So… the saga of my car and its problems continues. I drive a 1997 Ford Explorer. We didn’t trade it in during Cash for Clunkers because no payments were better than having to make payments. However, about a month ago the brakes went out while I was driving home. Fortunatly there wasn’t an accident, and Ed and my brothers fixed them. Two weeks ago, it failed emissions because the check engine light was on, which has been on for months, and we thought it was due to a problem with the light in the dashboard, not with the engine itself. So we have to get that fixed in order to pass emissions testing. Then today, it wouldn’t start. It seems to be running fine now, so we’re not sure why it wouldn’t start. The problem is that it’s simply not reliable. Over the years, I’ve been stranded a few times when I was taking classes at the University, but fortunately most of the time when something’s wrong I’m close to home. I hate having a car that’s unreliable.
And there’s a big difference between me being stranded alone and being stranded with a baby. So, we’re seriously considering getting a new car. It’s not the best time to take on another monthly payment, with me going on leave and basically not getting paid from April through September, but really when is a good time to take on more debt? We’re looking at used cars, and I have only a few requirements: My car needs to have four-wheel drive, especially for our icy, steep road. My car also needs to have room for equipment and bags of soil that I cart from Agway to the greenhouse at school, as well as occasional random farm items. Oh, and it needs to be safe and reliable, as well as family-friendly, since I have a tendency to hang onto a car for years and years. We’re looking for a car that’s a few years old with low miles, and my requirements pretty much mean getting another SUV. (I’d love to drive a pick-up truck, but it’s not exactly a mom-friendly car…) Used hybrids are few and far between, and they’re mostly out of our price range. Biodiesel is mostly out, since diesel engines tend to be more expensive and I’m not looking to take on making our own fuel. Flex-fuel compatible is fine, but there’s no ethanol station around here, and I’m not convinced that ethanol is better than petroleum. So it’s looking like we’re just going to keep having to do what we’ve been doing: driving less and conserving fuel. It’s hard to make an eco-friendly choice when there isn’t a perfect choice out there, and even the better choices are prohibited by cost. At least for this week I’m on vacation and don’t need to go anywhere for the most part.