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February 16, 2011

Day 8 of 30: Yet another miraculous save for the car that refuses to die (AKA: Cash discount?)

I heart this icon.

Exactly halfway to my meeting yesterday evening, 7 miles into a 15 mile trip, my car stated wobbling and the check engine light started flashing. I was in the car with a colleague, so we turned around, headed back to the office and took his car instead. Made it to the destination only 10 minutes late.

I was thrilled.

Miles, my trusty Nissan, just hit 150,000 miles, and after a few mishaps and miraculous saves by Mr. A (for which I truly am grateful), it seems to have another five good years left. I am very attached to this car. We've been on 4.5 cross country road trips, including two moves. It's a comfortable extension of my purse, with a spare pair of shoes and bottle of wine waiting for any eventualities. It has endured being towed and ticketed, with the dignity of an aging patriarch.

Ok, that makes no sense, but I’m not going to delete it. Moving on.

I love the dear thing.

But it’s time to say good bye.

I started considering my options. Mazda 2? Cute, compact. Just no horsepower. Would I really miss that? Maybe, but how could I argue with that pricetag ($14k new). Or a Mini? My cousin is in love with hers, and I could definitely see myself zooming around town in the dark red one… Or go upmarket and test drive a used Audi, to see what that German engineering is all about.

Then Mr. A presented a more sensible idea. Repair it. Sell it when it’s driveable. And certainly don’t buy a car under duress. (This short and funny video has a lot of fantastic advice. Mr. A is right -- I definitely don't want to need a new car.)

This morning, he dropped it off with Les, who is the most reliable mechanic we’ve encountered in San Diego and a few blocks from our house. He gave an estimate that was, unfortunately, not over my budget or tolerance level, so I decided to pay up for another round of repairs.

Just over an hour ago, I picked it up. It was the fuel injector.

The invoice said $319.80.

“If I pay with cash or a check, how about a little discount?”

“We’ll make it even.”

“$300?” I confirmed.

“Yes. If you pay check or cash. Credit card companies charge me 2 percent. That’s on top of the interest they charge you.”

“Well thank you very much for the discount. I know you do a great job on my car.”

I wrote him a check, he gave me the keys and I zoomed off to a café to do some writing.

Lost: Hope that I’ll buy a new car before the weekend.
Saved: $20. I guess every breakdown can have a silver lining.

Question: Does any car, past or present, have a special place in your heart? Let's wax poetic for a moment! (Sigh. Letting go of Miles will be so hard. Yet so easy...)

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