reliable auto

As some of you may know, Patrick and I are in desperate need of a new car. Our current car has been unreliable for the last year and has been the cause of not only added expense but great worry and concern. Beyond the monthly worries of repairs, weekly we both live with the fear that on the way to and from church or while Patrick is running errands the car will break down, leaving him or me stranded. Except for medical reasons, and then driven by others, neither of us has been able to leave the island in nearly four years for business or pleasure.

This last hurricane season we were especially fearful that the Toyota would not be reliable and we would have to have someone come and get us if we needed to evacuate. If it happened to have been a forced evacuation, that, of course, would have been impossible since they would not have allowed anyone onto the island.

Over the past year, there has been extensive work done on the car and multiple people have looked at it to try and solve the issues. The alternator was replaced a year ago and the battery was new as of this past September. Unfortunately, the car just isn’t starting again. This points to larger problems that have not yet been diagnosed. The car continues to be a larger and larger expense.

We’re very grateful for the help we’ve gotten with repairs from both relatives and our mechanics here. We have gotten many years of good use out of the Toyota, but, as happens, it is now in a place where every few months it needs a new major fix.

For the first time for either of us, we have used up our AAA calls. This means that the next tow or battery jump will come with a bill. Again, an expense that we did not expect and that makes keeping this vehicle an untenable option.

We have been actively exploring the possibility of purchasing a vehicle and have some cash to put into one and some credit for a loan on a used car. However,
the upfront payments and fees (taxes, licenses, etc.) as well the potential monthly payments are worrisome. We are not sure that we would be able to meet these financial obligations.

Thankfully, Patrick has Medicare now. This means that he was finally able to have surgery on medical issues that he put off for far too long. He has further surgeries that are upcoming to take care of all of the major issues. On the downside, this means more bills in the meantime. As grateful as we are for Medicare to help with these issues, Medicare Part B deducts from Social Security. Ultimately, this means money is very tight again.

If we were to have our perfect solution, we would be able to get a used 2016 Nissan Versa Note SV, a small hatchback, with low miles. It gets good mileage and has good headroom. It is on the low end of today’s prices (Kelly Blue Book approximately $10,500). The SV is not a basic car and comes with some perks, one of which is power windows. It seems basic to most, but it is surprisingly not standard. Even as a 95-year old who has been in many cars, this seems like a basic necessity. This isn’t what anyone would call a dream car, it is modest, but seems to be the best car in our range and it will definitely do.

As a secondary, but very important request, if anyone is in or knows anyone in the car business that can help us find the car we need it would be greatly appreciated. Buying a reliable used car has to be one of the most nerve-wracking tasks and finding one on a small island that caters to more affluent people is almost impossible. We have certainly put in work on this issue and have come up with results, but it's always more comforting to have someone “in the know” to help.

In many ways, it is always embarrassing to have to ask for help, especially when it is financial, but sometimes when you need help enough you need to ask for
it. Despite everything we still have hope. The car needed to be jumped on Tuesday to go to Walmart for groceries and supplies before this storm. Now it is in the driveway dead. Because of the snow and ice that we currently have, we won't even be able to get into town until Monday, it's Monday, maybe tomorrow,  but even then we will have to look out the window and see if there is a neighbor nearby who can help. It’s an unsupportable situation.

Any help you can give, any help at all, will be greatly appreciated.

In advance, thank you, and God bless,

Pat and Patrick


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Patricia Maier 
Kill Devil Hills, NC
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