Emergency Car Repairs

After being stationed overseas as a Navy Chief for six years, I returned to America in February of 2019 while going through a difficult divorce.  Moving back to the United States from Spain ate up nearly all of my savings, but I needed a vehicle that would be able to make it through the Minnesota winters and snow.  I purchased a 2015 Jeep Wrangler with about 33,000 miles on it on February 9th, 2019 in Norcross, Georgia from CarMax prior to reporting to Minnesota for my current duty assignment.  Always cautious, I paid an additional $1,300 for the additional CarMax extended warranty which is supposed to cover all components of the vehicle, bumper to bumper.

Last week, on Wednesday, July 10th, while driving home from work my Jeep lost all forward momentum even though the engine was still producing 3,000 RPM.  I was able to coast to the side of Highway 62, where I parked the Jeep and tried to get it moving forward again.  After multiple unsuccessful attempts to get the Jeep moving, I decided to call roadside assistance where I waited for six hours for USAA's emergency roadside assistance to provide a tow truck.  At 4am, I made it with the Jeep to a local dealership on the bed of a tow truck where, I was told by CarMax, I would be able to get "out of network repair assistance" for a deductible of $300 thanks to the warranty I had purchased.  Money is usually a little tight, but I can budget out $300 in a pinch, so stress decreased and I coordinated to find rides to work for the next couple of weeks.

After waiting for a couple of days for a diagnostic to be completed on the Jeep, I received a couple of status updates from Bloomington Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram.  They explained that, at a minimum, the transfer case and clutch needed to be replaced.  They explained that there was also a possibility that the Fly Wheel may need to be replaced.  They estimate the total cost of repairs as at least $1,840 before taxes.  The worst part of the whole situation, was that they said that they had contacted the warranty company, and that, even though I'd only put a couple thousand miles on the car and have been driving it for less than 6 months, the damages were considered to be regular wear and tear, and that none of the repairs or part replacements would be covered under the warranty.

As an active duty Chief Petty Officer in the United States Navy, I receive a fair and good salary.  I'm proud of the fact that I am independent and financially responsible, and I'm not accustomed to asking for help... normally I wouldn't even think to ask strangers for assistance, but compounded by an ongoing custody fight, right after returning from being stationed overseas, while establishing a residence for myself and my daughter here in the Twin Cities, with a salary that has decreased due to being back in America, I have no savings left to cover the repairs I need and currently don't have any means of transportation.

Most of my income is eaten up currently by paying off old marital debt, which I need to continue payments on in order to prevent myself from getting in trouble with my employer, and by providing child support for the care of my little girl.  

I don't necessarily expect this to raise the money I need for the repairs, and I'm looking in to other options for loans to help cover the cost in the immediate future, but the truth is I'm scared about whether or not I'll be able to cover this in addition to my other financial responsibilities.  One of my close friends pointed out that sometimes, you need to know when to ask for help.  God knows I need the help right now.  Thank you for anything you can do, I can't begin to explain how much appreciate it.

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Michael Traynor 
Minneapolis, MN
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