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Old 12-30-2008, 10:09 AM   #1 (permalink)
Batman Junior
MetroMPG's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: 1000 Islands, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 22,395

Blackfly - '98 Geo Metro
Team Metro
Last 3: 70.09 mpg (US)

MPGiata - '90 Mazda Miata
90 day: 52.07 mpg (US)

Even Fancier Metro - '14 Mitsubishi Mirage top spec
90 day: 70.75 mpg (US)

Appliance car - '14 Mitsubishi Mirage ES (base)
90 day: 64.15 mpg (US)
Thanks: 3,930
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After seeing what "regular" people pay for repairs, glad I can fix my own car

I was reminded recently how freaking expensive cars are if you don't know how to diagnose & repair them yourself...

A friend of the family called me a couple of days ago because her car (2001 Pontiac Sunfire / Chevy Cavalier clone) wouldn't start. Would I come over with some jumper cables, she asked. "I think my battery is dead."

When I got there she mentioned that her lights had gone dim driving the car home the evening before, so right away I suspect she's got a bad alternator AND a worn out battery (date on it shows it's 5 years old). Plugging the ScanGauge in her car confirms the system voltage is already below 12.6 and falling while the car idles, after jumping it.

Figuring I'll save her the towing costs, I put a charger on the battery and say I'll be back later to follow her to her independent repair shop.

Turns out the towing would have been the least of her concerns!

She showed me the repair bill today. The total was just over $600 (Canadian pesos) for name brand parts: alternator ($250, lifetime warranty) and battery ($140, 3 years). $140 for labour, and taxes on top of everything.

I know there's nothing remarkable about this story. But I've been maintaining and repairing my own vehicles long enough that I was shocked at being reminded what it must cost the average person to own a car.

Project MPGiata! Mods for getting 50+ MPG from a 1990 Miata
Honda mods: Ecomodding my $800 Honda Fit 5-speed beater
Mitsu mods: 70 MPG in my ecomodded, dirt cheap, 3-cylinder Mirage.
Ecodriving test: Manual vs. automatic transmission MPG showdown

has launched a forum for the efficient new Mitsubishi Mirage - fuel efficiency info for Geo Metro owners - electric car conversion on a beer budget
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