When I turned 16 my parents spoiled me by buying me my first car, a 1994 Pontiac Grand Am. Believe it or not, I’ve never owned another car after getting that one, some seventeen years later. It’s had its share of problems during that time, but all the problems have been fixable. Not being even remotely a car enthusiast, I’ve always been happy with just having something to get me safely from point A to point B, regardless of the fact that kids have been born and started driving during the period of time I’ve owned this car.

All that changed a couple of days ago when I tried to start the car and was greeted with a whine from the engine and no actual starting-up-ness. At first we thought it could be a problem with the starter, something that has happened in the past, so we had AAA tow the car to a nearby repair shop to get it fixed. After checking it out, they said it definitely wasn’t the starter, and they suspected it was something more extensive than they would touch with my kind of engine. After getting that news yesterday, I had to pay $65 to get the car towed to a different place that does work on ’94 Grand Am engines.

I kind of anticipated that the news would not be good, so last night I started researching new cars and other options online. Still, it was a bit of a gut punch when the call came in today. My Grand Am does indeed have engine damage, and the cost of the repairs would exceed the value of the car. That essentially digs a hole for my car in the automotive cemetery, and they’re just waiting for me to kick the bumper to send it into its grave. That’s definitely not good news at any point in time, but it’s especially bad news just after draining our savings to buy a new house within the past half year.

Fixing the Grand Am isn’t an option, because it just wouldn’t make sense to pay a ton of money to get it repaired and then have to sell it for a pittance to put towards a new car purchase in the not too distant future. Even if it hadn’t given up the ghost now, I don’t think it would have been long before something else would have gone wrong enough with it to force my hand. The most likely path right now is that I’ll have to sell the car as a junker for whatever I can get, but that’s not going to make any headway toward paying for a new car. We do have just a little bit of financial wiggle room, but I don’t know whether it will be enough to allow me to buy anything in the near future.

I’ll be weighing the options over the next couple of days and driving Celeste’s CRV in the meantime. I don’t like the idea of being a one car household, both for practical and emotional reasons, but finances might necessitate that for a while. I’m hoping that something brilliant occurs to me that will fix the whole situation sometime this week. Either that, or that I suddenly find a duffel bag full of unmarked bills.

As an aside, the cars I’ve been researching online as possible replacements are the Honda Civic and the Hyundai Elantra.

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