April 20, 2005

Blue car gives car blues

I am feeling blue after picking up the car from the mechanic this afternoon. The picking up the car part went just fine, the car works really well. The mechanic replaced the master and slave cylinders, a bearing and the clutch. No, the part that got me down was the bill. Am I doing the right thing? The concept was to save money for more important things like the kids by driving a low cost, older but dependable automobile. What I need is an actuarial table to tell me how much you should be willing to pay to fix your car, and when the best plan is to cut your losses and buy a new one. Anyway, the cost of the repairs on our 1990 Saab 900S with turbo (low mileage, driven by a retiree, true story) was a little over a third of what we paid for it.

I have never owned a car less than 10 years old-- the newest car I've had was a 1976 Nova I bought from my brother in 1987. That car also had clutch problems. It had a 'three on the tree' manual transmission but the linkages didn't work so well, so every once in a while you'd be under the false impression that you'd just changed the gear from reverse to first.

I read in the newspaper that men between the ages of 32 and 45 are the most likely to think that their auto mechanic is cheating them.


At April 23, 2005 2:34 PM , Anonymous Tim said...

Is $350.00 to replace a side mirror and tighten some bolts in the door reasonable? That is what I just paid at the Mazda dealership. Click and Clack say its almost always cheaper to repair older cars than to buy new ones. My opinion after working in a car shop for a short time is that those guys earn every cent, even the ones they have to steal from you.

An actuarial table you describe would be tough to come up with. you would need one for every variety of car.

At April 23, 2005 3:22 PM , Blogger Matt_J said...

Holy smokes! No way, that's too much but at least it made me feel better about my clutch.
OK, here's the search list:
1) Actuarial table for cars
2) A free program that turns your PC into a synthesizer-- type on the keyboard and out comes music


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