During the entire month of January, when Mr. MMM was across the country for work, I was at home filling his passenger side, rear tire up with air once a week. It had a nail in it, but I didn’t have time to deal with it with everything else I was taking care of during his absence. Ergo, I made sure to drive his car down to our local gas station every Saturday to pump in some glorious FREE air. But alas, every incredibly annoying act must come to an inevitable end. Conveniently, there is a local car garage right up the street from my place of employment. I recently drove it on in and told them I needed a tire repair. And then it happened.
I am pretty sure you can guess what I’m going to say. The mechanic met me in the lobby after examining the car and said, “Miss, I can plug it; but those tires are shot.” Now, I was definitely NOT planning on replacing tires that fine day. I stood there and went over my options.
- I could have him go ahead and just plug the tire and be on my merry way.
- I could have him replace just one tire.
- I could have him replace 2 tires and put the new ones in the front.
- I could bite the bullet and opt for replacing all 4 tires.
Hmm…what to do, I thought. I knew the tires were shot when I arrived at the shop. I was just hoping we could get along until inspection. No go. What I didn’t expect was such a blatant account of the shot-ness of the tires. It was just so in-my-face that I felt I couldn’t ignore it. There were 2 reasons I couldn’t ignore it.
1. I trust this garage and this particular mechanic.
2. The sole reason for us having this small, 4-wheel drive vehicle is to have a reliable car we can use during the winter months. Note: It is winter months.
At that moment, repairing the tire seemed like the silliest of all options. Replacing just 1 tire came in at a close second – since it would wear unevenly. My best options were either replacing 2 tires and having the new ones put on the front, or biting the bullet and having all 4 tires installed.
I went with the latter of the options. After all, I was grappling with my family’s safety.
Oh, the horror. The cost for 4 new tires with 70k mile tread was quoted to be $113/each/installed. Eek. I did not plan on spending $113/each/installed when I drove into the shop only minutes earlier. But, this is what you deal with when you own and operate motor vehicles. I went ahead and agreed to it.
Then IT happened again! The mechanic came back out to greet me and said, “Miss, I hate to tell you this but, your rear brake pads should really be replaced, too.” Unfortunately, it’s hard to argue or negotiate delaying the replacement of tires or brake pads. Both impose a serious safety risk. And let’s face it, nothing is worth more than the safety of those you love. Nothing. I agreed to also have the brake pads replaced. That would be another $150, thank you.
A few hours later, the car was ready for pick-up and payment. I walked right in and whipped out our debit card to the tune of $641. Yep. I drove in for a tire repair that probably would’ve cost me somewhere south of $20, and I walked out paying the better part of $1,000. Wow. Just, wow. Thankfully, we have funds set aside for situations just like this one. I paid cash and didn’t bat an eye.
This very thing happened just last month with one of our Mad Money Pups. We had an unexpected vet visit we needed to pay for at a moment’s notice. And again, we had the cash to cover it.
Being able to save enough money to cover unexpected repairs and maintenance is a big part of car ownership. It’s not always just about covering the monthly payment. This is something that needs to be considered when purchasing a new or new-to-you car. Cars are typically money pits unless, of course, you’re buying cars that appreciate in value. But since you’re reading this personal finance blog that focuses on frugality, I’m guess you might not be in that category. No worries, since you’re reading this personal finance blog, you actually might get there! Eventually. The beauty of having extra money for unexpected stuff ensures you will have a lack of concern when a mini emergency, like new tires, does strike.
The Lack Of Concern
Am I sweating? Do you see me sweating? Of course you don’t see me sweating, I’m behind a computer for goodness sake. But no, I am not and I was not sweating. I had absolutely zero concern when the mechanic asked for $641. It was money I was happy to pay for the good of my family. And, let’s not forget, by us having good tires and good brakes, I’m also keeping all you people safe out there, too! You’re welcome :)
What are your thoughts? Did I do the right thing? Are you prepared to handle an out-of-the-blue car repair emergency that could cost upwards of $1,000? How do you handle emergency savings and expenses such as these?
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