Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Final diagnosis

Not good. S1's car is DOA unless SOMEONE can come up with $1500 to fix it. As far as I am concerned it isn't worth it. The car has over 150,000 miles on it and I think if SOMEONE is going to come up with $1500 it should be put toward a "new" car. (Of course, I know absolutely nothing about cars, except how to drive them). Does anyone know what a head gasket is? Is the the gasket that is in charge of all the other lesser working class gaskets? Well, his is broken and apparently like humpty dumpty, it can't be put together again. He also has a leaky exhaust (I have that after eating beans sometimes) and his spark plugs are not sparking or plugging I guess. So we have a very pissed off 20 year old, who is being greatly inconvenienced and is basically 'grounded' until he gets some wheels. He then told me he may drop one of his classes so he has time to work. This I am NOT thrilled about. It is a foreign language class that will almost guarantee him the job he wants as it is a very specific language that is much needed in the international government arena where he wants to work. When he started there were over 30 kids in the class, there are now 6. How come this parenting thing is so damn hard? I had to literally take a walk to keep away from my computer~~~to stop myself from looking for a car for him. I am sooo damn bad about wanting to do EVERYTHING for everybody. I need to learn how to step back but I don't have ANY experience in that department. I think I am this way because my own mom was so helpful to me till I was out on my own after college. This is the only way I have ever known how to parent. I have been deeply engrossed in the boys lives from day one and for the most part it has served me very well....they talk to me, the trust me, and share their lives with me. The only drawback is that I feel so guilty. (This is all ME...they do not make me feel this fact they tell me that I worry too much about them, but they know it is out of love and caring, not anything else) I feel like I NEED to help whenever and however I can and knowing that I can't (financially) is really hard on me. Especially with S1. He is my fragile one, yet the one with the most potential to succeed in life greatly and I don't want that delayed. He deserves it. That last part sounds like I am showing a preference for him over the others. It is not that. The other two are very laid back, happy-go-lucky and will be successful in whatever they choose to do, by the mere fact that they chose it. S1 is special in different ways and will crumble if his life goal isn't within reach. Well...I am just starting to ramble now. I am so glad I discovered blogging. Sometimes writing out my thoughts helps me put things that are emotional into perspective. Thanks for hearing me out.


Anonymous said...

I swear that we share a brain. And didn't we already surmise that we share a first name? Goodness gracious.

marta said...

Ah the universal pain that loving mothers endure! Having grown up with a mother who kicked all her kids to the curb at 18... I vowed I would never do that to mine. My kids are all smart, good kids, but would never have gotten where they are without support. (financial and emotional) Proud to say oldest daughter grad from University 2 years ago and lives a successful life in Major City. Younger 2 are doing well in college also. I understand the "wanting to fix things for them" oh yes... and it's hard went you can't financially or physically or spiritually do that. But I think when they know that their heartbreaks are also Moms heartbreaks.. the bonds of love sustain the situation. Big HUG!

Tina said...

The head gasket is something I know very well. I've even seen one or two in my time. It's a 20.00 part, that takes 1000.00 in labor to install. You have to take the head off the motor to get to it. One of Rob's trucks blew the head gasket within the first month we owned it. Cost us 1/2 of what we paid for the freakin' thing to fix it. Pain in the ass. Tell him I feel his pain. (And, I have a great 1991 Pathfinder for sale here, if he wants to come look at it. :) )

Wait Another Year said...

It would cost you so much less to make all those car repairs if you knew someone (a friend or relative) who was a mechanic. We are very fortunate my husband's younger brother is one (works for a well known dealership) and he fixes all of our car problems for a fraction of what it would if we took it to the dealership. There has only been a couple of times where he wasn't able to help due to the lack of equipment. We do our share helping them out too so it works out.

If you know of anyone, talk to them about it. You may be able to put off buying another car right now. Afterall, that will mean car payments every single month for you, right?

Good luck with everything and keep us posted.

Dodi said...

Sending you hugs!

beagle said...

I just had the head gasket fixed on my '99 subaru this past summer, and I am glad I did. But I think it depends on the car and how well the rest of it is doing. My mechanic has the same car and did his own and so I went with it.

Car repair is a crap shoot in general though. And my friend K who bought a brand new lemon (a Lexus no less) would tell you that all cars are crap shoots.

So . . . that was helpful, right?

Michele said...

Wow! A blown head gasket! That really sucks!
I am an anomaly among the female race. I moved out of my parents home early, then lived pretty much in poverty during the years I was married...and only doing marginally better 10 years after the divorce. I HAD to learn how to fix many of the things that broke on my car, or I wouldn't be able to have one.
Spark plugs not firing (sparking) is usually fixed by replacing the spark plug wires and the plugs themselves. Very easy! Ask the neighbors or the sons friends if they know how. Simple high school auto shop type stuff!! It COULD be an electrical problem, but usually not.
Leaky exhaust...that can wait to be dealt with. Muffler? Rusty manifold (where the hot air leaves the engine)? It may cause a loss in power, but all-in-all not a huge concern.
That head gasket, though...ouch! So many problems can stem from that. The heads (an engine part) could have warped, so there is the possibility that just the new gasket will not fix the problem. This usually occurs if the engine overheated (ask S1). There are two ways to fix a warped head...file the surface down if it isn't too bad, or replacement.
You didn't say what type of car S1 has, so here are a few other things to concider...How is the REST of the car mechanically? Is the transmission good? 150,000 miles is not alot of miles on cars these days--if the car is 1990 or newer.
What would I do? I'd ask the mechanic about the chance of the heads being warped. If he doesn't think so, (and the rest of the car is mechanically sound), I'd say the repair is a good idea. A good place to get the spark plugs and wires changed is a local Vo-Tech. Many schools do repair work like that and you only pay for the parts. Then, find out just what this leaky exhaust is...and save up for those repairs, if neccessary.
A good running car for $1500 - $2000 is really hard to find.

NOW, with all that said... if the car has other problems (slipping tranny? leaky radiator? Bad suspension (anything from the tires, breaks, axles, ball-joints)? OK... Then I would have to say upgrade. No use being nickled and dimed (or $50 and $100ed) to death.

I know this was long, but I hope it helped a little. :-)

Athena said...

Parenting sucks sometimes.

Walking the thin line between giving them what they need vs. what they want. Sooo hard to distinguish.

My 3rd (youngest) has always been very good at making me think she's needy, but in reality, she's incredibly independent. The more I give, the more she demands. It's always been a challenge for me.

Not sure what I would do here. At least you didn't drive up there on day 1 and wait while he went to classes! And he handled it all fairly well. So that's a good thing!

Linlee said...

I know nothing about cars! I think car repair people see the word sucker written on my forehead when I walk in the door.
Good luck!

Deathstar said...

You're a good mum to care so much, my mum was very helpful like that. I'm sure son #1 will understand that he can truly overcome all obstacles with your support.

Deathstar said...

Oh, yes and I have no idea about what a gasket is.

hope548 said...

Ugh, that sucks. I think the head gasket is so expensive to fix because it involves taking some of the engine apart. I had a car that warped a head and my neighbor fixed it for $600 and that was all parts and no labor. Anyway, I'm sorry his car is dead and I hope you all can find a solution so his classes don't have to suffer. I don't blame you for wanting to help, school is important. I don't think it's bad to help out when your kids truly appreciate it and aren't just mooching off of you! It sounds like you have good boys.

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