There's a lot I've been wanting to write about. For now, here's the deal. The car needs a new transmission. That's about $4000 if I get a new one, about $3800 if I get a used one. I asked my mechanic what he'd tell his sister. He said, well, I have a couple of questions. Have you had your timing belt done? I said, I think so, check your records. He found a timing belt gasket (all technical terms are approximate, and probably wrong) but they haven't done the belt. I vaguely remember someone changing my timing belt, so it's possible I took it to the dealer for that. But it's unlikely -- I try to avoid them. Anyway, he said, that'll be another $700 or $800 if you need that. And how about front end work? There are a lot of ball joints on this car, and it doesn't like we've done anything with those.
Okay. Weren't we just here? In hindsight, I did the wrong thing with my Honda. I should have taken the insurance money and just gotten all the body work done on it, with a little of my own money out of pocket. Instead I spent a lot more out of pocket to get a newer car (although still a used car). And of course I got a ridiculous car, a finicky and expensive Passat, just because I love how it looks and feels. It was such a dumb decision, although, to be fair to myself, I hadn't yet left my reasonably lucrative job. Anyway, I bought a car that is extremely expensive to repair and maintain, and I stupidly fell helplessly in love with it.
And now I have a repair that doesn't make sense to make. I said to the mechanic, I bet you'd tell your sister to take that money and buy a Honda, wouldn't you? He said, "How'd you guess?" He sounded genuinely surprised. I don't have a pile of extra cash to throw down on a new vehicle. I'm thinking I am in the market for about a $5000 car. I can spend something like that to get my current car back working (I'd go with the used transmission, but reserve some for the ball joints and timing belt, if indeed the dealer hasn't replaced it). Note that my current car is a 2000 Passat sedan with 95,000 miles. It's not book value because the body has a spot from a day when someone was parked in my driveway and tried to squeeze around them into the garage and got it wrong. So there's a dent over the wheel well and a little rust. In other words, this isn't a pristine car. And, of course, it has no transmission.
Bleh. I still need to buy a mast. That's much more interesting than this. And, unfortunately, suddenly much less pressing.