Sunday, 19 September 2010

Wot price independence



What is a girl to do?

I have been pondering over the value of keeping my car, the costs of running it, compounded with fixing it when it gets ill, can be overwhelming. But this would mean l would rattle around town like a bag lady, weighed down by my wares and my woes. I could let the train take the strain on visits to Kent and on days out etc, no worries there, time to read, listen and think. But then l wouldn't be able to run Mum around and visit friends without planning the trip to the enth degree, which takes the fun and enjoyment out of it.

I do value my new found singledom independence greatly. I am my own woman. Mine own. The car allows me choices in the moment and adds to a feeling of control. Control. Yeah l like that. Mine own.

A few months ago whilst driving in town, the gear stick went limp in my hand (steady), then fell horizontally to the carpet. I felt the anger of the clutch and drove Miss Daisy style, in the one gear l could find to the dealership. My frustration was palpable as indeed was my upset. He must have remembered me, I was quoted £195 to fix it, I had no choice as the car would not move one further inch. Then the service guy told me he could do it for £75. I was so grateful (not too grateful) and paid up feeling so relieved.

So now, the car had a service in July. I was told by the same guy that at 8 years old or 75K miles, the car would need a cam belt fitted? wtf is that! £395 all in. As the look of terror froze on my face and a teardrop escaped he tapped his keyboard and turned the monitor to show me he had revised the cost of £195  for 4 hours workbecause he said, ' The car is 8 years old and you are a regular customer, but if the belt goes you will be introuble so dont leave it too long'. He also told me it wouldn't need doing for a couple of months, so l went away concoting my plan of action to get this fitted soon.

This week I was chatting with some male colleagues about cars, mechanics etc ....as one does! They thought I was may have been taken advantage of and they recommended another garage. Larry was never a handy DIY, savvy type around the home, garden or car so I thought I was continuing in the best vein. If you want a job done do it yourself Saz. Me. Myself. I.  I can do this, that and the other.

Plus ça change (plus c'est la même chose).
saying ,
The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Used when a change does not result in an improvement in a situation

I phoned the recommended garage, spoke of  what needed doing to the car and guess what! It is only a 2 hour job max, cam belt deosn't need changing until 10 years or 85K miles. They told me not to bother!
So I will keep the car, maintain it and move my custom to the other garage.

Now l can stop worrying! Well... that is the theory!


Sara

17 comments:

  1. I always feel like I've been taken advantage of when I take my car to the garage, I'm not a mechanic and they know it :-)

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  2. I do believe dealerships charge way more than is necessary, especially to women. I found a reputable garage mechanic in my village and have been "using" him lately. Thoughts have been going around in my head about purchasing a new car because mine is beginning to cost more to maintain than its worth, but I love this car - the best one I've ever owned - and really don't want to part with it. Decision not made yet, but leaning towards keeping it. Glad you found someone good to take care of yours.

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  3. It's never easy to give up a car, because in the modern world the car is definitely linked to our independence. I know I would hate to have to give up mine. Right now my beloved sister-in-law in Essex is faced with a dilemma similar to yours. Try to keep the old car running, replace it, or give it up all together.

    I do have a friend who gave up her car, and it seems to work for her, though I don't know if it would work for me or for you. She lives in a flat where there's no parking anyway, and decided a car was too much of a hassle. For the past few years, she has relied on taxis, buses, and trains, and rented a car occasionally when she want to go to spend a few weeks near her mother who is now in a care home. That way, she can continue to take her mother to lunch and so on. But her choice may not work for you -- or for me. Only you can decided.

    Good luck with whatever choice you may. We will be waiting to read about your decision. You're a very brave lady, and I'm sure everything will work out fine in the end.

    Take care and God bless, Canadian Chickadee

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  4. It's never easy to give up a car, because in the modern world the car is definitely linked to our independence. I know I would hate to have to give up mine. Right now my beloved sister-in-law in Essex is faced with a dilemma similar to yours. Try to keep the old car running, replace it, or give it up all together.

    I do have a friend who gave up her car, and it seems to work for her, though I don't know if it would work for me or for you. She lives in a flat where there's no parking anyway, and decided a car was too much of a hassle. For the past few years, she has relied on taxis, buses, and trains, and rented a car occasionally when she want to go to spend a few weeks near her mother who is now in a care home. That way, she can continue to take her mother to lunch and so on. But her choice may not work for you -- or for me. Only you can decided.

    Good luck with whatever choice you may. We will be waiting to read about your decision. You're a very brave lady, and I'm sure everything will work out fine in the end.

    Take care and God bless, Canadian Chickadee

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  5. My daughter has been taken advantage of too since she has been on her own.
    It pays to have a man go with you..... any man will do. (Neighbour, friend relative..... whoever you can borrow.)

    I detest this and it doesn't just stop at cars.... anything to do with house maintenance is the same.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

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  6. It is a sad fact Saratouts, then omly a man has respect from a Garage mechanic. Glad it is sorted and love the new spunky tone. XX

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  7. And btw...love the new pic on your profile...send me one.

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  8. Sara
    the trouble with independence is it usually ends up thieving our independence with its own shackles.
    tricky business
    ~rick

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  9. Horrible that there are people out there just waiting to take advantage :-(

    I did have a cam belt go on me once, it was a company car so it was no matter cost wise, it was inconvenient though as the car just stopped on a big roundabout!! However it had been making strange noises for weeks before hand that I had ignored, so just listen out and you'll know if you need one anytime soon x

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  10. As someone who had to stop driving because of double vision I would say hang on to your car as long as you can, Saz. Being without one is so restricting.

    Jo reckons that garage blokes pick on women because they don't know what the technical words mean. I'm not so sure about that - I knew some of the technical words but I still felt I was being cheated most of the time. I guess garage mechanics are the modern day equivalent of the miller - who was always thought to be corrupt whether he was or not.

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  11. I really don't know how people afford to run a car - but I guess you just do, don't you?

    I cycle everywhere - I get punctures (£2.99) need new tyres each year (£25), the odd new set of gears and chain (£75). When things really start to fall apart I buy a new bike (£400).

    Not sure what I will do when I can't cycle any more :-(

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  12. do they have the car club thing where you are? I've seen ads - you pay a yearly membership (not sure how much) then like a tenner for any day you use a car. You phone up and they tell you the nearest - ... how'd you get the key? Honest I've no idea how it works but may be have a search around.

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  13. Not everyone is an expert when it comes to cars and these mechanics prey on that. I hate taking my car in for a service or MOT as I know they are always going to find something to bump up the price and I am too ignorant to query it.

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  14. GAH! My late parents took their car to a garage I always suspected was taking advantage .. right before Dad passed they had the car checked and the garage owner said it needed a new battery ... they replaced it .. turned out it didnt need a new battery and the thief of a garage owner never did actually replace it, he just charged Dad for the new battery and time for installing it and left the old one in!!!!!!!!!!

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  15. Always best to get a second opinion on any major operation!

    MY WIFE's mother once took a class in auto repair just so she would never be victimized by any mechanics who took her for an easy mark just because she was a woman. If you have the time, a basic education in any subject is a good investment, and this one could be doubly so!

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  16. Oh Sara, so sorry, but so glad that you've leapped over the hurdle, and found a trustworthy garage. Well done!

    I'm not sure how you should be, with car ou sans... If you then had to hire a car for the longer journeys, three or so times a year, for example, if you gave yours up. It's best to try to work it out, pound for pound.

    Grizz is now in his digs after some wobbles... It's been a tough weekend. I wish you contentment and some settled weather to come, ma belle xox

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  17. Good for you. Keep up the independent-minded thing.
    I was told last year that my car needed the cam-belt replacing. Poufff. Bolleaux. It doesn't have a cam-belt. It has a chain which is a life-time fitting. And I took a cruel pleasure in watching the bloke in the garage cringe when I explained that to him!

    Mad x

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Thanks for stopping by!

Take the weight of your feet, draw up a chair and pour yourself a cuppa. Leave your troubles at the door and together we shall ride out the storms.
I will walk a while in your shoes...

Saz x