A Nurse with a Gun

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

A New Car.....Almost

When I bought my old Grand Cherokee in 2002, it was meant to be a work vehicle. I put a lot of miles on it before I returned to work in the hospital. It was a discrete, unappealing roving nursing office and storage room through rough neighborhoods. More recently, it has worn a grate behind the rear seat to keep a car sick Ilsa in place as we go about our business. Last Fall, the air conditioning went kaput, and I was forced into a decision this Spring. On a vehicle that I seldom even washed, to the point the exterior was as sticky as a candy chomping toddler's hands, I had to consider putting some money into the vehicle or buying a new one. Louisiana is not a state in which a person goes without vehicular air conditioning in the Summer months.

I took the Jeep to a trusted mechanic and learned the air conditioning evaporator would have to be replaced. In a younger life I would have removed the dashboard and done the job myself. As an older fellow with a career, I had to set my priorities.......How much? The part had to be ordered from the dealership. $1500 give or take a bit. Damn........Could it be done in one day while I was at work? Yes.

I had the transmission fluid and filter replaced while I thought about it. I had ignored those for far to long as well. The shifting was sluggish. The tranny work added up to $189. I checked the prices of used cars at several car lots over the weekend. I had paid off the Jeep in a fit of rage after the lender tried to charge me an undeserved late fee. I liked having no car note. I decided to bite the bullet and have the AC fixed.

I searched the internet for evaporators, and saw that the mechanic was correct, a dealership part. I did, however, find replacement headlights on amazon.com of all places. That was good. My headlights were so obscured by funk growing inside them that they almost did not pass my annual Louisiana vehicle safety inspection tax last week. The price per headlight was $81.77, for a savings of $221.48.......Each. $442.96 total savings.......I placed an order for two new headlights, and cleaned the front of the Jeep for my prima dona mechanic.

On Monday, I dropped off my newly clean Jeep with my mechanic, and had the air conditioner fixed. Total cost for Louisiana comfort was $1382.96 It was ready at 4:17PM the same day. I drove it with the air on full blast. Frigid........Nice.

Today, when I got home from work, two new headlights awaited me. They easily popped in and out, although I retained the original wiring harness. They work great, making the night bright in a way I have not experienced in several years. I almost feel as though I have a new car.......Without the car note.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Long live the paid off car!

9:47 PM  
Blogger Clint said...

Now all you need is the $800 worth of gas needed for that big ol' V-8 for the coming month and you could have bought that new car you mentioned in paragraph one!

They are designed to keep you broke, brother, no matter how you cut the deck.

10:33 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

It has a straight six Clint.

10:59 PM  
Blogger Tennessee Budd said...

Never had a car note, never will. Between a '72 Cheyenne and an '81 Caprice, I'm set. When I want to save gas (or just have a hell of a good time), I'll ride one of the Hondas.

12:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best car on the road: one that is paid off. Even better, one that is old enough to have minimum licsene, tax and insurance. I buy my cars form estates that are more than ten years old and have less than thirty thousand miles on the clock. I can typically drive them for less than half the cost per mile of a new car.

12:19 PM  
Anonymous Steve said...

Having worked in New Orleans for a couple of weeks in August, I gotta say that $1,400 is a STEAL for Air conditioned comfort!

Enjoy your (sorta) new ride!


10:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My daughter's ac quit in her Cherokee and the dealer made the same recommendation. Yes the evaporator had a leak. Common problem on Jeeps. I went to Advance Auto Parts and purchased the following: http://www.partsamerica.com/productdetail.aspx?MfrCode=QST&MfrPartNumber=MRL3325&CategoryCode=3572B
AC SUPER SEAL PK. Immediatley after you put the sealer in, fill the system with freon and run for at least 30 minutes. Problem solved. Took 2 cans 14oz. cans to refill.

8:42 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Anon, you make me flinch......I can only hope my leak was so bad the sealer would not have stopped it.

9:06 AM  

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