When I graduated from high school Mom and Stepdad gave me their old Ford Escort (’92) to drive, since they weren’t using it anymore. When it died a few years later, I bought a newer (but still used) one (an ’02). I didn’t really drive these cars by choice – they were convenient and within my budget, and I need a vehicle (I lived in a small town, public transportation wasn’t a viable option). In the years I have owned Ford Escorts, I have NEVER had windshield wiper blades that actually worked. I have them replaced regularly (at least once a year, often more frequently), but even brand new ones tend to just smear water around, making it even more difficult to see in the rain. Consequently, I hate driving in the rain and usually avoid it as much as possible.
Today, I went to get my oil changed. It was raining lightly outside, and the guy at the shop noticed that my wiper blades weren’t working so well. He asked if I’d like to have them replaced, and I told him that they’ve never worked properly. He said he would put new wiper blades on my car and made sure they worked. I left the shop and lo and behold, they actually did work!
I love my car for about a million reasons. It rarely needs maintenance, although I did start practicing preventative maintenance in the past few months (like buying new tires in October). My car is new enough to still be in good condition, but old enough that I won’t stress out about fender-benders or other dings and scrapes. For example, there is a dent in my driver side door that happened while my car was in a restaurant parking lot. I have no idea who did it, but it has been there for over 2 years now and isn’t causing any problems, so I don’t feel a need to spend money on fixing it. If I had a nicer vehicle, I would worry much more its appearance. And one of the biggest reasons I love my car: I get 35+ mpg highway. I rarely drive in the city – a trip to the grocery store about once a week, and now that I’ve been doing volunteer work, a couple other short trips around town each week. However, I live 4 hours from my hometown, so my car is mainly used for driving home about once a month to visit friends and family. Getting great gas mileage is definitely a huge benefit with my car. Also, full coverage insurance runs me $44 per month. Overall, my car is incredibly low-maintenance and cheap to drive. I would love to be able to drive this car until it wears out completely, which will probably be another 5 to 7 years (given that I currently have less than 90,000 miles on it, and the old Escort had close to 200,000 when it gave out).
However, for the past year I have been strongly considering selling my car to get something nicer for one reason and one reason only: the impossibility of finding wiper blades that work. If I am going to have a vehicle, I want to be able to drive it in any normal weather, especially given my longer trips where pulling off the highway because of rain isn’t exactly convenient. Now that I have discovered that my current oil change place will sell me wiper blades that actually work, I’m more excited than ever about the prospect of keeping my car until it dies. Even though it is only 06 Jan, I can honestly say that buying these wiper blades was the best $15 I will spend all year. I don’t know if I can put into words how giddy I was when I was driving back home!
Spending $15 on blades that actually work kept me from paying the cost of a new car, plus tax, licensing, a potential increase in insurance, and any other costs that would have come along with buying a different vehicle. What small, seemingly simple purchases have saved you a lot of money?