Since I got the truck back in business, I’ve been driving it regularly. Over the last two weeks I noticed the vehicle seemed to have a hard time getting fuel. I suspected an issue with the fuel supply but wasn’t 100% sure. Every now and then when I came to a stop the truck seemed like it wanted to stall. As I continued to drive, every now and then it seemed like it was not getting the fuel despite the fact I did not let up on the gas pedal.
I did some research on google and a lot of threads recommended changing the fuel filter. I did additional searches to get an idea of how to replace the filter and could not believe how easy it is to access and replace. The local repair shop quoted me about $75 to replace it. I bought the part at AutoZone for $9.74 which is a savings of $65.26 had I taken it to the shop.
After everything was all said and done the test drive was very smooth. There was no sense of stalling when I came to a stop and as I was driving I did not feel any hesitation. The best part is that the truck starts up right away and I no longer need to keep my foot on the gas pedal to keep it running to warm it up. All this time I thought it was just an issue with the engine being cold. You live and learn!
I’ve had this 1990 Ford F-150 since April 2014 and I’ve known there was an issue with either the battery, alternator or there was a parasitic draw that would kill the battery within 18-24 hours. I haven’t had the time to really look into it until now. I’ve done some research to get a few ideas of what to check for. I had a hunch it was the alternator after I replaced the battery and the next morning it wouldn’t even crank.
The reason that sparked this adventure was that my 2007 Nissan Frontier wouldn’t start either. I figured since I needed to head over to Auto Zone, I better make good use of my time and kill two birds with one trip. I took both batteries over and they tested them both. The battery from my Nissan turned out to be bad but the Ford’s test results were positive, so I left the battery with them overnight to fully charge it.
The afternoon of (Super Bowl XLIX) I mustered up the energy to tackle the alternator. Mind you, I am no mechanic but I managed to remove the alternator with ease. Of course I took a lot of photos to document the connections, bolts, etc… to make sure things go back the way they were removed. I also documented the socket sizes to remove the guess-work for the next time I have to perform this task. The tension and bottom bolt for the alternator used a 5/8 socket and the top bolt for the alternator used a 9/16 socket. Then there was the 8 socket for the battery brace.
The entire process including the removal of the alternator, the trip to Auto Zone to pick up the battery (left overnight to charge), purchasing and installing the new alternator took less than an hour. It cost me a grand total of $95.29 just for the part. I got a quote from a few local auto shops and it would have cost me around $375 – $440. So I saved myself around $279 – $344. A little elbow grease, a little research mixed with willingness and a can-do attitude equals big savings.
“Creative Commons Money on Money” by 401(k) 2012 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Emergencies happen when you least expect them so it’s better to plan ahead and tuck away money into an emergency fund to be better prepared. Like Dave Ramsey said, “Once you have your emergency fund in place you tend to stop having emergencies.” So the goal is to prepare and build up your emergency fund to accommodate at least three to six months worth of your expenses.
To help keep me aligned with my goals I opted for an online interest checking account. I considered an money market account (MMA) but those are limited to six withdrawals. I don’t expect to have more than six emergencies arise in the course of a month but this gives me peace of mind knowing that there is no limitation. In the event I do have more than six emergencies I know I won’t incur any penalties for additional withdrawals.
I setup two automatic drafts to pull a specified amount from my primary checking to my online checking account. I carefully scheduled the drafts around my the time I receive my direct deposits. At the end of the month once I have gone through the budget I manually transfer another said amount to my online checking account. The automatic drafts are more of “out of sight out of mind”. My employer doesn’t have the option to split my direct deposits into two transaction otherwise I would have opted for that route. I also have it setup that any bonuses will direct deposit to the online checking. The same goes for any tax returns.
I have the online account for two specific purposes. One obviously is for the emergency fund and two a short term savings. The savings is to tackle my $55K Sallie Mae note which I anticipate paying off by July of 2017. With the money I save from paying off my school note I’ll roll that into the contributions I make to my online checking account and build up the funds to pay off my mortgage which should be approximately three years later. The interest generated isn’t significant but some is better than nothing and every bit helps.
They key is to stay motivated so I have written down the emergency fund total on a dry erase board along with the date that in which it should be fully funded. This hangs near my bed so I see it every day. I drafted a spreadsheet with dates, savings contribution amounts, rolling totals and the target dates which is accessible on my smartphone. I use a lot of methods to help keep me focused and they serve as daily reminders of the bigger goals ahead of me.