.  I only need to know how to read.  I told him to look at his car’s manual but he just rolled his eyes.  Hey, it’s your money.  Even worse, it’s your time.  I can now afford $40 to change the oil, but I can’t afford the four hours it takes to drop off the car, wait and then ignore them while they try to sell me magical floor mats and a special engine flush that allows the car to hover over traffic during rush hour.

According to the manual in my current vehicle, I should change the oil at 3000 miles only if I drive at low speeds for long distances, make frequent 5-mile or less trips in freezing temperatures, drive on rough or muddy roads frequently, or while towing long-distance. 

So, yeah, screw you, sleazy car maintenance guy and ex-boyfriend so-called car afficionado person.  One of you just wants in my pockets, and the other is just stuck in his ways.  Either way, you see why neither relationship could ever really work out.

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