Replace a vehicle that died

Back in April, life had totally changed for me. I had just survived a 9-week bout of Covid-19. And life had seemingly come to a halt.

My check engine light came on on my 2014 Dodge Journey. Cylinder 3 misfire. I replaced all 6 of the spark plugs, coil packs, and fuel injectors to the tune of $2,000. I thought all was fixed. Three days later, same problem. Cylinder 3 misfire. I found out I had an extended warranty, so I took it to a mechanic. They replaced everything I had already replaced, plus half of the engine head, and three of the cylinders and six valves. Three or so months later, and another $2,000 for a copay, and the Journey was fixed. Or so I thought.

On Tuesday October 27, after only having the vehicle back for 5 weeks, the check engine light came on again. Cylinder 3 misfire. Now with savings depleted, I am faced with a dire situation.

The motor is shot. It’s Dodges’ 3.5 V6 Penastar motor that has survived these problems for the past 8 years. The recall Dodge issued includes model years 2015-2020. Sadly mine is a 2014 and doesn’t qualify. Replacing the motor is not an option, as replacing half the head didn’t fix the issue. And my savings is depleted. Replacing the vehicle is my best option.

The loan on my Journey is upside down. I can’t trade it in. I have nothing for a downpayment. So I am required to put a large down payment on a vehicle to keep my payments low.

I am an EMT. Have been for 30 years. I work as a movie set medic. In a post Covid world, with filming starting to return, I was getting back to work when this happened. Now unable to get myself and my equipment to work, things went from looking bad to looking worse. Additionally, making doctors appointments, going fishing, or chasing hot air balloons on my chase crew is out too.

As I said, I am an EMT. And I am an Army veteran. I am used to being the one everyone calls for help. I am not used to asking for help myself. But a very dear friend of mine has encouraged me to go this route.It’s with hat in hand and a heavy heart that I do so.

I am looking to purchase a 2015 or newer Ford Explorer or Expedition with under 40k miles on it. I know that is a lot to ask for. Working movie sets across New Mexico, I do put on quite a bit of miles. So I am keeping this focused on the long term, and not a short term bandaid.

Any assistance you could provide would be greatly appreciated.


  • Lawna Zlotkin 
    • $20 
    • 1 mo


Ian Zlotkin 
Albuquerque, NM
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