Tuesday, July 29, 2014

My Money Pit Car

I am kind of annoyed with my car right now. I have a 2004 Toyota Corolla that I have had for the past 8 years. We got it the summer after my freshman year of college and it only had 24,000 miles on it (had just come off a lease). I loved it. Great on gas (31 miles to the gallon) and reliable. I was suppose to inherit the monthly payments for it once I graduated college but as my graduation gift, my mom paid it off for me. Nice mother!! :) I was originally suppose to get my brother Mark's old Corolla except my brother Brian totaled it one day going back to school. So I ended up with the better end of the deal, getting a newer car.

I was pretty lucky...I only had to pay gas myself, oil changes, registration fees, etc. There was only two times it had pretty bad damage to itself. Once when it was parked in the grocery store lot in town, a 93 year old man had a brain aneurysm that burst and he hit one car, hit the thing that holds the shopping carts, turned around, hit a Ford Explorer that went flying into my car and took off. They got him but the poor man didn't know what was going on.After all the work done on that car, I had to get more work done two years ago when I had my first accident and got side-swiped. 

Lately though, I feel like my car is becoming a money pit. In December, I spent over $800 on my car. Between new ball joints, an oil change, new brakes and all this other stuff, I was ready to just puke at the thought of how much $$$ I was spending. And yes, I get that it takes $$ to maintain a car. My mechanic is my brother's neighbor so it's a nice service to drop your car off at his house and he brings it back from his shop to your house. He told me a few other things I was going to have to have done later on.

Last month, my car had a vibration feel that it shook around 60mph. I had to get an oil change and inspection done this month so I also had him do the new struts I needed. $600+ later, I was set. A week after, my car starts SCREECHING when I make left turns. At first, I thought I was going nuts because I worry about every sound my car makes. I also thought it was odd it was only when I was making LEFT turns. Then this fell off (and I have no freaking clue what it is!!)

What the heck is that?! Tonight I was at the stop sign around the corner from my house and it screeched very loudly. It's okay when I am driving but I am wondering if its my brakes, the power steering (which is what people are saying online but that's just what came up in Google.....I wouldn't trust it based on Google reviews) or that thing in the picture above. 

I sent my mechanic a text message to see if he can take a look at my car tomorrow or Thursday or even Friday. Luckily my brother is working tomorrow night and Thursday night at the same time as I am so I can go with him (ironically he has to have his dropped off to have some work done too). The mechanic hasn't answered me back so I am going to try him again in the morning. 

But this makes me wonder...is it worth it to keep pouring $$ into the car if I keep having all these problems arise? Everyone says Toyotas are built to last (I swear my mom's Camry had 200,000 miles on it before she got her 2014 in October and her old one was a 2002) but if I am spending almost $2000 in a calendar year to fix huge problems, maybe I should just BUY a new car! I know I have the credit that I could get a good loan but this is a big decision I would have to make. Hopefully my mechanic can look at it tomorrow because I can't keep driving around with it making the noise.


  1. Hoping the noise goes away! In my experience, it always does as soon as the mechanic takes the car for a spin, ha!

  2. I'd start researching newer Toyotas…we have 2 Toyotas now, my mom has one, and I had one when I was in college. My first one, a 1999 Corolla was totaled after I'd only had it for a year and then I had a Nissan Altima, which did the job just fine until I moved to Alaska and then we eventually bought a Hyundai Sonata (highly recommend!) but after 4 years of driving it around Alaska, we upgraded to a Toyota Rav 4. Long story, short: I'd stick with foreign cars, but once you're pouring more money in than is realistic, especially if it's 10 years old, it really is becoming a money pit.

  3. If you can salvage your car, then why not? I guess it's a quicker save if you simply ditch it get a new one, but repair is a fine opportunity for an overhaul, as well as re-assessment, where you might see more merits from your vehicle that you didn't see before. So why not give it another shot. Kudos!

    Jaime Mcgee @ Michael's Auto Body