Well, there goes our emergency savings

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Well, there goes our emergency savings
10
Mon, 04-14-2003 - 10:46am
And I am just sick about it. This state requires emissions testing every year. Our Geo failed last year and the shop told us the first thing to do was replace the O2 sensor. I asked if that would fix it, and they said they didn't know, that you just had to try stuff until something worked and this was the first thing to try. So we replaced the O2 sensor. The shop wanted to charge us nearly $300 to replace it, but I found one at Auto Zone for $60 (it's a heated sensor, so more expensive than usual) and had them put it in--total, about $100. It didn't fix the problem, but they ran the test over and over until they finally got the thirty seconds necessary to fix it.

Well, the shop we're using this year tells us that the O2 sensor is bad. Dh told them that we'd just had it replaced last year, and they said they hoped we had a warranty because they tested it and it's bad. Apparently, there's a diagnostic you can do--first of all, why didn't the shop last year perform a diagnostic, instead of telling me "we just had to try stuff"? More importantly, I'm just sick that it has to be replaced, and I can't find the manual or warranty information. Also, I'm wondering, since the shop last year didn't bother to run a diagnostic, if the O2 sensor was bad to begin with, and they just didn't know. If we had known then, we could have taken it back immediately and gotten it replaced! The shop this time is telling me it will be $260 to replace. I'm afraid to go get one at Auto Zone again.

AND, I looked up info about the O2 sensor and it says it can cause failure of the catalytic converter, in which case we'll have to replace it too. I just lost my job, so we don't have extra cash around, and our entire emergency savings is just under $500. If we have to replace the converter, it will wipe out our entire cushion. :(

Now I'm feeling that old familiar anxiety creep up on me. I won't be able to sleep for a week, and I'm already sleep deprived. I just feel sick.

Encouraging words?

Heather

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2003
Mon, 04-14-2003 - 11:09am
Well, I don't have any encouraging words but, does it help to hear that I know how you feel??? I hope so!!! Just take care of the car and pay cash for it if possible. You *will* be fine even though it doesn't feel like it right now!! Hang in there!! Gina
Avatar for cl_beckymk
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Mon, 04-14-2003 - 11:23am
Personally, I would go get a 2nd opinion!!

My van was leaking power steering fluid (what is it with cars breaking when people are out of work???), we had the extended warrenty so that helped BUT these people (it was a dealership) were trying to get us to pay for all sorts of stuff that there was nothing wrong with it.

PLUS...we had a coupon for free oil change from them since they were a "new" dealership in town. On the work order it appeared that the did it but when DH looked at it they hadn't touched it (DH usually does the oil changes and uses Purolator filters, that is NOT the standard filters you are going to get at a dealership)..anyway he called the next day and basically did a "Hey buddies, you said you did an oil change but you didn't" and they took it in right away and went 'uh-oh'. IF he hadn't looked, we would have had no clue that they didn't do what they said they would do. So, I'm not even 100% convinced they did the power steering thing correct.

Anyway, there *is* a point to this, is that I wouldn't just right out believe that the new O2 sensor you got was bad...now it *is* possible because occasionally bad batches of things will happen (I've gotten things in general and it won't work when you first get it, so I'm not saying it doesn't happen) but is there any other mechanic that you could take it to that could do just the diagonstic thing? Unfortunately, I'm sure you would have to pay for that but after our last fiasco, I would rather charge an extra $40 to find out for sure than pay out a ton of money more for something that really dosen't need replacing.

HUGS....Other than that I have no advice for you since I know nothing about cars. Hmmm...don't know if the Car Smarts board could help you...might want to get that a shot!!

http://messageboards.ivillage.com/iv-mlcars

Becky

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-02-1999
Mon, 04-14-2003 - 11:37am
Hi Heather -- I'm sure many of us here can relate to that unexpected expense that throws you right off your budget! I know I can...

One positive thing to think about is this: at least you have the emergency savings to cover this! That's what it's there for, right? If you didn't have that savings, you'd have to put that repair work on your credit card...a much more difficult situation.

Hugs to you -- and good luck!

~Stephanie










Avatar for zaboz
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 04-14-2003 - 12:57pm
One thing you might try is octane booster. My husband had an old Subaru

that failed emissions. We read somewhere that using octane booster will

make it burn cleaner. Just pour a bottle in the gas tank, fill it with the highest

octane gas you can find, let it cycle through for a while and see if you can pass.

My husband had no problem passing. The guy said "I don't know what you did but it's much better"!

I realize it's a temporary fix but if it's passing emissions that's the trouble, it might get you by for the moment.

And if you have to fix it, at least you have savings! I know it's hard to use it

but at least it's there.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-31-2003
Mon, 04-14-2003 - 1:37pm
I recently lost my entire emergency fund, something I'd been building for years, in order to pay medical bills that weren't covered by insurance. I know that for myself, having lost my emergency fund feels like walking a tightrope without a net. It was always there . . . just in case. Now it isn't. And I don't have anything to show for it. I think what is hardest for me to deal with is knowing that the money went toward something that was totally out of my control. Car repairs are a lot like that, too. Unless you know someone by birth or marriage who is really proficient at cars, you are at the total mercy of strangers that you hope are telling you a straight story. Even when you do find trusted advice, you can't plan for car repairs. They just happen.

At least you had the emergency fund to help you out of this situation, and you are ahead of the game because you know the importance of having such a fund. It will take time to rebuild it, but it'll happen. Maybe we can start "snowflaking" to our respective emergency funds while we work down debt :-)

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 04-14-2003 - 2:36pm
Thank you. It is encouraging to hear, and I'm feeling better about it now. At least the savings were there.

Heather

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 04-14-2003 - 2:39pm
Thanks so much for your input. We thought about getting a second opinion, but the mechanic comes highly recommended from a trusted friend, and besides the expense of a second opinion, there's the logistics of getting a car that we don't ever put our son in (it's a Geo Metro and has horrific safety ratings) from one place to another while my husband's working. As it is, it has to go back to the bad place to be reinspected, unless we want to pay for the inspection again.

They did say that they would be willing to put in an "after market" part, but it won't come with the same warranty. Still, it's $200 less, so we're going that route. It still puts us out nearly $200 (after labor costs), and we still have to pay for the catalytic converter if it's gone out, but here's hoping it hasn't.

Thanks for your help and encouragement!

Heather

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 04-14-2003 - 2:41pm
Yes, it is good that the savings are there. It does make me anxious not having it there for the next emergency, but I guess that is what it's there for.

Thank you for your words of encouragement!

Heather

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 04-14-2003 - 2:45pm
Thanks for the idea! We actually had already tried that--no luck. But I have heard it works great for some people.

Thank you for your response. It's good to hear the encouragement.

Heather

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 04-14-2003 - 2:47pm
Good idea about snowflaking. I already put a regular amount in there, but I think I'm going to have to up it so we can get caught back up. I guess I've got it pretty good--I'm only spending $500 out of my meager emergency fund. It would suck even more to have the kind of expenses you did and lose years' worth of fund.

Thanks for responding. It's nice to hear others have been in the same boat (I know they have, but it's nice to hear anyway), and are making it by. At least we have the savings.

Heather