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There is a term I learned early in my IT Career called Total Cost Of Ownership and it is used often to make better decisions regarding IT Purchases.  What it refers to is what an item costs when you factor in implementation, support, operating and repair costs.  Just because something costs less or is free does not always make it cheaper to use in the long run and this is something that effects us in every day life that most people ignore.

Let’s begin with my new Ford Escape Hybrid, what I paid for it was not the total cost of ownership because I still have to pay for insurance and the DMV fees for title transfer and registration which include sales tax on the amount I paid for the vehicle.  Now when you add those amounts to what I paid you have a better picture of what the total cost of the ownership of that vehicle is going to be.  Since I felt I needed an extra key, and that the door be rekeyed to the ignition key, keyless remotes, window vent visors and a bug deflector then the cost for all of these items has to be added to the Total Cost Of Ownership as well.

Now we are easily looking at around $1000 in additional expenditures that were not part of the original purchase but were necessary in order for the purchase to live up to its expectations.  The Keyless remote units were necessary because Ford in its infinite wisdom on put one Key lock on the vehicle, the driver’s side door and I admit to the fact that I am lazy.  But that is besides the point.

So about two weeks ago the vehicle began to light the Engine icon on the dash and flash the message Check Emission System when I started the car.  So I pulled out my scanner and plugged it in and got the codes.  According to the internet, the first thing to check is the gas cap, so I did.  This might be the reason because it happened not long after a fill up but didn’t resolve the issue.  Then yesterday on my way home from a client site, a wrench icon appeared and the message check engine soon appeared with a chime.  I cleared the message and it would appear again a few miles later and did this until I got to Roseville.

Roseville is the next city over from the one where I live and is a much larger city.  It has an AutoMall which is much like a shopping mall except it is a place where every dealer has a store to sell their cars.  It’s kind of really cool and obscene at the same time when you drive through it.   Future Ford is the Ford dealer located in the Automall.  Since it was sort of on the way home, I stopped by at 3:30pm to see if they could look at it.  A gentleman who we will call ‘Mike’ came out and asked what brought me in today.  After I explained the problem Mike informed me that the technicians had left for the day but that he could look at it first thing tomorrow morning.  Sad and a little bit angry, I left with the Dealer with the intention of bringing it back first thing in the morning.  Right after I dropped Kethry off at school.

So today, I arrived at the dealer at round 12:00pm and explained the problem to Mike again and asked if they could also look at the Cruise Control and see if they could determine what was going on with it as well.  Mike began punching things in to the computer and typing what seemed like an essay in to the little boxes and then printed out two identical reports with signature spots and a bunch of numbers and other gibberish that really only mean anything to someone from Gibber.  What I did notice was that I would be paying $289.00 for an oil change and estimates to fix the engine lights and cruise control.  WTF.  Seriously, am I the only one who thinks that is a bit crazy?  So I told them to cancel the oil change and the estimate for the cruise control.  That brought it down to $120 with no repairs being done.

So, I called my best friend and had him come and meet me.  We drove down the street to the Toy Store aka Fry’s Electronics and wasted some time walking around and window shopping.  I ended up buying a 2 port USB Cigarette Lighter Adapter for charging and gave it to him since he didn’t have one and his phone was dead.  Hey, that’s what friends do.  You can only window shop for so long before the buy urge outweighs the sense urge and you wind up buying that Ginsu Knife.  So we decided to seek out ‘cheap’ unburger food.  That leaves one place in that immediate area, Taco Bell.

So we ran for the border and got the XXL Chalupa and while it was good, it wasn’t THAT good.  As we were finishing the meal, the dealer called to tell me that they had figured out what was going on and tell me the prices.  It was 2:00pm and I needed to get Kethry so I told him I would be right there.  The restaurant was right across the street from the Roseville Automall.

It was going to cost around $850 to repair the car with the parts costing around $500 and labor to install them another $200 and the estimate cost of $120.  So I paid for the ‘special order’ part and the estimate for a total of $420 and left.  So now the total cost of ownership for this car has just gone up.  I don’t have buyer’s remorse yet and wont unless the charges keep rolling in.  I just hope I can sell the Kia soon so that I can recoup some of these extra expenses.

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