Everyone who knows me knows how much I love cars. Fast ones, big ones, small ones, and of course my own. I’ve had Black Thunder since 2002, the first year the Jeep Liberty was made.
I named her that because when she gets out on the open road, she roars. She’s seen me through many times good and bad, road trips, traffic jams and precarious close calls on Chicago’s winter ice. As time’s marched on she’s been going to the shop more frequently and a few weeks ago, she began making a scary grinding noise.
I warned Hubby about it, but Black Thunder never made it to the mechanic. Then Ethan was born, Hubby went to Florida for business and it was my mother-in-law and me holding down the fort.
On the way to take Logan to daycare Black Thunder Ka-THUNKED followed by a rhythmic flap, flap, shutter so I pulled over, convinced something happened to the tires. I walked around the car, found four perfectly fine tires, so I trudged on to daycare and Black Thunder sounded normal.
That night Hubby and I agreed, if the cost for the repairs were more than $1,000, we’d look at getting a new car, if not we’d fix Black Thunder. We’d just fixed the radiator and scores of other things, not to mention the motor to the rear passenger window broke the week before so we had to tape up the window from the inside so the glass didn’t slip down into the door. It was classy, let me tell you.
The next day, I had to get Logan to daycare and I was afraid to drive the Jeep for fear of getting stranded with my boy. But I made a plan that if Black Thunder died before we made it to school, I’d call a cab to finish our trip to daycare and the garage could send a tow truck for the Liberty.
On the way to school, Logan asked me to drive a different route, I told him no we needed to get to daycare fast before the car broke.
“The car will break into pieces?” He asked.
“Yes, it very well could.”
His eyes got big and we rode the rest of the way in silence.
After dropping Logan off, I headed to the dealership, one block away a metallic grinding noise came from under my feet, I began to pray. Screetching into the Jeep dealership, I felt an overwhelming sense of relief, I had made it.
Turns out my drive shaft was broken and that plus the window, the tally was $1,100. We were back to the question that we’d visited and visited again. Is it time for a new car?
Both the Jeep and the TT are paid off, which has been great not having a car payment. And the start of a six-month maternity leave is not the greatest time financially to start paying on a car, but we needed safe, reliable transportation. What to do?