Almost the same day I sprained my ankle, I noticed my car acting a little funny. Last Tuesday, I took it in to get the transmission and the breaks looked at… and the diagnosis wasn’t good. Well, sort of. There was definitely something wrong with the transmission, and it would’ve been another $680 to pull the transmission out just to finish diagnosing what’s wrong with it. I didn’t think the whole car was worth $680, so I decided it was better spent adding to the down payment on the next one. I took most of the money I’ve made off of Filler so far–and some that it hasn’t made yet–and put five grand down on a new ‘08 Honda Element EX. That’s what emergency funds are for, right?
The down payment, the new car payment (around $400/month), and the insurance hike (9 year old family car -> brand new 4-wheel drive SUV) will set me back a bit in getting debt free, but the most important thing in this case was that it was the car I wanted–it’s been a real hassle toting my kayak around on the Buick. I’m not a big believer in soccer moms driving giant SUVs, but I think I have a pretty legitimate need for some utility and the occasional 4-wheel drive action. I was planning on making the jump to a new car any way once my credit cards were paid down, so for now I’ll just look at it as an acceleration of the game plan. On the plus side, if I hadn’t made Filler–and if it hadn’t been as successful as it’s been–I probably would’ve gotten another used car in the $5-$10 grand range, and I would’ve likely driven it until it died another 4-5 years from now.
The best part of all this (if there is a best part) is that I made the decision at exactly the right time. I drove the Buick in to pick up the new car this morning. While going over a speed bump in the parking lot, the transmission went completely out and the thing wouldn’t budge another inch (I had to get a couple of guys in the dealership to help me push it into a space). Their wholesaler passed, so I’ve got one of those “Cars for Charity” groups coming to pick it up tomorrow or the next day.