I am a stay-at-home mom with 2 children.Â My husband Steve works for Princeton Univ, about 15 miles each way from our home.Â We do not live on a main public transit line, however we are lucky in that we have a produce market, library, 7-11, and a few other small stores all within walking distance from our home.Â On nice weather days, we can even walk to the playground. However, I am used to being on the go 2-3 days a week with playgroup, shopping trips or just visiting friends.
At the end of January, my engine decided that it no longer wanted to cooperate.Â We were on our way to my parent’s house to drop the kids off before going to the Philadelphia Home Show, and were just before exit 57 on 295 south when my car’s engine started making a horrible noise.Â We got off the highway and into the parking lot of an Acme when the engine died altogether.Â Luckily, Steve was driving because if it had been just the kids and I, I would have lost my mind.
Not a single light came on indicating a problem.Â No low oil pressure light.Â No check engine light.Â Nothing.
We managed to get the car home, parked it in the driveway and that is where it sat until yesterday morning.Â Steve took my car to the mechanic, and today we got the dreaded phone call.Â I need a new engine.Â My car was 5 years old in December, has less than 70K miles, and it needs a new engine to the tune of about $4,500!Â OUCH!
While we make do every month, and bills get paid, we only get one pay check a month, and we don’t have a ton in savings.Â So there is no way to pay for the repairs in cash.Â We also don’t have credit cards to put the $4,500 on the plastic and keep moving forward.
Now the decision is to go down to one car – either selling Steve’s truck to repair my car and then having just one vehicle between the two of us, or bringing my car home and taking time over the next several months to try and fix it ourselves with me attempting to learn how to drive a manual transmission in the process.
Either way we are staring down the barrel of being a one car family, and unfortunately not by choice.Â Are there any other families out there that get by on one car?Â I’d love to hear how you do it, and any advice you have for doing it long term.
I feel your pain. Mike’s car was on the fritz last summer which brought us down to one car. It worked for me because my mom is close and I was able to borrow her car for outings. I like you don’t know how to drive stick and Mike’s car is a stick. So if my car goes down I need to learn how to drive a stick. Good luck!!
Liz S. says
We did one car for a very long time – well over a year, possibly two, until my husband rebuilt the engine in his car.
I did all of the driving for work and back. We didn’t have any young children, just a teenager, and both of us work w/i 15-20 minutes from home so it made it a lot easier.
It was still stressful, though, because I ended up having to take the teenager to all of the doctor’s appointments, had to schedule grocery shopping, etc, around him.
We did one car for 11 months (not like I was counting or anything, sigh). It was not always easy. The only good thing, it forced me to walk a lot. I would walk my child to and from school 2 days a week which was about 1 mile each way (even in the nasty winter….ick). And I could drive to work with my hubby the other 3 days. But I was use to using the two days off to do all of my shopping, etc. I had to either walk to get everything, which isn’t easy with lots of bags, or wait until hubby got home every night. It was a challenge but we did it. The bad weather days where the worse for walking. Good luck!!
christa C. says
I totally feel where you are coming from..My husband and I are going through it right now..Our Mazda about 2 mo ago 90k miles said ka poot!! We called Mazda and they wanted 3800.00 plus lavor..Thank God my husband is a body guy and works with Mechan ics..there is a place in Virginia that sells engines..JDM we got one for 1000.00 with 40k miles on it..could give you the site if interested!
We were down to one car for nine months when my Shadow bit the dust (again, who’s counting?). On the days when he didn’t have to run to the bank or the post office, things were fine and I could go to school with no issues. If it was an errand-running day for him, I drove back after class, he’d take the car, and then I would drive back down to school. It was aggravating (and a LOT of mileage), but we made it work until we figured out how we could afford wheels for me.