Author Topic: Bad Car Problems During Personal Financial Crisis  (Read 11400 times)

Benpercent

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Bad Car Problems During Personal Financial Crisis
« on: April 26, 2013, 06:25:01 PM »
I could use some advice. I've gotten myself into a temporary, personal financial crisis, and to my great disfortune a huge car problem has arrived, which I can barely deal with.

My money is so tight that I've had to do a bank overdraft to pay my rent -- with discounts offered by the landlord, being patient with my problems -- and am currently ignoring a bunch of other bills until I can get back on my feet. I lost my job in December last year, and while I'm employed now, the brief unemployment was enough to get me seriously unstable.

I need to get this problem fixed because it's of the magnitude that it could potentially destroy my engine. I was ignoring it up until now, applying daily band-aids, but now it's gotten quite severe. In addition, I need my car to drive to my second job, and since I'm moving in a few weeks I'll especially need a functional vehicle, as then I won't be able to walk to my primary job anymore.

I own a 2003 Dodge Intrepid, and it's developed some severe coolant leaks. At the start it was very benign and took an extremely long while to begin overheating, but the continued pressure made the leak worse and worse, and now the whole radiator practically empties out in one day's worth of mild travel. The biggest concern is that I can see it's now getting inside the engine.

I attempted putting coolant stop-leak in it, and that worked to a modest degree, but I think where the main leak is is where it failed and cannot stymy the flow. I put up to three applications of the sealant in the overflow tank and the problem is still worsening.

My credit is maxed out, bank overdrafted, and I'm generally alone in terms of personal finances, with parents either dead or absent, toxic family cut off, and so on. That means I've got to solve this through some different venues than simply asking a family member to help me out or something.

A local mechanic I got some work done with may be willing to work with me, but I'd have to do an overdraft for the up-front cost and get a promissory note, and he may either be unable to do that or else won't until I pay off my other (small) promissory note with him.

I most likely won't be able to do this repair myself, either. I live at an apartment complex at an outdoor mall where it's likely against the rules to do auto-work on the property.

What I could do? What options should I investigate?

If it helps in information, I also have the mechanics diagnosis, and can list out the parts he planned on ordering.

Thanks for your time.

Spork

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Re: Bad Car Problems During Personal Financial Crisis
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2013, 06:28:57 PM »
Do you know where it's leaking?   Radiator core?  Bad hoses?  Water pump?

If it were as simple as a bad hose or 2... I might risk doing it there in the parking lot.  Total cost: $10 on up (depending on what hose we're talking about.)

Benpercent

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Re: Bad Car Problems During Personal Financial Crisis
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2013, 06:53:05 PM »
I had the radiator hoses replaces last year or so, and looking at the new work order it's something different.

I'm very ignorant when it comes to car repairs, so I cannot tell which parts of the work order are actually essential and which may be superfluous. I'd be happy with a "duct tape" repair, meaning going with the bare minimum to get it all fixed.

Reading off the work order, here's what the mechanic thinks:

* R&R intake manifold (part # 501-7183AB)---- $171.99   
* Connector water outlet with tub - OE (??) (part # 479-2307AB) ---- $13.02
* O-ring / water outlet with tube - OE (part #MS91473) ---- $22.71
* Work requested - water pump - Replace includes R&R timing chain ---- $729 (Labor cost)
* Water pump - New - Napa (part # 42041) ---- $145.64
* Felpro -Timing Cover Gasket (part # TCS45035) ---- $51.64
* Work requested - Heater hose - replace - main heater - steel line/tube - return ---- $126.00 (Labor cost)
* Tube heater return with hose - OE (part #476-7152 AC) ---- $161.07
* Radiator cap - safety vent type - napa (part # 7031801) ----$14.85
* A gallon of anti-freeze ----$14.71 (Now I know I've seen this cheaper in stores.)
* Two hose clamps, Economy # 16 (part 505-1216) and 24 (part 505-1224) ---- 4 of each at $7.80 per 4.
* Brake / Parts cleaner - Mag 1 (part #MG750409) ---- $6.46

* * * * *

Altogether that makes $1,709.11. They're asking for half up front to consider a promissory note for the other hand, but I can't overdraft that much. I'm considering lopping off some of these items to get a bare-bones repair to drive down the cost, but I don't know what's essential and what isn't, or if all the parts are needed.

Whenever I took to the secretary she says there's "many things going on," so it might be a network of problems.

bogart

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Re: Bad Car Problems During Personal Financial Crisis
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2013, 09:15:03 PM »
I'm sorry you're dealing with these problems.

Once you move, what will the commute distances to your two jobs be, and what is the scheduling of each (i.e. what days and hours do you need to be at work at each)?

I'd be disinclined to spend what you have listed (the $1.7K figure) on a decade-old Dodge, but I realize you're trying to figure out how best to putter along until you have more resources and can start to fix things.  I'm not sure what the right answer to that is, but I think the commuting and scheduling answers might help us think through that.

Benpercent

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Re: Bad Car Problems During Personal Financial Crisis
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2013, 09:41:37 PM »
I'm not sure how that would factor in, but I intend to move ten to twenty minutes away from my primary job, though that could put me a half-hour or more away from the second job. Honestly, I'm not sure if I'll keep the second -- I might change it out -- as it's a low-paying and irresponsible place. (I work in the restaurant industry at entry-level.)

I want to see if I could make a bike work, but I don't think it would in this cityscape.

Another Reader

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Re: Bad Car Problems During Personal Financial Crisis
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2013, 09:49:45 PM »
Can you borrow money to rent a car until you are back on your feet?  If you could "overdraft" until you get paid would that work?

Spork

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Re: Bad Car Problems During Personal Financial Crisis
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2013, 06:26:44 AM »
This is a bit of a gut feeling here...  But almost $2000 seems like a lot of money to here for radiator troubles.  I've had transmissions rebuilt for about that much.  Is the car really worth that much if it were fixed?  Or, maybe a better question: could you buy a reasonably reliable replacement car for that amount of money?  (I know that's not helping your "where do I get this cash" issue...  but it feels like the elephant in the room.)

Benpercent

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Re: Bad Car Problems During Personal Financial Crisis
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2013, 08:05:24 AM »
I guess I could overdraft to rent a car, but how much is it, and where do I look?

As for the repair costs, I do find it worth it, because public transportation here might be outrageously slow, and a bike probably can't go on these big street (and there's not enough neighborhoods and landscapes to transverse). If I took the bus to my second job, for instance, it'd be a four-hour commute, whereas it's a scant twenty minutes in my car.

Additionally, if I am at risk of becoming homeless (I'm not sure if I can afford a new apartment after getting out of this one), then it would be well to have a mobile car to live in for a few weeks while capital comes in.

BlueMR2

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Re: Bad Car Problems During Personal Financial Crisis
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2013, 08:48:30 AM »
This is a bit of a gut feeling here...  But almost $2000 seems like a lot of money to here for radiator troubles.  I've had transmissions rebuilt for about that much.  Is the car really worth that much if it were fixed?  Or, maybe a better question: could you buy a reasonably reliable replacement car for that amount of money?  (I know that's not helping your "where do I get this cash" issue...  but it feels like the elephant in the room.)

You must not have priced water pumps and radiators recently...  Not only are they getting insanely expensive to buy (just the parts), but if you can't DIY, the labor on the newer cars is pretty steep.  They just don't build them with repairing in mind...

bogart

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Re: Bad Car Problems During Personal Financial Crisis
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2013, 10:49:16 AM »

I do find it worth it, because public transportation here might be outrageously slow, and a bike probably can't go on these big street (and there's not enough neighborhoods and landscapes to transverse). If I took the bus to my second job, for instance, it'd be a four-hour commute, whereas it's a scant twenty minutes in my car.

Additionally, if I am at risk of becoming homeless (I'm not sure if I can afford a new apartment after getting out of this one), then it would be well to have a mobile car to live in for a few weeks while capital comes in.

If we drew a scale of non-Mustachian to Mustachian, anyone here would tell you I have not passed even the 50% mark.  BUT.  You are in a place where Mustachianism is pretty much your only sensible choice.  My advice would be, get rid of the car, get a bike and/or take the bus, lose the second job if it's more hassle than it's (literally) worth and dig yourself out of the pit you're in.  I'm sorry you're in it, but your focus should be on getting out, and those are the steps that will move you in that direction faster.  Does your community have a shelter you can fall back on if you need a safe place to live?  Are you near a college campus where students may be looking to sublet out their rooms (cheap) over the summer?

Is Zipcar or a similar short-term-use an option where you live?

fnord

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Re: Bad Car Problems During Personal Financial Crisis
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2013, 11:28:03 AM »
I know you said that you don't think you can do the repair yourself, but you could consider getting the help of a friend, or bartering for the labor. A radiator replacement job is not usually a challenging repair. At the very least, arm yourself with the knowledge of what the parts costs are. However, just because you can buy a radiator for $115.00 does not mean that you can expect a mechanic to sell you parts at that cost. Be prepared to pay up to 2x the lowest price you can find if the mechanic sources the parts. If you see a lot of items on the quote for more than 2x normal price, begin to suspect that the mechanic is either charging you too much, or paying too much himself.

Here is a link to a random shop that advertises an aftermarket replacement radiator for your car. I assumed that you have a 2.7l engine, and automatic transmission. They claim their price includes shipping. https://shop.performanceradiator.com/index.php?route=product/category&path=1_13008_14011_14044_14045

There are hundreds of shops like the one I linked, you may be able to find a better price, or a shop closer to your home.

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If it helps in information, I also have the mechanics diagnosis, and can list out the parts he planned on ordering.

Sure, post it up. I'll check back later and see if I can help you find the parts cheap, if you're interested.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Bad Car Problems During Personal Financial Crisis
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2013, 11:42:40 AM »
Make sure that you are 100% positive that the leak comes from the radiator and not anywhere on the engine block. If it is the radiator, then you can replace it yourself with a bit of determination.

I changed mine last fall with zero experience in cars and learned a lot in the process. $100 for the radiator, $25 for two jack stands, $20 for basic mechanics sockets and wrenches from walmart, $6 for a can of PB blaster to help loosen all the bolts (old car with rust on the bolts).

Aside from that, your situation seems very dire. If you have already maxed out all credit avenues, what makes you think you can keep up with all the existing payments AND fix your car? You should probably be on a beans & buses diet until everything is back in order, for the sake of your future finances...

Dynasty

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Re: Bad Car Problems During Personal Financial Crisis
« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2013, 11:58:06 AM »
Sounds like you have more serious problems than a leaking radiator, if coolant is getting into the engine.

Honestly, most chrysler/dodge products are utter bottom feeder/sub-prime fodder. A ten year old dodge intrepid is pretty much worth more as scrap than an appliance. I wouldn't put more than 150 dollars into fixing it.

You said you are moving in a few weeks? I'm confused by this statement: "...I need my car to drive to my second job, and since I'm moving in a few weeks I'll especially need a functional vehicle, as then I won't be able to walk to my primary job anymore.

Why do you need a car to walk to your primary job? 

Do you mean able to drive to your secondary job, from your primary job which is walkable to your current apartment, or the apartment your are moving to which will be walkable from your primary job?

If the new apartment will be walkable to the primary job, I would for option 1, talk the mechanic and be very frank that you only need a repair to last a month, have a max of $150 dollars to spend on said repair, because after that you are getting rid of the car.

Option 3, a service such as zip car. But based on the description of where you live that is probably not an option.

Option 4, a three or four week rental from a car rental place such as Budget, or Enterprise. From the sounds of your finances, this may not be an option either.

Option 5, start shopping the really shady buy here pay here lots, and see if they will do a short term car rental for you for a month. You might be able to do something for less than three hundred.

Riding the bus for 4 hours each way to work and home is not realistic.

Whatever you do, dumping close to 2K into an intrepid, which is going to probably have 2K more worth of transmission repairs coming up pretty soon, and who knows what else will bankrupt you.

You really need to dump that car, and save some cash. And also after moving, start looking into a new secondary job that is walkable from your apartment as well. And then start saving for a reliable boring Honda or Toyota.




Benpercent

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Re: Bad Car Problems During Personal Financial Crisis
« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2013, 06:29:20 PM »
Btw if you haven't already noticed, I posted the work order above, all the parts the mechanic was considering.

Sounds like you have more serious problems than a leaking radiator, if coolant is getting into the engine.

Necessarily? Or is there a broader range of possibilities?

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You said you are moving in a few weeks? I'm confused by this statement: "...I need my car to drive to my second job, and since I'm moving in a few weeks I'll especially need a functional vehicle, as then I won't be able to walk to my primary job anymore.

Why do you need a car to walk to your primary job? 

I live in the apartment complex right in the outdoor mall that I work at, and as soon as I move on May 10th I won't be in walking distance anymore. Thus, I'll need transportation for then.

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If the new apartment will be walkable to the primary job, I would for option 1, talk the mechanic and be very frank that you only need a repair to last a month, have a max of $150 dollars to spend on said repair, because after that you are getting rid of the car.

I'll see if perhaps I could buy the parts and persuade him only in installing them.

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Riding the bus for 4 hours each way to work and home is not realistic.

It's four hours round-trip, I think, but yeah.

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Whatever you do, dumping close to 2K into an intrepid, which is going to probably have 2K more worth of transmission repairs coming up pretty soon, and who knows what else will bankrupt you.

You really need to dump that car, and save some cash. And also after moving, start looking into a new secondary job that is walkable from your apartment as well. And then start saving for a reliable boring Honda or Toyota.

The car cost me about 2.4k too. At this point I've sunk more in repair costs in it than I paid for the vehicle itself.

Make sure that you are 100% positive that the leak comes from the radiator and not anywhere on the engine block. If it is the radiator, then you can replace it yourself with a bit of determination.

Worthwhile thought, but it's leaking into the engine now. Could that be a crack in the engine block?

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Aside from that, your situation seems very dire. If you have already maxed out all credit avenues, what makes you think you can keep up with all the existing payments AND fix your car? You should probably be on a beans & buses diet until everything is back in order, for the sake of your future finances...

My car is paid for in total.

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If we drew a scale of non-Mustachian to Mustachian, anyone here would tell you I have not passed even the 50% mark.  BUT.  You are in a place where Mustachianism is pretty much your only sensible choice.  My advice would be, get rid of the car, get a bike and/or take the bus, lose the second job if it's more hassle than it's (literally) worth and dig yourself out of the pit you're in.  I'm sorry you're in it, but your focus should be on getting out, and those are the steps that will move you in that direction faster.  Does your community have a shelter you can fall back on if you need a safe place to live?  Are you near a college campus where students may be looking to sublet out their rooms (cheap) over the summer?

A bike is appetizing, but I'm not sure if I could make it work on these kind of streets, where sidewalks are sporadic and traffic is heavy.

I don't know where I'm moving yet, but bussing could be a possibility. However, it'd be a 4-hour round trip to my second job, so it wouldn't work there.

I never thought about the college sublet option. That's something to look into.

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Is Zipcar or a similar short-term-use an option where you live?

Just looked at the website. Not in Dallas.

bogart

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Re: Bad Car Problems During Personal Financial Crisis
« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2013, 07:29:06 PM »
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A bike is appetizing, but I'm not sure if I could make it work on these kind of streets, where sidewalks are sporadic and traffic is heavy.

I don't know where I'm moving yet, but bussing could be a possibility. However, it'd be a 4-hour round trip to my second job, so it wouldn't work there.


Yeah, I get it.  But sinking the kind of money you're sinking into your car really doesn't make sense either -- to the point where I think you'd be better off skipping the second job (or at least, because what the heck do I know, doing the math both ways).

And I suspect you have big (car) problems, if the coolant is getting into the engine.  I forget details, but it was something in this vein that led to my getting rid of my last vehicle.  If you own the car outright and can get it to Carmax, you can likely get some money for it.  I got $500 for my not-pretty 1998 Taurus with, as I say, similar issues, and 180K miles.

If your jobs are entry-level food service, well, I know the economy is bad.  But is finding a place to live and then work near that an option?

TheNessaEmpire

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Re: Bad Car Problems During Personal Financial Crisis
« Reply #15 on: April 27, 2013, 08:07:40 PM »
Mayday Mayday! You've got some serious concerns between your transportation, living situation and your job(s) crunch.

Here's my triage to your crisis:
You car is not worth fixing. its not worth adding duct tape to it. Sell it to any dealer that will give you more than a hundred bucks. It's a money pit and you're sinking in it.

You said you're not comfortable with a bicycle so you should seriously consider a scooter or a beater car on Craigslist that can get you the distances you need for the price or less than what that repair estimate was. Yes, you can buy another mode of transportation for what your repair bill is.

Do the math on if your second job is costing you more than it makes in terms of time, commuting costs, time to look for a better job closer to your new place, time to figure out what you can sell to get some cash. 

It sounds like you're moving and couldn't afford your last place. I hope your new apartment or room rental is less expensive. If you're getting another apartment, get roommates. even if it's a 1 bedroom, stay in the living room and make the extra money renting out the bedroom.

If your regular major expenses (transportation/housing) aren't changed you're not on track to get ahead but to float til the next unexpected personal crisis. Have you  asked to stay at a friends or co-workers place for a few weeks to save up money and buy the beater/scooter since you're out of cash or credit? You might not be as alone as you think you are. You have nothing to lose by asking for help from the people around you, even if you don't know them that well. You need some breathing room to stop bleeding out cash while your life is running on fumes.

Jack

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Re: Bad Car Problems During Personal Financial Crisis
« Reply #16 on: April 27, 2013, 08:21:38 PM »
Coolant getting into the engine suggests either a cracked block, cracked head, or (more likely) a blown head gasket. Either way, it's a big problem.

Since you live so close to your job now, can you avoid moving?

Sidewalks are irrelevant to cycling; you ride in the traffic lanes, not on the sidewalk!

Benpercent

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Re: Bad Car Problems During Personal Financial Crisis
« Reply #17 on: April 27, 2013, 09:15:43 PM »
You said you're not comfortable with a bicycle so you should seriously consider a scooter or a beater car on Craigslist that can get you the distances you need for the price or less than what that repair estimate was. Yes, you can buy another mode of transportation for what your repair bill is.

That scooter sounds interesting. I'll have to look into the legality of it on Texan roads.

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Do the math on if your second job is costing you more than it makes in terms of time, commuting costs, time to look for a better job closer to your new place, time to figure out what you can sell to get some cash.

I was donating blood plasma for cash (until the car problem), and want to apply for bone marrow donations, but haven't found a paying source yet. I sold literally my entire book collection, to my grief, and don't think I have anything else possible to sell except maybe my Kindle.
 
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It sounds like you're moving and couldn't afford your last place. I hope your new apartment or room rental is less expensive. If you're getting another apartment, get roommates. even if it's a 1 bedroom, stay in the living room and make the extra money renting out the bedroom.

Unfortunately, I draw the line at roommates. I'd literally rather be homeless than live with someone. Literally every single person I've lived with has been immensely stressful, from horrific family members to one guy I thought might beat me while I sleep, so I'm going to extremes in saying I'd rather live alone literally no matter what.

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If your regular major expenses (transportation/housing) aren't changed you're not on track to get ahead but to float til the next unexpected personal crisis. Have you  asked to stay at a friends or co-workers place for a few weeks to save up money and buy the beater/scooter since you're out of cash or credit?

Good way to frame the situation. So far I haven't any offers to crash on a couch despite advertising my problems to my friends, and other people, like family members, are again situations I'd literally prefer being homeless in.

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Since you live so close to your job now, can you avoid moving?

I wish, but no. I gave notice of moving, and there's no way to turn back. Plus, I've been seriously delinquent on rent since February, and if they weren't willing to work with me as they have been they would have evicted me months ago. I'm late all the time on the rent, and the late fees pile up insanely. They gave me a special discount so I could get my car looked at or something.

Since the beginning of this year my life has been running into one obstacle after another.

I lost my job in December of last year, and was unemployed for a month. I found a new job at a burger place, but regularly had to skip shifts because of my car, and got my hours hacked by a probably envious boss (who is also probably a massive drug abuser) despite being one of their best and most reliable. Then I managed to get into the primary place I'm at now, which would have financially stabilized me and gotten me on a dandy boat, but then I got fired. The burger place upped my hours for a bit before again hacking them and leaving me on-call. Then I got rehired at the primary job I've been talking about, which again would have stabilized me . . . until all this stuff happens with the car.

Just one thing after another. Emotionally, I'm okay, but lord!
 
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Sidewalks are irrelevant to cycling; you ride in the traffic lanes, not on the sidewalk!

Is that legal and safe? I'd like to read of someone pulling that off successfully as a lifestyle. I'm concerned about my particular streets.

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And I suspect you have big (car) problems, if the coolant is getting into the engine.  I forget details, but it was something in this vein that led to my getting rid of my last vehicle.  If you own the car outright and can get it to Carmax, you can likely get some money for it.  I got $500 for my not-pretty 1998 Taurus with, as I say, similar issues, and 180K miles.

Enticing, so long as I could figure out a wise use for that sum beforehand, like a scooter.

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If your jobs are entry-level food service, well, I know the economy is bad.  But is finding a place to live and then work near that an option?

Possibly. It's possible in this area, at least. I walk to my job right now, but moving will disenable that.

TheNessaEmpire

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Re: Bad Car Problems During Personal Financial Crisis
« Reply #18 on: April 27, 2013, 10:25:03 PM »
Glad you're open to the scooter idea. There are models that top out at like 35mph which is okay for a local road commute and much better than taking a bus commute. 

With some more background info I see where your emotional blocks come from about feeling safe about living with others based on your past experience. This might sound crazy but have you heard about the guy who lived in a 1,500 dollar van while going to grad school debt free? That option would solve both the need for a safe space for you to live alone and being close enough to walk to your job (through strategic parking locations). Off the beaten path but definitely miles above choosing homelessness!

Spork

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Re: Bad Car Problems During Personal Financial Crisis
« Reply #19 on: April 28, 2013, 09:12:44 AM »

Is that legal and safe? I'd like to read of someone pulling that off successfully as a lifestyle. I'm concerned about my particular streets.


(You said "Dallas" ... I am assuming that's what we're talking about.)

It's legal on the streets.  I suspect things like Central Expressway and 635 are not legal.  Safe?  That depends on the streets.  Dallas is a very bike unfriendly city (IMO).

Depending on where you live, Dallas and Plano (and probably others) do have some nice/legal/safe bicycle trails.  White Rock trail goes from White Rock lake up to about 635/Hillcrest.

Plano has a maze of trails.  They're not always the most direct route, and you may have to dodge walkers.  But I used them to get around and avoid major unfriendly streets.

Benpercent

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Re: Bad Car Problems During Personal Financial Crisis
« Reply #20 on: April 28, 2013, 09:52:50 AM »
I'll visit the outdoor store today, which I can walk to, to talk to them about bikes and whatnot, as I could possibly buy mine there.

As for my specific location, I live in Dallas county, but Garland in particular. (So not Dallas city.)

My only other conundrum is living space and being able to transfer my property. If I can find a new place I can cycle to and from work, I'm golden. But how to get my property there? I just drove my car today, and it died in the parking lot just before I could get into a space, so it's possibly done for good now, needing a tow.

Emotionally, I'm warming up to the idea of a bicycle. It'd save me tons on insurance, fuel, oil changes, etc.

grantmeaname

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Re: Bad Car Problems During Personal Financial Crisis
« Reply #21 on: April 28, 2013, 09:56:58 AM »
A bike is appetizing, but I'm not sure if I could make it work on these kind of streets, where sidewalks are sporadic and traffic is heavy.
Riding your bike on the sidewalk is both illegal and much more dangerous than riding on the road, so you shouldn't do it, so you shouldn't care what the sidewalks look like. Heavy traffic is slow traffic, so that's not such a bad thing for cyclists.

Jack

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Re: Bad Car Problems During Personal Financial Crisis
« Reply #22 on: April 28, 2013, 10:05:33 AM »
A bike is appetizing, but I'm not sure if I could make it work on these kind of streets, where sidewalks are sporadic and traffic is heavy.
Riding your bike on the sidewalk is both illegal and much more dangerous than riding on the road, so you shouldn't do it, so you shouldn't care what the sidewalks look like. Heavy traffic is slow traffic, so that's not such a bad thing for cyclists.

More specifically, riding on the sidewalk is bad because you're much more likely to be sideswiped by a car pulling out from a driveway whose driver doesn't expect to see you flying down the sidewalk than you would be to be rear-ended by a car in the lane behind you whose driver is looking straight at your backside.

BlueMR2

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Re: Bad Car Problems During Personal Financial Crisis
« Reply #23 on: April 28, 2013, 11:43:54 AM »
Riding your bike on the sidewalk is both illegal and much more dangerous than riding on the road, so you shouldn't do it, so you shouldn't care what the sidewalks look like. Heavy traffic is slow traffic, so that's not such a bad thing for cyclists.

More specifically, riding on the sidewalk is bad because you're much more likely to be sideswiped by a car pulling out from a driveway whose driver doesn't expect to see you flying down the sidewalk than you would be to be rear-ended by a car in the lane behind you whose driver is looking straight at your backside.

In my area, riding on sidewalks is only illegal where the street speed limit is 25mph and lower.  Higher than that and riding on sidewalks is fine.  Which is good.  Much of the city I live in, it's not safe at all to ride in the street.  Between the decaying streets, the fact that our normal city speed limits range from 40-50mph, the hard curbs, and the smartphone entranced drivers, riding on those streets is a sure way to visit a funeral home as a guest of honor.  Riding on the sidewalk is also hazardous, but it's at least manageable, with the bulk of those hazards that can be overcome by the cyclist, whereas the hazards of riding in the street you have to count on the drivers...

When riding on the sidewalk, it's correct that a driver does not expect to see you come flying down the sidewalk.  That's why you don't go flying down the sidewalk.  Drivers are really pretty good about not mowing down pedestrians on the sidewalk.  Make your appearance comparable to that of a pedestrian at those senstive areas.  Pick a lower speed.  Slowing down to walking speed may be required in some tight spaces with low visibility.  With better visibility and sight distances, you can increase the speed.  Even then, if you're in the 10-15mph range, you're pushing your luck.  Exceeding that and you're almost certainly bound to have a sidewalk cycling accident.

Sidewalk and street cycling are completely different types of riding.  Do either one like you'd do the other, and you'll pay the price.  Know your capabilities, the street conditions, and the traffic conditions to select the proper bike route.  Then, ride appropriately for the route.  If you choose to be one of those stop sign running, 25mph average guys, but ride on the sidewalk, you're probably going to live a short life.  Same for toodling along at 5mph on a gutterless main street in my town.  :-)

olivia

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Re: Bad Car Problems During Personal Financial Crisis
« Reply #24 on: April 28, 2013, 02:22:16 PM »
If you do get a scooter, it's possible to get one derestricted so it will go faster than 30 mph.  My old scooter could get up to 45-50 after I got it derestricted. Depends on your weight, too, but it had a lot more pep once it was derestricted.  Good luck to you!

innkeeper77

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Re: Bad Car Problems During Personal Financial Crisis
« Reply #25 on: April 28, 2013, 06:28:36 PM »
I'll visit the outdoor store today, which I can walk to, to talk to them about bikes and whatnot, as I could possibly buy mine there.

Feel free to talk to them about bikes, but in your situation it does NOT make sens to buy a bike from them! No offense meant, but you certainly do not have the budget to buy a new bike. Also, low end new bikes break extremely quickly, as they use very cheap components. Instead, buy a cheap beater bike off of craigslist. Older bikes will be less likely to break than a $150 walmart special, and they are cheaper to start. If I were looking for a bike and could budget $50 to $200 there is no way I would be looking anywhere besides garage sales and Craigslist. I promise you that you can learn how to do any repairs you might need to do- bikes are simple machines, especially decent ones (non wallmart type) that have metal where needed instead of plastic.. Do you currently know how to ride a bike?

Example bikes in dallas I found in a couple minutes on craigslist- (Of course, tailor your search for your area): - these might be cheap bikes, but they should work..
http://dallas.craigslist.org/ftw/bik/3772656330.html
http://dallas.craigslist.org/mdf/bik/3771475872.html
http://dallas.craigslist.org/dal/bik/3772570555.html

Source: a college student who rides a beater bike that would get less than $20 on craigslist. (Rust everywhere, road rash everywhere, mismatched fork) - but I have kept it up.

Benpercent

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Re: Bad Car Problems During Personal Financial Crisis
« Reply #26 on: April 28, 2013, 10:10:46 PM »
Quick side question: What's a good website for looking for apartments and living spaces?

I remember a really good one that arranged apartments by rating/distance, but I never bookmarked it.

Benpercent

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Re: Bad Car Problems During Personal Financial Crisis
« Reply #27 on: April 29, 2013, 12:30:36 PM »
Chewing on my car problem. My mechanic gave me an interesting opinion that makes me hesitate on the whole "scrap for a bicycle" consideration.

He pointed out to me that, unlike most cars, mine has its water hose go through the "timing cover" of the engine, so if that particular hose is bad, it leaks into the engine. Since most people don't deal with that type of car, they tend to assume it's a cracked engine block, blown head gasket, etc.

Accordingly -- while I did get a number for a salvage place -- he's suggesting that I consider getting a title loan, and having it towed back to him for an investigation. If the problem is still only the cooling system, it might be worth getting that loan to get it fixed again. The especially persuasive point is that since so many of the other components are new/fixed, this could potentially be one of the last major repairs to be made to it, afterward it'll be a sturdy and reliable vehicle again. It'd be a waste to ditch it at THIS point. The tires are new, radiator hoses new, new computerized regulator, fixed transmission, etc.

(I know about the fallacy of the sunk cost, but still. So much repairs done already, why quit when almost finished?)

To lower my cost of living, if possible, I still am keen on a bicycle or scooter -- but perhaps I ought to pay more attention to this car. At the very least, if the cooling system is indeed the last significant problem, with all other things being decent, I'd like to hold onto the vehicle even if in non-functional form, so that a repair could later be made. Salvaging at this point might be throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

There's multiple things I could do from this standpoint. For instance, upon finding a new place in cycling distance, I could have it towed into parking there, and rely entirely on cycling to and from places, for the most part, to build up capital. The suspension of insurance, fuel purchases, and so on would be a good financial boon. Or I could still get it fixed, use it to transfer my stuff to a new place and whatnot, and still rely upon cycling as much as possible otherwise.

Selling it to a "yard" is still an open consideration, but it's the most extreme last-ditch option, so I'd like to consider all other possibilities first before resorting to that.

For now, some more chewing needs to be done. At the very least, I don't think it would hurt to get it looked over again for that loan consideration, because if that fails I only have a small towing fee to pay.

Then again, I still worry because I still drove the car in damaged condition prior, getting it to overheat rather significantly. Last time it simply died in the parking lot, making me push it into a parking spot. Plus, a spinning component sounds like a house fan wapping a cardboard cover, so hopefully that's not an indication of something new to be concerned about.

Oh well. I don't hate the car. It may seem like a junk heap from my descriptions, but it really took about a good seven years for the problems to build up to this. Otherwise it's been reliable. We'll see.

TheNessaEmpire

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Re: Bad Car Problems During Personal Financial Crisis
« Reply #28 on: April 29, 2013, 05:39:59 PM »
Quote
he's suggesting that I consider getting a title loan, and having it towed back to him for an investigation. If the problem is still only the cooling system, it might be worth getting that loan to get it fixed again.

Nooooooo!! Under no circumstances is getting a title loan okay. Do you know what kind of interest you'd be paying? Realize the mechanic is motivated to GET PAID. You would be the sukka with crazy high loan terms so that he gets paid. You'd get maybe 500 dollars and you'd pay 1200 dollars for it plus they are big on late fees and if you don't pay it you lose your car! Ouch. 

The car may be an emotional anchor for you but your car can be had for 2000 bucks on CL. After all you've already spent getting it fixed with new tires and so on, don't you see you're already in the hole? Stop digging.

Maybe you're not ready to let go of the car at this point but your life is in desperate need of not having a money pit draining the little money you do have.  Getting a bike on CL and letting the Intrepid sit would be much lighter on your wallet and heart.

Spork

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Re: Bad Car Problems During Personal Financial Crisis
« Reply #29 on: April 29, 2013, 06:19:51 PM »
Quote
he's suggesting that I consider getting a title loan, and having it towed back to him for an investigation. If the problem is still only the cooling system, it might be worth getting that loan to get it fixed again.

Nooooooo!! Under no circumstances is getting a title loan okay.


That was my thought exactly.  In fact, I just stopped reading there and couldn't read further.  Sorry, not being mean, but... it was a hill that I couldn't get over.


Benpercent

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Re: Bad Car Problems During Personal Financial Crisis
« Reply #30 on: April 30, 2013, 12:43:12 PM »
Let's be careful now and stay civilized. I know some considerations are uncomfortable, but hopefully we're not verging on hostility.

I know a title loan seems like a really bad idea, but I'm still chewing on it since getting rid of an otherwise reliable car seems too extreme to leap to quickly. I'm still open to the consideration, but it's still a method requiring patient consideration, regardless of how dire the circumstance.

However dark it may seem, I still like the idea of a car since, hey, I'd be able to live in it in case I do become homeless. This has been an odd year of misfortunes for me. While I don't believe a consistent trend of bad luck if following me, it does feel like I'm Gladstone Gander in reverse, for the time being. (If you get the Donald Duck comics reference.)

I looked at the Craigslist listing for the Dodge car listed, and even at a cheap 2k for the whole vehicle it's still the case that the required repair right now is less than that.

The biggest consideration is that, even if for the amount of the repair I could put a down-payment for another vehicle, why not instead just get the current one fixed if, according to the mechanic's inspection, this may be the last major problem to fix before the car is in robust shape for a long-time out? It has new radiator hoses, belts, a fixed transmission, etc. etc. etc.

At the very, very least I think I'd like to hold onto the body, for even if I totally convert to biking I'd like to have it around for future, potential repairs.

On the making-money side, I'm starting to think it might be much better for me to have to car. Bike or not, the multitude of sources of income go up if I have it. While the burger place job is irresponsible, they'd still give me worthwhile income if I stuck it out, and in addition I'd be able to donate blood plasma again, which pays a surprisingly decent amount for such brief donations times. I'd also be able to take in future considerations such as donating bone marrow for a university or the likes.

Plus, the apartment complex I really want to move to requires driving. Rent is mega-affordable, and the area plus the ratings suggest it's a decent and safe place to live, so I'd have to start from scratch in searching if I couldn't take that opportunity.

The mechanic I pursue gives evidence of being trustworthy, and is especially worthwhile since even as a brand-new costumer he's allowed me to use numerous promissory notes (most paid off) to get some needed repairs. He's recommending the title loan company, and states that it'd be like 13-15% interest, and he's apparently heard of some companies doing a bizarre 200% interest.

I know the risks, but I'm thinking them perhaps worthwhile.

I'm not committing myself to them yet, but I think I will at least get my car towed to him for another look-at, to get another assessment of what's going on.

My conception of the scenario would be to get the car fixed, move, buy a bike, and drive only when necessary, biking as much as I can discipline myself to.

Thinking, thinking, thinking . . . 

Benpercent

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Re: Bad Car Problems During Personal Financial Crisis
« Reply #31 on: May 03, 2013, 08:51:20 AM »
Okay, I went forward with the title loan. Many may disapprove, but I think it has more benefits than negatives. The interest rate is okay, and I understand how it works.

Here's my reasoning:

Car > Get fixed: May work like brand new (and cheaper to fix than buy used car) > also a backup shelter in case of homeless > will get me to a super-cheap apartment I have in mind > and will enable me to have three incomes (two jobs plus donating plasma) or more.

Bicycle > One job > and pretty much being up the river regarding a living space. No couches to crash on, and my moving date is May 10th.

I'll be so darned close one of my jobs that I'll strongly consider getting a beater bicycle for that to minimize car usage.

Otherwise, I think having a car will allow me to have a lower cost of living given all these considerations. After that, time to pick at this website some more, surely.

I think this will finally put me in the positive, and get rid of my financial woes in short-order.

Thanks for the replies everyone.

grantmeaname

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Re: Bad Car Problems During Personal Financial Crisis
« Reply #32 on: May 03, 2013, 01:53:26 PM »
Many may disapprove
More like "literally everyone in the thread may disapprove". Still, if you've made up your mind, best of luck getting through everything and getting your financial feet back under you!

Benpercent

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Re: Bad Car Problems During Personal Financial Crisis
« Reply #33 on: May 07, 2013, 12:10:06 PM »
Still haven't my car back yet. I hope people will find it in their hearts to forgive me and let me back into the family, but hopefully one measure I've decided to take shall be partial flowers and chocolate: I've decided to live out of my car for a couple months.

I'm inspired by the above posted article about a student living out of his van in order to save on grad school and graduate without debt. Sounds difficult, yet doable, and then effortless once it becomes a habit.

I want to do this because I'm disappointed that I resolved to pay off all my debt LAST year, and yet almost halfway through this *following* year I'm still *increasing* it. It's small for one person my age -- about $10k, which can be still paid off this year -- but dauntingly frustrating for how long it's lingered. I want to do this frugal car-living so I can get the darned teeth out of it and get a new apartment with a better credit score and black ink.

Most of the difficulties have been solved without problem. Healthy food, shaving, bathing, and all that. The only thing I need to work out is a practical regiment of parking.