My Blown Engine Story|
- By Nikki Willhite
Life can be so unfair at time. My middle
son is working two jobs trying to earn money before he gets married this summer.
He gets up in the morning at 2:30 AM, and drags home at 9:30 PM. What happens to
him? The engine in his Chevy Blazer blows out <sigh> What to do?
The truck is
almost 15 years old. Yet it looks great- new tires, tinted windows, no body
damage, and a lot of money has gone into maintaining it. Now the engine is gone.
Is it time to buy a new vehicle or is it worth replacing the engine?
As my son sat at my kitchen table with his
head in his hands, with my husband out of town, I realized that I
was going to have to help make this decision. He was depleted physically and
emotionally. Not only was his transportation gone, but also his place to sleep
for an hour or so in between jobs.
Many thoughts ran through my head. If
he bought another vehicle, it would have to be another used truck. It could have
just as many problems. He would probably have 3 years of payments, just as he
was beginning his marriage.
He couldn't sell the Blazer to help with
the down payment on a new vehicle because of the blown engine. He couldn't sell it to a private party,
and he wasn't in a good position to negotiate with a car dealer either. How
about salvage value? What would that be?
I needed to know how much the vehicle was
worth. My husband is an insurance adjuster so he has a Blue Book, but you can
also find it on the Internet at: www.kbb.com.
According to the Blue Book, that Chevy
Blazer was still worth over $4,500, which is hard to believe because of the age
However, it would be so easy to go into a
car dealership and sign a piece of paper and drive off with a running vehicle.
If we decided to put in a new engine, it would be in the shop for quite a while,
and I would be stranded without a car, as I would (as mothers do) let him
drive my car while his was being repaired. The "quick fix" for the
problems was so tempting.
Then I thought of my in-laws. I don't know
many people more frugal than they are, or with more savings on so little income. They don't even
have a touch tone phone in their home. They lived through WWII in Germany. They
knew what it was like to go hungry. They save their money. I thought of the car
my mother-in-law drives. It is on it's 3rd engine.
That was the final deciding factor. I
started calling around. The shop to where the truck was towed offered to put in
a new engine for $3,000. That seemed too steep. After calling around, I found
a shop that would put in a rebuilt engine for $1,900. It would have a brand new
motor, refurbished parts, and best of all, come with a 5 year or 50,000 mile
They were true to their word. They had it
up and running in 7 working days, at the agreed upon price. Thankfully, I later
found out it was a wise decision. It was a good price and a good guarantee. My
son would be able to pay off the bill before he got married, and his truck would
have a brand
new engine with a good guarantee. His yearly car license tax, which is high in
this state, would remain low, and there would be no car payments.
As for the shop we towed the vehicle into
originally, they tried to get the truck from us- said they had someone
"interested" in it. I wonder how much they would have given my son for it? Not
as much as it was worth, I am sure.
I'm sure that some of you have the skills
to replace an engine yourself, and have done it before. If you have the skills,
that is great. For the rest of us, remember that the frugal way is not always
It is now a year and a half later than
when the engine was replaced. The truck is running great, and has been very
reliable transportation for my son and his new wife. Think of all the car
payments they have saved. If my son had been in debt, they probably would not
have qualified to be able to buy the FHA Government Repo Home they bought and
fixed up right after they got married. That home has gone up more than $20,000
in one year. So how much money did they save putting in that engine? A lot!