Getting a new car isn't a big deal for a lot of people. I know folks who trade in every two years for a different car, which is something I totally don't get because I would think people would look forward to having the payments end but I guess to each their own. However, I do NOT fit in that category! Even the thought of having to get a new car is something that can put me in panic mode. Maybe it is the sentimental attachment I have to my cars, maybe it's the idea of not having payments, maybe it's the idea of having to deal with financing and slick talking salesmen...or a combination of all of it. Of course my fear of commitment probably has something to do with me staying attached to a vehicle for a long period of time, I want to make sure it is something I really, really, really want to have before I make a final decision and commit to driving it until the wheels are ready to fall off. I turned 49 in December and during my life of driving I have only owned 4 cars. Yes you read that right...4 cars in 30 years.
My first car was a '77 Camaro and I got it when I was 18 and about ready to start college. Up to that point I drove the family truck. Oh how I loved that car! I bought it used, obviously, and it had been well taken care of. Luckily my uncle was a mechanic and I learned to do a lot of the repairs myself. I changed the starter, battery cables, distributor cap, fixed the a/c, changed the head gasket cover, change out the oil sending unit, and a few other things with nothing but instructions given over a phone most of the time. A few times, luckily I had a very long phone line and could put the phone out the window and have the hood of the car up, I called my Aunt Betty and she would relay to Uncle Perk what my car was doing and the sounds it was making and he would tell me what I needed to do. I remember one time, before they had moved back to Ohio and now they live back in Oklahoma again, there was something I was doing and he evidently decided it would be too difficult for me to complete and he came down. I was standing outside next to my car *okie thinks that sounds so silly since she would be standing inside next to her car* and had just closed the hood when he pulled up. I'm quite sure I had a puzzled look on my face as I asked him what he was doing at my house and he said "I thought I better come down and do it for you". I told him I already had it done and he took a look and was quite impressed with me. I would probably still be driving that car today had I not had a surprise pregnancy!
Once I had my daughter I thought it would be more "motherly" to have something more family oriented and I choose to get something 4 door. Right before my daughter turned a year old I got an '87 Celebrity. Now mind you I went from a 305 8 cylinder engine to a 4 cylinder engine and the first time I tried to pull out in traffic I thought we were going to die!! DIE I TELL YOU! I was use to punching the gas pedal and zooming forward at warp speed but this car had me thinking I was going to have to get out and push the dang thing! Other than that I loved having the 4 doors and extra room in the car. Being able to get her in and out of her car seat was a breeze in the Celebrity. I did do some mechanic work on the Celebrity, mainly just changing the alternator, and I think the brake pads once. A friend of mine did a few repairs on it as well. When my daughter was in second grade my Celebrity was pooping out on us. She was quite distraught over the idea of having to get a new car and asked if we could keep it and "put it in the backyard and make a fountain out of it". Not sure where she got that idea but it was rather amusing. I was not looking forward to getting a new car and having a car payment. I had paid cash, that is one of the benefits of not buying new or almost new, for my other two cars but knew I didn't have the cash to get another car.
After much searching I ended up with a little '99 Chevy Metro. I am a bit of a Chevy gal and while some people swear by foreign cars I prefer to have American made. One of the reasons I chose that car was because of the gas mileage. At the time I was having to drive quite a bit seeing clients and it was very important to me that I could save money in gas. I did love the little Metro, and my daughter came to love it too. It was rather funny to see her friends packed into the little Metro when I would have to transport them somewhere and I remember a fight almost breaking out, good-natured that is, when she was in junior high because her friend Cameron got in the front seat because he was too tall to fit in the back for even the shortest of rides. My daughter and I learned how to pack that little thing down for when we would go camping at the lake and even had a certain system of being able to fit the totes and equipment in the trunk and back seat. My Metro started giving out on me and I wasn't sure I wanted to put the money into the car for repairs or get something else. One day when complaining on Facebook about not having AC my aunt said they were wanting to get rid of their Kia Sedona and the AC worked great.
The '02 Kia Sedona was definitely an upgrade from anything I had before. I loved having power locks and windows and being able to sit up high and easily see all around. It was rather amusing that at that point in my life I had no kids at home and it was just me and little Lucy riding in the van most of the time. It sure would have came in handy when Shiane was growing up and taking her friends around but ya know that's how it goes sometimes. The Kia started leaking oil a few months ago and the AC hasn't worked the past two summers but I was able to deal with all that until the first of December. I was on my way from McCalls to the office for a staff meeting when some lady slammed into the back of my van. I truly believe she was texting and driving because of the different statements she made, which I won't bore you with. It took almost two months for her insurance company to "decide we will take liability" for the accident. I had already given them the police report and my statement but she wasn't answering her phone to talk to them and they said they had to talk to her. My next dilemma was should I use the money and go get the van fixed or use the money and get a new car...decisions, decisions.
After much contemplation I decided on getting a new car, new to me that is. I had looked at the Nissan Versa's and Sentra's when my daughter got her car at the Nissan dealership in town and I also liked the guy that sold her car to her. I hate car salesmen, think I mentioned that in the beginning of the post. Johnathan was a nice guy and I felt I could deal with him. When I started my search I found out he was no longer at the Nissan dealership but was instead at the Chevy dealership. I did go to the Nissan dealership and ended up test driving a new Versa, I had told the salesman I didn't want a brand new car and he insisted on me test driving one. I have a friend who has a Versa and he is very happy with it. At this time I had also been search the Chevy models and really liked the specs on the Cruze and I knew the Chevy dealership and several on their lot. I am a very practical person when it comes to many things in life and I am probably overly practical when it comes to cars. A car is something to get me from point A to point B with the least amount of effort, time and money. I am pretty much a no frills car kinda person but I did know I wanted power locks and windows and wanted something where the AC worked and it had to have cruise control!
Yesterday I searched out Johnathan at the Chevy dealership and while he got moved to the finance department on Monday he said since I searched him out he would make sure I got a salesman he trusted. Of course I think that was probably a line of bull but at least I knew I could be perfectly honest about things with Johnathan and he wouldn't take offense. One of the things that made me like Johnathan was that he didn't have a fake smile plastered on his face all the time, he didn't look like some kinda cartoon character grinning from ear to ear. I had already done my research, I had my quote from Nissan ready and all that was left was for me to test drive the Cruze, which I did. The salesman, Justin, looked a little nervous a few times and probably rightly so. Anyway after bouncing things around in the finance office with Johnathan and me telling him Nissan could give me a better deal, debating car payment and down payment, I ended up walking out of there the proud owner of a Certified 2012 Chevy Cruze! My requirements of power windows, AC and cruise control were met and I got much more. It's going to take me hours of reading to figure things out on this car as it does have frills such as bluetooth, heated leather seats, remote start, power other things and so on. I am quite sure I could have my daughter in the car with me and within 30 minutes she would have it all figured out and be explaining to me. There will likely be some features I never use because I just don't know how to use them or I haven't figured out I have them!
I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I don't have to even think about getting another car until I'm 60!
I love reading your stories!!ReplyDelete
Four cars.... wow!!
I am not one that likes change nor am I one that has to have a new car.
You mentioned that you thought a person might look forward to no payments and that is surly me. I never went and bought a car on my own before my sweetie passed away because he would go find a car and bring it home to see if I would like it.
We were always GM kinda people but this last time I got a Ford. No reason other than it was the best deal and it still had 3 years warranty left on it and it was very low miles. I often wonder what my sweetie is thinking when he looks down and sees me driving a FORD 4 DOOR. I never had a 4 door or a Ford when he was living. It is just a car unlike my Grand Prix or my Cutless Supreme. Now I loved those cars and when my Grand Prix's engine went I cried and cried. It is gone on but the Oldsmobile I still have sitting in my Driveway as we put a brand new engine in it and that was what my husband was driving when he passed away.
I owe so sympathize with you. I'm one for keeping a car til it's death. Before getting my SUV, I only owned 4 other cars.ReplyDelete
WOW, WOW, WOW ... I read every word of this entire post ... lengthy, yes ... but worth the read. However, I am still in shock and stuck on the last line of the first paragraph ... 4 cars in 30 years! WHOA! Then after doing the math, I realized that is just slightly under 8 years per vehicle. But still, 4 cars in 30 years is amazing! Like you, I tend to hold onto my cars too. Mostly because I love the freedom of not having car payments, but also because I hate, hate, hate the car buying process. I always buy new cars ... my reason is that I know absolutely nothing about cars and would never be able to fix one if it broke, so it must work properly and have a fabulous maintenance agreement too. I totally admire that you are so great at fixing your own vehicles and wish I was too. My current car (Acura TSX), purchased new in the spring of 2004, has been absolutely fabulous for me. Other than regular vehicle maintenance (as suggested by the manufacturer), I have only had to change the battery once, and also change the windshield wiper blades once. I'd say that's pretty darn good for a car that is only 2 months away from the 11th anniversary of it's purchase (knock on wood). And best of all ... no car payments in OVER 6 years. Yippeeee!ReplyDelete
Although I've owned more cars than you, I also find one I like and drive it until it's either wrecked or completely worn out. Car shopping rates right up there with getting a root canal on my list of fun things to do.ReplyDelete
Congrats!!! It's a good looking car.ReplyDelete
Congrats, enjoy your new vehicle!ReplyDelete
Congrats on your new car and my hat goes off to you for buying American! My husband is a retired Die Maker with General Motors, he thanks you too! Best of luck with your new vehicle!ReplyDelete
You will love the remote start! It works whether you need heating or cooling. And it is not hard to figure out. This was a requirement on the car I am driving now & I love it.ReplyDelete
I hate car shopping and I hate payments. I don't like buying news vehicles either, don't want the payments! Your car stories sound like mine. Hubby and I drive a vehicle until the wheels fall off too and when my van was on it's last leg, I was so sad to give it up. I wanted another van but all 6 of my boys were grown and I really didn't need a van. But like how high you sit in one and I love the space one gives. lol But hubby wanted a car so I compromise and we got a car, a Linclon MKZ. It too has all the bells and whistles on it, heated and cooled leather seats, CPS, bluetooth, etc...Half, like you, I don't know how to use. I don't drive that much and a tank of gas can last me up to 2 months. lol If I drove the car more I would know it better. But, and this we have never done, hubby doesn't like a car like he thought he would and wants to trade it back in on something else. He now wishes we would have gotten a SUV. So I think this is one vehicle that we might not keep very long for the first time ever. I'm attached to it now, so it will be hard for me to give her up. Yes, like you my cars become my babies. lol Our car is a nice car and I have never had anything like it before, still can't believe it is my car. I don't know what is next as hubby always wants to take the truck over the car. But if he gets rid of it, he is going to have to get me something equal to it. lol Cause now I have become custom to the luxury of it! lol That's what happens when you get something really nice, you don't want to downgrade after that! Enjoy your card Shirley and I know that it will last you a long, long time. I'm so impressed that you could work on your cars through the years, but I'm thinking the cars of today aren't anything like the cars of yesteryear. It takes computers to fix find problems on cars now. And I guess that is the price of all this luxury we are enjoying today. Hugs, BrendaReplyDelete
Got you beat - 3 cars in 32 years! I just don't want the car payments, and will drive my car until it dies.ReplyDelete
Love your stories Okie! Congrats on the car. My co-worker had a Cruze and she loved it.ReplyDelete
Congrats on your new wheels! You are a great car shopper and I'm with you - my car is a 2001.ReplyDelete
Glad you weren't hurt in the accident and you were able to get a new to you car that you will enjoy for years to come (barring anymore texting, not paying attention drivers behind you of course!) MeFlickReplyDelete
Good for you Okie! Enjoy the new car.ReplyDelete
Kim S. from N. California
Shirley -- I've only had 3 myself and I'm 51. I've had a Toyota SR5, Ford Windstar Northwoods, and my current 2005 Ford Escape. I have dreams going to multiple car lots and driving multiple cars. One thrilling car after another and picking one, driving home and then wondering if I made the right decision. Then I wake up. Needless to say I do not look forward to car shopping at all. If my husband can keep it running, I'm all for it. Plus I don't think I'm ever buying a new car again. If they want me to pay $30,000 for a freakin car, it better last longer than 12 years. -- Kathy WyattReplyDelete
Congrats on the new car! I dread getting a car also!!ReplyDelete