On Friday, I got into the trusty Toyota (the 1996 Corolla with 203,000+ miles) to drive home from work. Upon turning the car on, I was greeted with a light on the dashboard I’d never seen before. Check… something. Some weird alien-looking drawing. I took out the manual as my heart skipped a few beats, and found the decoder there – this was the Toyota’s check engine light.
Great. I have to admit I got out of the car and kicked it. Lightly! But still.
I do have to admit, it took over 200,000 miles for either me or my spouse to ever see this light, and the just-turned-100,000 mile Saturn has given us its light so many times I’ve lost count. But still. I wasn’t pleased.
So as I pondered the fact that cars drive me crazy, my spouse made an appointment to take it in on his way to work today. And the diagnosis? A failed oxygen sensor, which in the Toyota is a bit under $400 to replace. (It’d be cheaper if we could do it ourselves of course but that is not happening, I want to be able to drive the car again someday.) Interestingly enough, this is one of the few drawbacks to the Toyota vs the Saturn, the same exact repair was about half as much in the Saturn a few months back. But I digress.
By a stroke of cosmic coincidence, about $400 was the exact amount I had just moved from our checking account to our savings account to begin growing our emergency fund over $1000. If the Saturn hadn’t emptied and then some our car maintenance/repair fund in January, we’d have some money saved specifically for repairs, but we don’t yet. So, that $400 comes back out of the emergency fund, we replace the oxygen sensor, and the emergency fund is again back at $1000. I am beginning to think that the world would like our emergency fund to stay at $1000 for some undecipherable reason.
So the emergency fund is still at $1000, we’ve made zero progress on the new-to-us car fund, and the last remaining debt is being eliminated at a snail’s pace. 2009 is shaping up to be one rocking year. I am using positive thinking to expect March to be better. On to March!