How to Make Lemonade

You know how they say, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade"? Well we seem to have gotten a lemon of a car and I'm having a hard time figuring out how to make lemonade.

We bought the car in February of last year because we wanted a dependable car to drive with our new baby. At the time Luke was almost due and my old Subaru had something crazy like 290,000 miles on it. It made us worry about how much longer the car would keep on keepin' on so we got on KSL. We thought it would be good to get another Subaru to just run into the ground over the years because the reputation is really great and my harp fits in them.

We found a white 2001 Subaru Legacy wagon listed for a reasonable price and it was even manual transmission, our preference. It was a trade in at Larry H. Miller Chevrolet.... or one of the LHM car dealerships. We tooke it for a test drive and liked it a lot and it had everything we wanted and needed and they were even going to replace the windshield in it that had a rock chip crack all the way across from one side to the other. It seemed like it fit everything we were looking for and at a great price so we didn't even go look at any others. Stupid? Naive? Maybe, we just didn't see the point in driving more if this one had everything and more than what we were looking for, and according to our price research, it was priced well and they even came down about $1000. We thought we were making a good buy so we went through with it.

Only weeks after purchasing it the temperature started to over heat and pretty soon we could barely drive to the grocery store without it overheating. We found out it was a blown head gasket... a very expensive and difficult fix. We went back to LHM and they said the warrenty we'd purchased on it didn't cover any gaskets, only the really big stuff like the engine and transmission. Well that doesn't do us any good. We didn't let them out of it though and they ended up doing the work to fix it and only charging us half what it should have been and they put the money from our warranty toward the total too so we were able to come out of it alright.

It didn't take long before we had another problem. An important belt broke. I don't think it was the timing belt, but it could have cause a problem with the timing belt too because of how it broke or something. Anyway, it was going to be expensive to fix and so Tyler tried out a shop in SLC where they let you rent a stall and "rent a mechanic" so you could do most of the work yourself and save money. It wasn't as great as we had hoped but we save a little money and Tyle learned some things about cars.

Not much later we had to have the water pump and something else replaced. I don't remember because Tyler just took it to his family's mechanic and had it taken care of because we were fed up.

This time it is the clutch. It is dead. You press on the gas and the engine revs and it tries to accelerate but it's pretty sad. Now if we take it somewhere like on Saturday when we drove it to the mechanic for a quote, it smells really bad. But we took it in for a quote from Tyler's family's mechanic and he said the clutch would be around $400 for the part itself give or take $30 and the labor would be around $560 and there was still another $100 of other stuff to do for preventative measures. That brings us up really close to $1200!

I was waiting outside in the car we borrowed from Tyler's parents and when he brought the quote out to me my jaw dropped and I just said "no, we can't go with this option, we can't afford to spend that much right now". It would eat up a big chunk of our savings and seriously, we have only been homeowners for a couple of months. We need that money to stay in savings for an emergency. There are other options that won't cost so much so I just said "No."

Tyler's friend was able to find us a clutch kit for $200 and now we're trying to decide what option to go with for the labor that will be the most reliable and cost effective. As soon as we're done with this repair, however, the only lemonade I can think to make is to sell the car and try something else.

After each repair we said, "Well that really sucked, but it's a Subaru, it shouldn't have anymore problems for a long time". That doesn't seem to be working out for us. We could have paid the car off with how much we've put into it for repairs.

Tyler's family has this suspicion that having a missionary out serving brings car trouble to their family. It's hard to say that isn't true. Tyler's sister has been on a mission since just after we bought this car and aside from our car repairs, his parents have had to have their cars fixed 3 or 4 times, and Tyler's brother has has to have multiple major repairs done to his vehicles too. Do we all just have lemon cars or are we really cursed with car trouble during this time when I was raised to expect blessings for supporting a missionary???


Shay said…
Man that really does suck! I'm sorry. It seems like old cars always have something going on. I think that it is just a coincidence that you are having car trouble while Tyler's sister is on her mission. It's probably just the car. I'm sure if you think about it you will find that you are having more blessings than you are having car trouble. I love you guys and wish that we (or should I say Brad) could help you fix your clutch! Let me know if we can help!