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Author Topic: Car trouble
TMBWITW,PB

Member # 1734

Member Rated:
5
Icon 2 posted March 14, 2005 13:05      Profile for TMBWITW,PB     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
*Sigh* After a lovely drive out to Orinda past the beautiful San Pablo Dam, our car broke down on the way home. Now granted, it is better that it broke down yesterday on a small road by some nice houses relatively close to home than if it happened out in Orinda or while Josh was driving home from work on the freeway. Really, it was the best possible time and place for a breakdown to happen, but it still sucks. Driving up a hill it felt like the car ran out of gas even though we still have 3/4 of a tank. We pulled over and popped the hood to see if there was anything obviously wrong. First of all, there was massive corrosion on the battery terminals. The last time I got my oil changed they did tell me to clean the terminals, I mentioned it to Josh and promptly forgot about it. Judging by how bad it was, I don't know if cleaning it two months ago would have helped much. [ohwell] However, just the battery dying wouldn't have meant much when the car was already going and we weren't using the headlights, so we thought maybe it was the fuel line.

We went up to one of the houses and borrowed their phone and yellow pages to call a tow truck. Good news #2 (#1 being that this was the best time for the car to break down if it was going to) was that the tow truck got there in only 20 minutes and only charged us $40 for the tow. We got to Sears automotive and found out there that they don't fix what we thought might be wrong with the car, so we had to go back in the tow truck and go to the nearest Ford dealer's service center. The service center was already closed so we had to leave the car overnight in the Early Bird service lot and walked home. (Only about 1.5 miles.)

The battery not only needed to be replaced, but a lot of other things associated with the battery needed extensive cleaning and maintenance. That alone is costing us $200. Unfortunately, that wasn't everything that was wrong with the car. As it turns out our timing belt needs to be replaced. I don't know much about cars, but I gather that this is a pretty serious thing and they need to open up the engine to get to it, so that is costing us a little over $800 more. [shake head] I would almost be willing to say "screw it" and just live without a car, except that my brother is supposed to get the '94 Escort at the end of the month and I'm going to get my mom's 2000 Neon. Since I'm going to be trading up anyway I guess it's worth it to spend $1000 to make sure that Jeremy's car will last him for a while. But I really hate that I won't have the actual cash to pay for this until July. In the meantime I guess Mastercard is going to be loving me. [cry baby]

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"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye."
—Miss Piggy

Posts: 4010 | From: my couch | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
drunkennewfiemidget
BlabberMouth, a Blabber Odyssey
Member # 2814

Member Rated:
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Icon 1 posted March 14, 2005 13:11      Profile for drunkennewfiemidget     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
When a battery becomes disconnected, whether or not you're using the headlights or not isn't relevant on new(er) cars.

The alternator at full push gives out 14.4V. That's more than the 12V your car's electrical system is actually rated to use (actually, 13.6V is what a fully charged battery dishes out). But anyway, your car's electronics run off of the battery, and the battery is charged by the alternator.

If your car is running, and you disconnect the battery, the car will stall. Cleaning the terminals and reconnecting the battery might have been enough to get the car at least to a mechanic and saved you the $40 tow.

As for the timing belt, that depends on the car. Some cars can have their timing belt/chain replaced cheaper than others. In a lot of cars (including presumably yours), you have to disconnect the transmission from the engine to replace the timing belt.

Timing lights are fun to play with! (I'm easily amused.)

It sucks about the $1000 unnecessary debt though. :S I know what those are all about.

Posts: 4897 | From: Cambridge, ON, Canada | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Stereo

Solid Nitrozanium SuperFan!
Member # 748

Member Rated:
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Icon 1 posted March 14, 2005 13:36      Profile for Stereo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
DON'T PUT THAT ON A CREDIT CARD!

Sorry for yelling, but that's just plain wrong. Go see your bank first. (Ok, you may put it on your card if you pay it back on time when the bank's loan comes in.) Chances are you'll get _at least_ half, if not a third, on the interest rate you'd be paying on a bank short-term loan. And take that loan a little longer than the time you'd expect for paying back, just in case something else pops up. Just make sure you can pay back early without penality (which is usually the case for small loans anyway.)

I may not know much about repairing cars and how much it costs, but I consider myself well-trained in borrowing money! [Wink]

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Eppur, si muove!

Galileo Galilei

Posts: 2289 | From: Gatineau, Quebec, Canada | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
TMBWITW,PB

Member # 1734

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted March 14, 2005 13:52      Profile for TMBWITW,PB     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
My credit card has a 4.99% rate. I think I'll be ok, but thanks for the advice. [thumbsup]

--------------------
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye."
—Miss Piggy

Posts: 4010 | From: my couch | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
magefile
Highlie
Member # 2918

Member Rated:
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Icon 1 posted March 14, 2005 14:07      Profile for magefile     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Slightly offtopic. I drive a car with hand controls (can't reach foot pedals, too weak to use standard wheel), so I have a shitload of computers, digital inputs, and other battery drains running off my battery (actually, I have two, for obvious reasons - if one goes south on the highway, I can't stomp the brakes hard enough to stop).

So, to confirm what DNM says, the voltmeter on my display says about 13.6 when the battery is full & the engine off, and about 14.4 when the engine is on.

Actually, the battery is the most dangerous part of my car. There have been several stories in the past few years about quads (who are the main users of devices like mine) who have frozen to death on the shoulder of a highway when their battery crapped out. Thank goodness for cellphones. The last one I remember, the guy left a note on his Palm Pilot reading, "this was not a suicide". Very scary, but fortunately not all *that* common.

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Let them be stupid - the market will sort it out.

Posts: 743 | From: Massachusetts | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
Stereo

Solid Nitrozanium SuperFan!
Member # 748

Member Rated:
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Icon 1 posted March 14, 2005 14:29      Profile for Stereo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by TMBWITW,PB:
My credit card has a 4.99% rate. I think I'll be ok, but thanks for the advice. [thumbsup]

Really? It's the first time I hear about that. All I get is (insert deceptively low rate here) for balance transfer for the 6 first months. That means any new charges that aren't paid in full 20 or so days after the bill's in gets a 18-21% rate.

You said it is a MasterCard - what's the bank/other institution who emitted it? I might be interested. (Not that I really need another card, and I pay the full amount each month anyway, plus I have an open credit line too. It's rather that if I run into some instant major financial need down the road, it might come in handy.)

--------------------
Eppur, si muove!

Galileo Galilei

Posts: 2289 | From: Gatineau, Quebec, Canada | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
TMBWITW,PB

Member # 1734

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted March 14, 2005 15:34      Profile for TMBWITW,PB     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Chase, formerly BankOne. I got the card a while ago, so the new rates may not be that low, but if you've got the credit score I'm sure you can still get one below 8%.

--------------------
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye."
—Miss Piggy

Posts: 4010 | From: my couch | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
supaboy
SuperFan!
Member # 183

Member Rated:
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Icon 10 posted March 15, 2005 09:08      Profile for supaboy     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by drunkennewfiemidget:
Timing lights are fun to play with! (I'm easily amused.)

FWIW, I really enjoy cleaning the battery terminals with baking soda and water: fizz-fizz!
Posts: 1767 | From: Columbia, SC USA | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
drunkennewfiemidget
BlabberMouth, a Blabber Odyssey
Member # 2814

Member Rated:
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Icon 1 posted March 15, 2005 09:44      Profile for drunkennewfiemidget     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Stereo:
quote:
Originally posted by TMBWITW,PB:
My credit card has a 4.99% rate. I think I'll be ok, but thanks for the advice. [thumbsup]

Really? It's the first time I hear about that. All I get is (insert deceptively low rate here) for balance transfer for the 6 first months. That means any new charges that aren't paid in full 20 or so days after the bill's in gets a 18-21% rate.

You said it is a MasterCard - what's the bank/other institution who emitted it? I might be interested. (Not that I really need another card, and I pay the full amount each month anyway, plus I have an open credit line too. It's rather that if I run into some instant major financial need down the road, it might come in handy.)

I have Royal Bank Low-Rate option card. It's 11.5% -- a bit higher than the 4.99% Peebs has, but much lower than the 20.5% of my PC Financial one.
Posts: 4897 | From: Cambridge, ON, Canada | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged


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