A car is a must to have a job and even more so to find a job. Living in a city with good public transportation helps, but not every mass transit line runs near your next paycheck. Many hospitality and food service jobs require nights and weekends. Bus and rail schedules tend to cut back service during those times and many cities have cut public transportation funding to address future budget shortfalls. For the unemployed, these constant car repairs not only put stress on their credit ratings, but on their mental health. Every little odd noise during a leisurely drive only adds more anxiety. Without a steady income, most unemployed cannot get a reasonable car loan, unless they submit to dealerships with ridiculously jack-up APR rates.
I have poured so much money into my ’97 Jetta that I’m embarrassed to admit. A new radiator. A new starter engine. A new exhaust system. The biggest expense came last year when I had to make the repair of all repairs: a new automatic transmission. These repairs were the most important ones. The engine works fine, but things like the cruise control, intermittent wipers and rear windows are a secondary concern. Not having much of a social life means you don’t have to impress people with what car you drive. It saves money, but when you can’t open the passenger door for your date because the locks don’t work, it defeats the purpose of dating in the first place. I’m looking forward to the day I can earn enough money to afford a car made in this century that won’t drive me crazy or kill my chances for a healthy social life.