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Readers Blog: Dobie Maxwell's 'Dented Can' Diary

Car Search

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Tuesday January 15th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   I am so far down at the bottom of the financial trick bag as far as my car is concerned, I am not able to identify even a distant flicker of light no matter which direction I look. This is a dark ugly place, and it’s been a particularly bitter pill to swallow because I know intentions were positive.

   My friend Richard is a great guy, and he was doing me a much appreciated favor by letting me have his mom’s car for free. I’ve known him at least twenty years or more, and he’s always been extremely generous whenever I’ve needed help with anything. He’s one of the few people I trust.

   We crossed paths because of our mutual love of sports cards, and he’s helped me out of money holes I’ve climbed into over the years by buying card collections I couldn’t sell. He is a full time card dealer of high end product, and has been able to help me move collections more than once.

   I love hanging out with the guy, and I consider him to be a solid friend. There’s no way either of us would intentionally screw the other one over after this many years of friendship, and I feel horrible this whole scenario is playing out. It’s just the luck of the draw, but I drew a bad hand.

   This car is absolutely cursed, and I think I’m going to have to cut my losses and move on. I can only stick so much money into a red 1994 Nissan Sentra that has a blue hood and fender because I was too tight fisted to have them painted. I wanted to see how little I could spend for the year.

   This was a car that was supposed to be completely on the cheap to allow me catch up on other bills for a while, but it’s turning out to be a money hemorrhage and I’m running out of resources. It’s probably going to be a funny comedy bit sooner than later, but in real life it’s a huge hassle.

   Originally, I thought I’d be able to get a car on the road for less than $1000. I’d hoped it would last at least through the year, and cost me with insurance included about $100 a month. That was gone before I had it a month, and it’s been a barnacle on my wallet since. It’s bleeding me dry.

   I got it back from the body shop today after returning my rental car, and they charged me a $50 fee to have the mechanic look at it and tell me I’d need a $375 latch replacement if I wanted it to have a normal working driver’s door. I can’t see myself paying that, so I asked if they could just seal the door so it doesn’t pop open in traffic and I’d crawl in and out from the passenger side.

   I began that adventure today, and I can’t see it lasting more than a week. It’s pretty humiliating to be doing that this late in the game, but that’s how it worked out. With all the other things that went wrong since I got it, I’m well over $2000 on a car that wouldn’t bring even $500 at auction.

   To make a bad story worse, my front headlight blew out and that was another $30 hit I had not planned for. It seems like every day something new breaks, and my heart was high atop that list. This kills me, and I would never have stuck all that money into it had I known it would sting me so badly so quickly. I’m stuck with it now, and every time I crawl through that passenger door it will remind me of my stupid mistake. But that’s what it was – a mistake. I need to cut my losses.

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