it's always something!

On the way back home from CA last month, I had the check engine light flick on. Fuck! This happened at night somewhere in the middle of nowhere New Mexico on I10. Ok, relax and take stock. There were no funny noises coming from the engine and it was driving smoothly as it always did. I took a chance by not pulling over right then and there and waited until I got to a gas station. As soon as I stopped I promptly ripped the owners manual out of the glove box and looked it up. Turned out there were a number of possible things that it could be with none of them being fatal to driving my truck home. The beagle and I unloaded our bladders, got the truck some gas, got myself coffee, got B some water, and got back on the road. When I got home there was less than 15% of oil life. I knew I had a few weeks before I had to take it in. The Honda maintenance minder informed me via it's obscure service codes that it was also time check and replace quite a few other fluids/parts on top of the oil change. I knew this one was going to cost more than just an oil change, but what was really worrying me was what would the cost be of whatever caused the check enging light to turn on.

Forever the procrastinater that I am, I finally took my baby in yesterday morning. A week and a half after the oil life expired. This is one of those slow tortures I think most people put themselves through. We know it's coming but we still put it off for as long as we can bare it. The service tech informed me later that afternoon what the problem was. Turns out the catalytic converter had died. To my relief this isn't a big deal and is something I could get away with not replacing for quite a while. However the onboard computer will compensate for it's lack by forcing a richer mixture causing me to burn more gas. Not good since I'll have to pay more at the pump. What's not great is that it'll cost me around 1k to replace. The worst news was that my timing belt will need to be replaced since it's coming up on it's end of life. This will cost me another 1k. The timing belt itself isn't the whole cost, and an entire host of other parts are being replaced along with it. This repair is one I can't ignore because the damage to an engine from a timing belt going out are catastrophic. I can't afford to procrastinate with either due to the associated costs so I scheduled an appointment to get them replaced.

The problem I have is in how to pay for it, and that it also means I won't be adding the amount of the repair costs to my savings. I'm due to pay off my final CC bill next month. I don't want to add to the balance so charging is out of the question. The CC is for emergencies only and this isn't one. I also have more than enough in my savings but it's meant to only be used when I don't have an income. I have one making the savings hands off. 

Here's the solution I'm thinking about. I want to take out a small loan via my credit union to pay for the repairs. The loan will be paid back in two to three months (max). Doing this allows me to do a few things that I can't if I charged or paid out of pocket. Under the conditions I just mentioned it adds something current to my credit history since I haven't taken out anything new in over a year. I'll also get to see what my current FICO score is. I'm curious to know what it is after doing all this work on my debt.

Since tomorrow is Presidents day I've gotta wait til Tuesday to start this. That sucks because I'd really like to get the ball rolling since loans can sometimes take a while to process. I'm also hoping that the fine folks at my CU might be able to suggest a more equitable solution to me. 


  1. I'm wondering how many miles you have on your Honda, and what kind it is.
    Anytime that I saw old parts that were removed from mine, like the timing belt and hoses, they looked almost brand new. I thought the timing belt needed to be changed around every 60 thousand miles, but when I saw them come out of the car, it sure looked like they were still perfect.

    1. I'm at 95K + miles now. It used to be every 60k, but newer cars = newer tech so parts last a little longer these days. The dealer here told me it needs to be changed at 105k miles or 7 years. I went out and looked at it after reading what you said and it does look a little beat up.