Friday, September 30, 2011

The South Will Rise Again!*

In 2007 I purchased my very own car. I have had cars before, inherited or "earned" them (I nannied for a whole summer to get a beautiful 1995 Ford Taurus Wagon, Gunther. He was a trip). Gunther had finally had it and couldn't keep his doors closed. That can be pretty dangerous with all the driving I was doing for work at the time. So to Carmax! (said with fist in the air). I was just going to "look" - isn't that always how it starts? It seems so harmless to just look. But then your eyes fall on a beaut and suddenly you can't remember your loyal car that you've just stepped away from. I test drove two cars and the Altima won out. Gunther was "sold" for $500 and Stewie and I embarked on a beautiful Roanoke, VA. We've been besties ever since that trip.

But about 18 months ago, Stewie started to get sick. I took him to several people to try and diagnose the problem and in the end I had spent roughly $1,000 fixing him up. Then we went to Ohio to see Cassie, Sarah, and Tami.

Upon returning - one morning I went out to my car, ready to go to work and be ultra productive, but I couldn't get the car to come out of park. I jimmied the steering wheel, I restarted the car, I cried, I beat the steering wheel, but nothing seemed to work. My dad came over and after making sure that I didn't miss the obvious, we googled options. We concluded that it must be the solenoid - whatever that was.

Having just dropped $1000 on Stewie's health and not knowing how much a solenoid could cost, we found a way around the situation. For the last 18 months I have been using a small screw driver to shift gears (it was annoying at first and at times I leave my car with it still in drive - I quickly figure it out and fix it...but I've gotten used to this).

Last week I got some coupons in my e-mail inbox from the dealership for a $16 oil change - oh yeah, I'll take that! There were also coupons for discounts on parts - so I figured now was as good a time as any to get this taken care of. I put in the work order and in addition to the oil change, added to have them fix the splash guard and the solenoid bit.

I pull into the dealership and a salesman directs me to the right place. He starts talking to me right away about why I've brought my car in, etc. He starts talking to me about 2012 models and test drives. He's got a Turkish accent and lazy eye are both are kind of endearing (I won't lie). But I resist and Ryan gets me out of there before I can be pulled into anything else.

Ryan and I walk into Kyle's office and I feel like we are at the doctor's office...I say so and then I say, "Give it to me straight, I can handle it." Kyle laughs. We are best friends. We leave the car and go to lunch. An hour later Kyle calls me to tell me that the diagnostic test has come back. For the gearshift - they can't replace only the solenoid, they have to replace the entire gearshift! What does that set someone back? $750!!

So there I am, sitting at my desk thinking, "Put me on the phone with the Turk, he can get me a deal." I ask Kyle if I can think about it. I call my dad, hoping/knowing he'll talk me out of whatever my impulsive desires are driving me to do. Dad debates it - it almost sounds like he wants a new car and wants me to get a new car. Where is the dad that would drain piggy banks on cars just to get a little more time with them? But then Dad pulls through and mentions all the other expenses I currently have or am sure to have being a homeowner. Seal the deal. No new car for this girl.

I felt confident about my decision, I called up Kyle but he was at lunch. I missed his return call but called back right away. "Let's go for it!" I tell Kyle. But I also had some questions. Kyle had mentioned the splash guard, the oil pressure gauge thingy, and the rear brakes. I ask him how much the breaks would cost - $385 *ugh!* (that's what I said) and there's the oil pressure do-hickey - did I want to take care of that now? I ask how much...$90."Is it really important Kyle? Is a dohickey really important?" Actually it came out like this, "You're killing me, Kyle!" He nervously laughed. It is like the doctor - he has to be the bearer of bad news.

I take a deep breath and think:

Oil Change - $16

Replace breaks - $385

Fixed splash guard - $25

Oil Pressure dohickey - $90

Gearshift replacement - $750

Labor Costs - $Who knows how much!?

Paying an arm and a leg to have a car like new - limbless, err, priceless

"Okay, let's just do it all now and get it over with." (Same mentally I have with a box of Twinkies).

Kyle informs me that I will pay $600 for today and the rest next week when they are able to replace the gearshift. Ryan picks me up from work and we go so I can give them all my money.

Saul (the Turk car salesman) sees me come in and runs over to tell me what else he can give. Free oil changes, state inspections, car washes, tire rotations...for life. Car payment less than what I pay now for a car 6 years newer and several thousand dollars more (before rebate and trade in). "Just take a test drive, no hard feelings if we get back and you say 'no thanks'." So - we go for a test drive.

Nothing too spectacular - nothing that would get me to purchase a new car. But as we talked about what Saul could get me and I considered what the future expenses could be on a car that has already put me through a lot - I went with it.

Sadly, they were down two people in the finance department - so Ryan and I ended up being there from 5 - 10:30 (I didn't decide to buy the car until 6:30 though). Saul brought lemonade for Ryan and me and we played Boggle on my phone. We got a tour of the place, we emptied out my car, Saul changed my license plates over (and gave me a special VIP license plate holder thingy). Saul even said that if there was anything I didn't want - leave it in the car...there were 5 bags of Goodwill stuff I have been meaning to drop off for quite possibly a year. So - new car and a goodwill run checked off of my to-do list....bonus.

And what did I do with my new car? I drove to Carter Mountain on Saturday (details to tomorrow or something).

P.S. the new car's name is Diego - inspired by the great movie, Mask of Zorro. Thanks Ryan for the suggestion!


Meggan said...

so where's the pic of this new car:)

Lildonbro said...

It's coming!

Lildonbro said...
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