Procrastinators Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from chronic procrastination.

Conquering Car Maintenance Avoidance: An Ongoing Tale

Hi PA friends,

I'm starting this thread to journal my experience with severe avoidance/procrastination of maintaining my car. 

This is a problem I've had my entire adult life, and it never goes away, never gets better, only seems to get worse with age (of both me and my car). 

I want to chronicle what I'm going through and why, and if you share the same type of avoidance for something that seems overly scary, feel free to post here too. 


The situation: 

I am now over 10,000 miles since my last oil change, with a car that now has high mileage. This is not smart. Could lead to far more costly repairs later if I don't take preventive measures now. 

I also have a problem with my brakes. The fluid is apparently leaking, the pads are worn, and God knows what else. Clearly this is a safety issue. I still have refused to take the car in despite this, after planning to take in the car literally for the past month. Planning, even making appts. online, then canceling them. 


What is wrong with me? Why do I find this false sense of "safety" in avoidance? Why do I always need to run for cover? 

How can I be in mid-life and still affected by my overprotective family who always "covered" for me? Why can't I face the world alone, even after doing it millions of times before, successfully? 


Why I am afraid of facing taking my car in to the auto shop: 

1. Auto shops are known to screw people over with their prices, especially women. I am afraid of being screwed over financially. 

2. I am afraid of the unknown: What if there is more wrong with my car than I think? And what if it costs more than I have saved up? 

3. My boyfriend is not available lately to be there with me in the auto shop, because he's busy studying. He told me today, am I going to go through life hiding all the time? He can't be there for every single thing. I was even afraid to go take the car in on a weekend when he was willing to meet me there at the auto shop to be there with me!!!

Here are some "howevers" to dispute my fears: 

1. HOWEVER, I have decided on a national chain auto shop that is very reputable and does business in a very detail-oriented way, giving specific steps, prices and info right there in advance on their website. I already did a little research and know what my car needs at a basic level. I have a car manual to refer to. This auto shop my bf has been to and he trusts them.

2. HOWEVER, I won't know what the story is till I go in the auto shop and have them inspect the car. Maybe it's not as bad as I imagine, maybe it's worse. But I won't know till I go! If the costs are more than I can afford, I can get SOME service done, and save the rest for another time after saving a little more. I can break it up into several visits, and just do the most imp. repairs first that I can afford. 

3. HOWEVER, I am a woman, yes, but every day there are other women who must face the same task in an auto shop. Can I just learn to accept that I am a woman, never will be a man, and that I have to just trust my Higher Power to take me through the process? There's really nothing my bf is going to do there that I can't do myself just as well. He's not a car expert, so he could potentially be 'screwed over' even though he's a man.


Bottom line: I am NOT an auto mechanic! therefore, If I want to keep having my independence to drive to work, etc. and to do it safely, I need my car to work. To do that, I need to get that work done by professional auto mechanics. I HAVE TO TRUST THEM TO DO A DECENT JOB AND CHARGE ME A FAIR PRICE. THAT'S ALL I CAN DO. GOD GRANT ME THE SERENITY TO ACCEPT THIS, COURAGE TO CHANGE WHAT I CAN BY ASKING QUESTIONS AND PUTTING LIMITS ON COSTS ACCORDING TO WHAT I HAVE, AND WISDOM TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE. 



I've been through a lot this year, with constant stress, survival issues, so I guess the avoidance is in high gear now as a form of just wanting to relax. I have to be gentle with myself. I have to PRAY to GOD that he will prompt me to do the right thing at the right time. 

I should have gone today, but as usual, have put it off. 

The plan is to go first thing Monday morning, and then i will have to make up hours for work, during a week where I may already have to take hours off for the holiday, and a possible job interview. So ALREADY I HAVE MADE MY WEEK MORE DIFFICULT BY NOT TAKING IN THE CAR ON A WEEKEND. Par for the course. But I am at a loss as to how else to do this. I need to get this car in BEFORE I have a major problem that I can't afford to pay for. The clock is ticking and I'm ASKING GOD TO GIVE ME ENOUGH COURAGE TO JUST FACE THIS DAMN STUPIDITY ONCE AND FOR ALL. Amen. 

Thanks for being here PA. 


P.S. Was just thinking further about this, and realizing so much of this is about accepting a PROCESS, and being PATIENT to go through the process, and be WILLING to find SOLUTIONS, to work things out in whatever ways are doable. Does everything have to be all or nothing with me? No it does not. I can always go more than once to the auto shop. I can go to several different ones if necessary over a longer period of time, and break repairs up into different sessions, according to priorities based on safety. LORD, GIVE ME THE WILLINGNESS TO WORK THINGS OUT, AND ACCEPT LIFE AS A PROCESS, NOT A ONE-HIT WONDER. Let me learn to accept life on life's terms, not my own fantasies. So much of this is about being willing to respond to things in life and work things out. Because I always had people do things for me, I had a "buffer zone" and never learned how to face life responsibly, responding directly to situations. I need my Higher Power to help me respond to life and be willing to work things out! As an adult, and not a fearful, lazy child. That's not what I am. I am an adult who is CAPABLE, and I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!

@Rising up

You sound so much like me.  My late husband could never understand how I could make so much of a performance of something that he thought was simple, and I just kept avoiding and avoiding and avoiding.

Remember we are behind you and sending waves of encouragement your way


Good Luck Rising Up

Wishing you well with this task. It sounds like you have made a good plan and I hope things go well at the garage.

All the best,


@rising up

I relate 100%. Right now I am going through something similar wrt going to the dentist. 

@rising up

Solidarity to you. This is a task I would also find difficult. I sincerely hope you can get what you need done. You're right, you can get it done in whichever fashion gets it done. It doesn't have to be usual or perfect. In time you can teach yourself to deal with these situations.

 Thinking of you. 


Well, you seem to have given yourself all pep-talk anyone could give. You seem to have all the right answers and be on the right track. I echo your prayer for yourself. May God grant you the serenity to accept the things you can't change, and the courage to change the things you can (and the wisdom to tell the dif).

BTW your situation sounds A LOT like mine.

And WB

the touch of the master's hand:

fall down seven times, get up eight - japanese proverb


Thanks Clement


Hi Clement, thanks for the support, and nice hearing from you.

I haven't been visiting as often but try to stop by at least weekly. I figured writing out this dilemma would be like taking one of the steps, letting God and someone else know the nature of my problem. It definitely helped relieve some of the angst. I still didn't take car in, but God gave me a solution yesterday after posting this: I will get some of the easier repairs done first, and then the brakes in a separate visit. This way my fear of the brake situation doesn't interfere with getting the other easier stuff done. It's a compromise for now anyway ... 

Thanks for writing and the prayers and I hope you are doing well!