Sunk Costs Revisited or The Value of Trust

Transmission fluid on the floor
Transmission fluid in my underground parking spot.

Recently, I posted about some repairs to The Beast, my 2002 F150 pickup.

I used the story of a major repair followed by the need for a second major repair as an example of sunk costs and how to decide whether to keep spending or cut your losses.

The Beast now has a solid front end, a new (used) transmission, and runs beautifully.

Except that the transmission leaks.

Just a little.

But enough to create a pool on the polished concrete in our underground parking garage.

After about a month, I had to add a half litre of transmission fluid to bring it back up.

Now here’s the dilemma:

The transmission is on warranty. I can get a new one for up to 90 days, for free.

That is, the part is free, but the labour will be another grand.

Or I can keep leaking and add about six litres of transmission fluid over the year I hope to keep it on the road.

Apart from the damage done by dumping, albeit slowly, 6 litres of pink oil on the road, I face a bigger issue.

I don’t trust it anymore.

On a recent long trip, I untied the ropes holding the canoe to the front of the pickup every time we stopped to check the fluid.

Whenever I heard an unusual noise, usually from the wind and occasionally from another vehicle, I tensed up and rolled down the window to try to determine the source.

Each morning when I leave for the office I check underneath to see how much fluid has seeped onto ground.

In pure dollars and sense, it makes sense to keep driving and just add a little fluid.

From an environmental standpoint, it is better, though perhaps only incrementally, to do the repair.

But from a stress standpoint, what’s the right decision?

How much is trust worth?

Sure he’s strong and provides for you, but do you trust him?

Yeah, she’s gorgeous and fun to travel with, but do you wonder?

For sure, an incredibly gifted employee with skills second to none. But you have a nagging feeling increasingly backed by hard data that every time you turn your back they’re undermining you.

How much is trust worth?

2 thoughts on “Sunk Costs Revisited or The Value of Trust”

  1. Trust. Some people trust few. Some trust many. Are you willing to embrace the risk of driving the old truck with the leaky transmission. You can enjoy it but realize it may let you down. That is the secret to trusting many people. Some will let you down for sure. As long as you know that you can enjoy the ride knowing sometime you will need to whistle while you walk. Others will never let you down. Those are perhaps harder for me to hang with because I’m not perfect. I don’t always weigh my words before I speak. I would rather enjoy my old truck than have to be careful with a new one


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