When we were getting ready to take our trip to Mississippi and Louisiana, I took my van to Meineke for an oil change: $40.36.  At that point in time, the guy recommended new front tires and also a timing belt replacement - their quote:  $825 (just for the timing belt). He told me it could wait until we came back from our trip, but with over 220K miles on the van, I shouldn't wait too long.  

New tires were a necessity because the old ones were nearly bald. Since he didn't have tires on site and I was on a tight schedule, I made a trip to NTB....two new 90,000 mile warranty tires - $499.73.  Ugh.  On the plus side, these tires should last for the rest of the useful life of my van!  We were ready to roll...Skydive Nawlins...here we come!

On February 23rd, I took the car in to our mechanic at Richmond Imports to discuss the timing belt replacement.  I didn't want to spend $800 on my car if it had other things that were going to break soon.  They looked over my car and said they didn't see anything else that needed immediate attention.  So, I we went forward with the repair:  $783.44.

Once I got the car back from them, I noticed a strange sound that happened occasionally. I couldn't figure out what was going on.  Some days, the car made the sound and some days it didn't.  I tried to figure out how to reproduce the sound.  When I got in touch with Richmond Imports, they asked me to bring the car over.  

A few days later, I took the car over and a mechanic went for a drive with me.  After 10 minutes in the car, he thought I needed a front right wheel bearing thingy. (Okay...I admit it...he didn't say thingy!) If it wasn't that, it was the differential - which would be very bad. Unfortunately, there wasn't any way to tell unless he made the wheel bearing thingy repair.  Since I've already spent the money for the timing belt and invested in new tires, I schedule an appointment for the following week for the oil change and the wheel bearing repair.

Long story short, I dropped off the car.  They did the oil change and the wheel bearing repair.  The good news: my differential was fine.  The bad news:  my right rear wheel bearing thiny also needed to be replaced!  At this point, I'm thinking - just do it.  It's not going to be road worthy unless it's done. Total including the oil change:  $580.81.

When I picked up the car on Friday (3/27), I was thrilled because I no longer heard "the sound".  I asked the mechanic if we were good to go on our next road trip - a 2,750 mile round trip adventure to five new states.  He said we should be fine.  Yay!  Finally done with car repairs! Happy Dance!

Unfortunately, the happy dance did not last long.  Yesterday, my brakes started sounding strange.  I called Meineke to see when I got my last set of brakes. He told me I got them in 2012 and they were still under warranty!  YAY!!! So, I went to Meineke today.  After they inspected my car, they told me that I didn't need brake pads, but needed to replace my calipers, hoses, and resurface my rotors, and replace my sway bar links.  Yada yada yada. Total fees less $50.00 membership discount:  $862.19.

I felt like my head might explode!  I would have never invested in the timing belt if I had know that my car was going to need another $1,500 in repairs!  I called Richmond Imports and talked to the guy there.  I told him about the visit to Meinekie and he said I should bring the car in and they will take a look at it.  If they have to do all the work recommended by Meineke, it would cost about $700.  However, he thought that I might not need every thing Meineke recommended.  

My appointment is scheduled for Tuesday...the saga of my car continues...