knowing when to quit the money pit a car can become

nickb2

Wrench. Diagnostic Tech.
Joined
Nov 22, 2008
Messages
11,814
Points
63
Location
St-Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada
Hi guys and girls.

I am a bit early today. Had a huge work eek and nodded off early, so hence, up really early and wanted to share an experience I had a work this week that touched me greatly, but at the same time made me real sad.

So here goes.

A 2006 caddilac CTS RWD with a 3.6l comes in.

I saw this car at least three yrs ago and I told the owner it was shot and to not invest on it. This time, car is back in, have vague history on it, but it is same as I remember, raise vehicle, body crunches, nothing but rust.

No safe place to jack car, everything is rusted through. Now have to put 2700$ down, engine needs major attention and driver window inop, needs new battery etc.

Here is where it gets sad.

The owner of said caddy passed away last yr. Now the client is his widow.

I told her, plz dont invest in this car. She says its the only one she knows how to drive. And it reminds her of her husband.

So I got the go ahead to fix the engine and then fine tune a few things, but there is so much I can do.

Anyway, sometimes, you just got to know when to quit, but in this case, I will fix this caddy as best I can, cuz she like the RD caddy, and she remembers her husband while in it.

My duty is to fix it responsibly. But I feel the car is not safe, however, she is old and frail and may not pose much of a threat.

Even in the car trade, you gets touching stories like this.

Another example, at almost 5pm yesterday, a couple with thier daughter came in from 3 rivers, volvo lost blower motor father could not drive with fogged windows and with windows down at -25c well not a good idea.

Took apart a bit of the dash to get to hit motir, came back to life, told dude, dont turn it off till you get home. That blower is a 7hr job to remove and replace.

Helping is good. But am I helping this elderly lady in keeping a memory, or am I helping my boss make money on a useless POS.
 

nickb2

Wrench. Diagnostic Tech.
Joined
Nov 22, 2008
Messages
11,814
Points
63
Location
St-Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada
So continuing this story, I am face with the same conundrum with my current greek GF.

Her car is shot and for strange reason, she wants to keep it.

I find ppl identify with thier rides. The americans more the the canadians. I have been guilty of such. Once owned a red gt mustang that was a huge money pit. But that was for fun and 1/4mile stuff.

Street rides should be considered street worthy.

Where does sentiment and safety meet is my question, and what morality should apply here is again the question

I refuse to fix my gf car, even though I am a 29yr tech.

I just dont want her on the road in that thing, point blank.
 

nickb2

Wrench. Diagnostic Tech.
Joined
Nov 22, 2008
Messages
11,814
Points
63
Location
St-Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada
I remember being young, I had a ride, it was an izuzu i mark with a lotus suspension. Turbo on a carb. What a blast of a car, but at same time, it was a rusted POS. I got it for 125$.

I had to replace the carb filter every week cuz the idiot before me had dropped the fuel cell in some form of polyurethane stuff. Never ever leaked, but the rust from the existing fuel cell that was rusted metal was still in there and would bog down the engine, and me just being a nuisance on road cuz I was always under hood on highways to get from point a to b.

My last car, well it was a echo 2003. It only had 239k km on it, but rear end was shot. Bought a newish car, knowing what to expect.

So, what is more important, safety, or sentiment and feeling of comfort.

That is my question

As a mechanic, am I to rational and dont care for feelings, or is it my DUTY to make sure your ride is safe, cuz the law up here, does not give me a right or wrong answer.

Law says, fix it, your responsible. If my boss says to fix it, do I have a right to refuse and loose job, these are gray areas that need addressing in congress. But in covid times, just fix it and get on way to not miss curfew, wow, such strange times.


So, Nickb just saying hi, had to get that all off my chest.

Better here, than shooting up some las vegas stuff. :eek:


Man, some weird stuff from USA lately. You all in a mess. The worst thing you all could do right now is shun canada.

Not a good move. USA has no more power moves left. Canada will just back up as usual and live peacefully. Sucks, cuz I really enjoy for most part my experiences with you all. But dang, the rift and the divide in your country is obvious and resounding. Hope we as canadians can help ya all get back on to the good old path of good old help thy neighbor.
 

billr

wrench
Staff member
Joined
Mar 12, 2007
Messages
7,040
Points
63
In regards to the customer, I feel you need to follow the shop owner's lead. If you can, advise the customer of the true prognosis for the car, regarding both safety and economics. However, you should leave the decision up to them or their care-takers. I don't think you can properly evaluate how they choose to spend their money, or what level of performance they need in the auto's various systems to not be an uncommon threat to others on the roads.

The GF? Fix the damn thing as much as required for her to be safe on the road. You are her "care-taker", right? As for things on it that are not safety related, but are going to make it a money-pit, you gotta decide... "Is the screwing you get worth the screwing you have to take?"
 

nickb2

Wrench. Diagnostic Tech.
Joined
Nov 22, 2008
Messages
11,814
Points
63
Location
St-Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada
"Is the screwing you get worth the screwing you have to take?"
hmm, you wrote this before to me in a private. And I did give that alot of consideration. Sometimes, it aint worth it. Most times it is even arduous.

But at the end of the day, it is better than being alone.

In regards to old lady caddy, yeah, I pretty much understood that also a long time ago, doesnt prevent me from not liking it.

But those are very sage words that I will keep in mind while I dive into this caddy. And when I say I will fix it the best I can, I f ing mean it.
 

nickb2

Wrench. Diagnostic Tech.
Joined
Nov 22, 2008
Messages
11,814
Points
63
Location
St-Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada

nickb2

Wrench. Diagnostic Tech.
Joined
Nov 22, 2008
Messages
11,814
Points
63
Location
St-Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada
a teacher once told me in shop class, that we, as technicians, hold the second most investment ppl have in our hands. The mode of transport is key to alot of ppls lively hood. How to properly respect that boundary is hard.


So when A single mom comes into the shop with a pos 2001 saturn or a semi opel astra, time to let go.

This is quebec after all, NOT calif where the cars last forever.

If you get my drift. Now I got a feeling I am condescending, when in fact, my true goal is to actually help this old lady out. So if boss says fix it, sure, I can fix it, but do I want to, no. But if I do fix it, we need better aftercare for our elderly, cuz she cant figure out all the options.
 

nickb2

Wrench. Diagnostic Tech.
Joined
Nov 22, 2008
Messages
11,814
Points
63
Location
St-Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada
my gf, well she came into this world with, lets say, a defect. She was diagnosed early with cognitive stuff, thyroid and a whole bunch of stuff. ALOT OF PPL told her she couldnt do this, cant do that, and just plain put her to the curb. I for one, think she is ok when she focuses.

But for sure, she is blind as a bat,and even if it was a new car, she is still blind as a bat.

Facts are facts


One which I may not have said, but my mind thinks I already wrote all this. at this point, I am just going damn,. losing my sister slowly is harder than loosing her fast.
 

billr

wrench
Staff member
Joined
Mar 12, 2007
Messages
7,040
Points
63
Yeah, I know I was just agreeing with the actions you already took regarding the customer; I wanted to give you affirmation.

The connection to her late husband, that the Caddy gives her, may be a huge part of her "will to live" right now; worth all she (and maybe family) has to keep it alive.
 

Mobile Dan

wrench
Joined
Mar 1, 2002
Messages
3,726
Points
48
Location
Kentucky
My $.02 for the old lady with the Caddy. Get another car to drive and find a place to park the Caddy as a shrine to the dearly departed. Back yard, side yard, over at her daughters farm?
Just had an idea...a graveyard for car lovers. Park the dead driver's car on top of the grave and family could decorate the car with flowers on holidays.
 

jigfeett

Hero Member
Joined
May 30, 2008
Messages
324
Points
18
Sentiment can outweigh reality and good advise but you will always help as best as you can. We all know that. I have known way to many people that dumped money into a POS.
 
Top