Car Stuff

Okay, so my 1999 Chevy Malibu is having some serious problems.

A few years ago, the wheel slipped off the axle and the whole assembly had to be replaced. Ever since then, I’ve had intermittent wheel/axle problems, but nothing inherently unfixable. Recently, the car has developed a startling and upsetting problem. As you’re going down the road, the same front right wheel/axle assembly begins to groan – a deep, loud vibration that sounds exactly like a low, angry groan. It gets worse at speed. Here’s the wierd thing: It disappears completely when you turn left. Even a little bit. Any slight, little twitch of the wheel to the left, and the noise disappears entirely and it rides as smooth as water.

At the same time, Chris’ car is now illegal as the tags have been expired for over a year. Getting Missouri tags requires an inspection, which would require driving to Missouri in an illegal car, which is a stupid idea. However, getting Minnesota tags is $95.oo.

Also, we’re driving up north to drop a friend in Duluth, spend time with my grandparents, and go camping on the North Shore.

So! What do we do?

The best solution would be to drive out to the suburbs and have the car diagnosed and possibly repaired by an old family friend. He’d do it like my Dad does it, using used/reconditioned parts and charging relatively inexpensively for labor. However, the only night we can concievably get out to see him is Wednesday evening, and if he’s not available or isn’t interested, then we’re fucked.

That leaves two options:

1. Taking my car in to a nearby shop to get diagnosed and possibly repaired, or…
2. … Replacing Chris’ tags.

The diagnosis on my car would be at least $70 – 100, not counting parts and labor. When all’s said and done, it could easily top $200 – $300 and maybe more. So, simply replacing Chris’ tags would be cheaper, right? But we would also have to fill his tank with gas, making it around $100, and his gas mileage is much, much worse. By the time the trip itself was all said and done, we’d probably be at the same $200 – $300 range out of pocket anyway.

So, what do we do? I’m starting to think replacing Chris’ tags would be the best bet, just because we’d be pushing our luck to have my car replaced by the time we have to leave, not even considering future problems that might crop up afterwards. Plus, at least we’d able to control the cost a little better.

Thoughts?

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