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The Car That Guzzles Money.

by J. Money on Monday, June 21, 2010

new cadillacIt’s just not my week in car world.

You know how people say things happen in threes?  Well, it seems to be true with my not-so-pimpin’ Caddy these days. I love it to death, but sometimes it can really frustrate me.  Is that what having kids is like? ;)

The wrath of the money guzzler:

1)  I got a $40 speeding ticket. I know, not my car’s fault but I’m still blaming it! ;)  Luckily it wasn’t a “real” speeding ticket though, in that one of those secret parked vans caught me on tape (literally, they sent me the pics!). Unluckily, however, it was in my own neighborhood which means I now get nervous every time I leave and come home.  I guess my “under 15 miles over” theory doesn’t hold anymore…and that I also don’t listen to my own advice on breaking the law!

2)  My registration renewal is now due ($128). Again, not any fault of my Caddy’s of course but it still sucks. Especially when you hear the next nonsense I’m about to spill…

3)  We failed the emissions inspection! ($450+?). This one blows the most  First, because it means I have to pay a mechanic to find out WHERE the problem is exactly, and second because I then have to pay for it to be FIXED!  If it can even be fixed! (at almost 20 years old, my ride’s starting to near retirement) Luckily, however, once you hit $X amount in mechanic fees the great state of Maryland can sometimes (always?) grant you a waiver.  That way you don’t dish out $2,000 for a car that’s barely even worth it! On the down side, that $X amount of money comes to $450 bucks…good thing we don’t have car payments!

So right now I pretty much hate owning a car ;) I wish I could say I don’t need one or that getting a new car would fix all of this, but the truth is there’s always going to be something.  Which is yet another reason why keeping an emergency fund filled up is smart! Dipping into our $10k would be much less stressful than having to come up with it all on the fly. But we’ll see what happens.

For now, we’re just gonna brace for the worst and hope everything gets fixed and/or waived for no more than $450 (we’re still waiting on the results).  I’ll keep ya posted! And I hope your cars are in much better shape than mine ;) This stuff is no fun…


{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Everyday Tips June 21, 2010 at 8:53 am

Oh, keep loving your Caddy. Sure, there are months that unexpected expenses come up. But do you appreciate her (or him?) during the months the car performs flawlessly? During those months, pat the car on the hood and say ‘thank you, I am so glad I don’t have a car payment’. :)

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2 Jeff @ sustainablelifeblog June 21, 2010 at 9:25 am

I dont know much about what you’ve done about your emissions, but there are certain tricks you can do to make it easier on your old car to pass. You can take it out for a pretty big spin (do some of that speeding you seem to enjoy ;) ) to get your car nice & warm, and have the oil changed before you get to the emissions place.
Keeping the car warm definitely helps, and some say buying premium gas will help because it’s slightly cleaner.

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3 Impulse Magazine June 21, 2010 at 9:30 am

Nowadays everyone wants to have the flashy car, but it is costing them tons of gas money

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4 Karmella June 21, 2010 at 10:29 am

I don’t know where I heard this, although I know that at the time I verified it (this was maybe 2 years ago?) and it’s been true in practice for me (knock on wood)-

in DC it’s 10 miles or over, so for example 59 in a 50 should avoid the van photos (such BS!) – well, assuming their equipment works right, that MD is the same as DC, etc

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5 Young Mogul June 21, 2010 at 11:32 am

Are you serious, $128 to renew a car registration????!!!!! I only pay $20 a year. What in the world?!

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6 Christine June 21, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Bummer!!! All that really sucks, but at least you have your bad luck over, if you believe things come in three’s! Never heard of vans that secretly ticket people…crazy!

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7 Khaleef @ KNS Financial June 21, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Like you said, it’s great to have a fully funded emergency account when things like this come up!

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8 Favor June 21, 2010 at 5:14 pm

128 is a blessing for a registration renewal…mine is a ton more!

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9 J. Money June 21, 2010 at 5:17 pm

@Everyday Tips – Haha…I like the way you think! I don’t, actually, do that but consider it a deal ;) She’s been workin’ smoothly for a few months now!
@Jeff @ sustainablelifeblog – Does that stuff really work? I’d try everything at this point :) My fear is that the catalytic converter is gone. It passed 2 years ago so not sure why it’s not now… should be getting that call anytime tho!
@Impulse Magazine – Yeah, same with old beat down cars ;) My caddy gets a silky 13 miles per hour, baby.
@Karmella – Interesting. Considering I’ve been going under 15 all these years and this is the FIRST time I’ve got caught, I would say your nugget of info there is correct. I doubt I’d have triggered it at 9 over…unless it’s a neighborhood thing? Def. not on the highway though.
@Young Mogul – What? You DO? Are you in another country? haha….actually, I do kinda recall that our registrations here in MD are a bit more expensive. I think it’s cuz titles and tags are cheap as balls (at least from what I remember)…it was like the opposite of Virginia.
@Christine – Hah! You’re right on that one, I def. hit my 3. Let’s hope it ends! If not I’m gonna get even MORE tempted to pick up that Benz I’ve been eying ;)
@Khaleef @ KNS Financial – Yup! The old me would have been screwed.
@Favor – Really? How much?! Young Mogul up there thinks $128 is crazy high! Would be interesting to see where you two live :)

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10 Jazz June 21, 2010 at 6:40 pm

cant you take it to like autozone , and they can hook it up to their system to tell you exactly what sensor is acting up in you car . Its a free service where I live

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11 J. Money June 21, 2010 at 9:17 pm

What? Really? That would have been nice to know! :) Although something tells me my car is in or some trouble…will keep y’all updated, will know the verdict tomorrow. (I’m scared!)

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12 ken June 21, 2010 at 10:34 pm

I don’t see how the registration should even me a problem. Since you know it is coming you should be ready for it. A little over $10 bucks a month into a car maintenance fund kills that problem.

It sucks about the ticket and emissions though

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13 J. Money June 22, 2010 at 11:00 am

Yeah, it’s not really a problem per se, it’s just annoying. You’re right though – having a side maintenance fund would def. keep me more sane.

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14 Kevin I June 22, 2010 at 3:23 pm

I have a line item in my budget for “The Man”. Car registrations fall into that and so do speeding tickets. I had never had a speeding ticket in my life, my wife hadn’t either, worst I got was a written warning many years back. But then our state had a budget shortfall and my wife and I were pulled over FOUR TIMES in one week between the two of us. She got warnings, I got tickets. They’d nab me right where the speed limit dropped while I was doing 5 over the original limit and slowing down for the new one. It sucked. Old financial me would have panicked. New financial me was thankful for the budget item and the emergency fund!

This may be a line of bs I feel for (totally possible!) or vary state to state, but I was told that when you get your car inspected at a private place they aren’t required to run all the same checks as the public inspection stations (on the first run, if you fail and then take it to them they have to run you for what you failed on). I was told that after failing the public inspection a bunch one year for emissions related stuff. The private inspection set me back about $60 bucks or so though (Also out of “The Man” budget) this year when I was nervous the car was going to fail. Could be a trick but if it isn’t I’d rather pay the $60 some bucks then chase down a huge repair.

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15 J. Money June 23, 2010 at 1:01 am

WOW. 4 Tickets all in a row like that? Freaky man….can’t say I’ve ever experienced that one! But it does remind me of a time when my brother once got arrested for “driving drunk.” Only he had never even drove off the parking lot! Or even a foot for that matter. He WAS drunk, but he knew better not to drive so he decided to sleep it off in the car until the morning. But since it was winter, he had to turn on the car to get the heat going and a good 5 mins after that the cops started knocking on his door and questioning him. 2 hours later he was in the drunk tank. Apparently if you have the keys in the ignition you can get nailed for all sorts of things – so be aware! :)

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16 Aury (Thunderdrake) June 23, 2010 at 4:55 pm

Vehicles. They terrify me. I mean… If the danger aspect doesn’t catch my interest, how big of a liability they can be most certainly will!

Most people need them though. For commuting, which is explainable. I have doubts if I could see myself picking up a car though. :P

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17 J. Money June 25, 2010 at 3:37 pm

You live downtown somewhere? When I was in NYC I was totally fine without a car for a couple of years. But here in DC I needz one.

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