Remember when I paid (OK, charged!) $500+ to put in a new water pump and timing belt in my 1999 Dodge Caravan a couple of weeks ago?
Well, shortly thereafter, the van started to make weird squealing noises. I took it back to Firestone to see if they had done something wrong but they told me it sounded like a transmission problem and suggested I take it to a shop that specialized in transmissions.
So, after a week and a half without a vehicle (I was afraid to drive it), I took it into a neighborhood transmission shop yesterday. Apparently, it will either be something easy to fix or it will need a rebuilt transmission, which will run $1400. No way am I going to have the latter--my whole vehicle is only worth $1600 according to Kelly Blue Book. I'm awaiting a phone call from the shop as I type.
Not only will I have wasted the $500 (which it looks like I will be able to pay off before incurring any interest), but I will have to get another vehicle about a year earlier than I intended to.
More monthly payments.
And a budget that can stand neither.
Grace is NOT a happy camper!
And here's the kicker! I checked out the eligibility guidelines for the "Cash for Clunkers" program. Apparently a 1999 Dodge Caravan got 19 mpg in city and highway driving when new, which puts it one mile OVER the guidelines. So no help there when it comes to purchasing a new (to me) vehicle.
Honestly, I feel like crying. I know this will all work itself out, but the thought of having to shop for another car and to incur even more debt puts me in a very whiney mood.
I do know that this time around I want a small, high-mileage car, preferably under $12,000. Beyond that? Who knows?