Life Happens: The Transmission Edition

You may have caught in yesterday's post that I absorbed a major expense like the transmission going on my GMC truck.  Well, that happened this month.

So here is the story.

I bought this truck from my brother nearly seven years ago.  He had purchased it new.  Early on, I noticed that the automatic transmission would shift hard whenever I drove the truck over long distances.  Once it had cooled, it would go back to shiftly nice and smooth.

So way back in 2002, I took it in to my trusted car repair guy, and he said that I should just drive it until it broke.

So I did.  It took nearly seven years for it to fail.  I won that gamble!

I took it in to my new trusted car repair guy, and he diagnosed it as "Dead On Arrival".  Upon opening the transmission, he could not believe that I was able to even put the car in reverse.

The cost?  $1,953.35.  That included replacing a broken door handle, an oil change, and some other small stuff.

Man, am I glad I have a savings account for just this sort of stuff!  In the old days, I would have been pulling out the credit card.

Maybe I should ask you the question.  Do you have money saved up for a car repair?

I am not a prophet, but I can guarantee you that your car WILL break down.  It may be today.  It may be ten years from now.  But something is going to break.  When it does, will it crush your finances or will it just be an annoyance that you have saved for? 

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  1. Saving Freak on April 22, 2008 at 5:06 am

    We are getting close to the $3k mark in our car fund. We also have our emergency fund ($13k) if we ever needed to spend more than what is in the car fund. This is very comforting to us, especially my wife.

  2. BILLIE JO HARRIS on April 22, 2008 at 5:17 am

    Good morning!

    My husband and I own a 545I BMW that I drove to work each day. We enjoy this car and appreciate our blessing from the LORD.

    We have anticipated expensive repairs for this car. Each month we set aside money in our household budget to take care of routine maintenance and unexpected repairs.

    Thank you and may God richly bless each of you.

  3. Mark on April 22, 2008 at 9:43 am

    Saving for car repairs has saved me a few heart attacks in the last couple of years.

  4. Jennifer on April 22, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    Actually something like this just happened to us. We have had a broke down car for 9 months and had been saving to get it fixed. When we had the ballpark amount ($1100) for repairs saved, off it went to the shop, only to be told its dead. Its not worth the amount to fix it (more than we were originally told) So we decided to continue to have one car and save to buy a “new to us” car. Well 5 days after the junk the car news .. our van broke down. UMM no car is a problem, and the soonest any shop we called could get to it was 2 weeks, so off we went in search of a car .. for $1039 we got just that. So now when we build the find back up a little .. we can fix the van and have 2 running cars again .. yeah for NOT impluse buying on credit!

  5. Todd Colucy on April 22, 2008 at 1:14 pm


    I feel your pain. I just put $1,400 into my 1998 Turbo diesel VW Beetle. My blog post on this reads a lot like yours. Having an emergency fund kept my car “emergency” from also being a financial emergency.

    My 1998 VW has been paid for for years. So the way I look at it, my car repair is much cheaper than a month after month car payment.


  6. chris on April 22, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    Everything always works better with a plan. We know the car gremlins are always lurking around the corner, so not only do we have 6 months of an emergency fund, we also save for auto repairs.

    The fund has come in handy, but it’s now in rebuild mode. Actually it’s balance has been sad. Hopefully the gremlins have been fed for the time being and won’t be visiting us for a while.

    Yes, the repair fund has made a vehicle repair no longer an financial emergency, but I got to tell you, it’s not fun depleting the repair fund!

  7. Jaime on April 22, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    Last month, we paid off our van. So, what do we do with the money we were putting toward our loan? We’re saving it up for either a newer car someday when this one dies or for any repairs that might be needed in the future.

    My dad has always said that as long as the amount you’re paying in repairs is less than a car note, you’re still better off. And, paying for a car with money you’ve saved up would be better than a car note, too.

  8. danielle on April 24, 2008 at 6:17 am

    my husband and i are just recently trying to get on the right track. when your book was available via amazon again, i purchased it…should be here monday.

    thanks for posting about the car…that is a great example of why it is important to save. my husband feels that saving is weird because you should be able to use all the money you make/have for whatever you want. i see his perspective (kind of). this is a great argument for practical saving! if we can accomplish that, hopefully he’ll be up for saving more down the road.

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