Monday, July 27, 2009

Crap, crap, CRAP!! $1300!

We've got an 11 year old Lincoln Towncar. I love this car. It drives like a dream, has plenty of room for just about anything, and has several completely unnecessary features that I've grown very accustomed to. Like the programmable driver's seat settings. If hubby has been driving my car, I merely push the #1 button and the seat goes back like I like it. It has a 6 CD changer in the trunk. The CD player is the latest, greatest of 1998, which means that it won't play home made CDs, but still, this means that all the CD clutter is in the trunk, not the front seat. That's marvelous! The back seat is marvelous as well. I once slept for 4 hours straight in that back seat and woke up without any cricks in my body. How many people can really say that about their car?!

The drawbacks of this marvelous car are: (A) mechanics see the word Lincoln and assume we can afford to pay 1/3 more for any little repair. We cannot. (B) people are prone to thinking that we're snooty, rich, or both. We are not rich. I hope we're not snooty. We paid $10k for it used 5 years ago. (C) There's an air suspension system that just fails as the car grows older. There are these huge air bags at the back of each side of the car that keep it from being a low rider, no matter how much weight you put in the trunk. Our very non-PC term for this is the anti-vato device. I once sat very still on the back bumper of my car for about 10 minutes straight and the car determined that this was the new trunk weight and jacked me up 2 inches, making the car look level again.

The problem with these air bags is that after a while, the rubber dry rots and starts to leak. This causes the air compressor to turn on at random to fill them back up. This causes the compressor to wear out after a while because it's working too hard while sitting in the garage. This is why you see so many older Lincolns that look like they've got WAY too much weight in the trunk. This repair is not necessary to the function of the car, but not doing it makes the ride a whole lot rougher, and it causes the car to scrape on uneven driveways or shop entrances. Or in our case, while backing out of the garage. We knew this repair would one day be needed. Our compressor has been doing overtime since we bought it 5 years ago. This was inevitable. But of course the thing would fail right when we're trying to save up money and pay off other debt before our baby comes!

All last week, the compressor was making funny noises, and not coming on when the car wasn't on. Friday, it finally pooped out completely. As in, I'm dropping off a friend at the airport, we notice the trunk is sitting low, we take her bags out and the car does not spring up in response. Hmmm.... that's gonna cost me. Thankfully, it never occurred to her that her bags had anything to do with it. Which they didn't, of course. I drove home feeling every single bump on the highway, and made sure to tackle the slope of our driveway at an angle so as not to scrape. I call the repair guy and ask for ballpark repair costs and am slightly surprised that it will not be $2500, but probably only a max of $1800. We take it in this morning and they quote us $1300. Not as bad as we had feared for the last several years, but STILL!! I've yet to plug this ugly number in to our budget, but I'm sure I'll work up the nerve here in a minute. Happy Monday!!

The good news this morning was that me and hubby managed to carpool into town and did not have a fight! Neither of us are morning people, and we're both passenger seat drivers so this is nearly miraculous! We did discuss our strategy for that last night and determined that we should try to not talk at all while on the commute. It worked!

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