Car Shopping


Our poor van is no more.

It's had an issue for a while where it pulls to one side suddenly as you're going around a corner or whatever. Derek thought it was the sway bar, but then he replaced the sway bar and it didn't fix the problem.

Remember last weekend when Derek and I were working outside together? That's when he discovered this:



See that part there (at least I'm pretty sure that's the part)? It has a big crack in it. You can't see it in the picture, but it's there, trust me.

We were hoping that was just a little localized piece that Derek could replace. But no, that's part of the base frame of the car.

At first Derek thought that maybe he could get it welded back together, but it turns out that the base frame is aluminum, and aluminum doesn't hold very well when you weld it.

He looked into how much it would cost to replace it, and it would cost somewhere from $2,000 to $5,000!

I'm sorry, Old Friend, but you're just not worth that much money.

So basically we've been forced into purchasing a new vehicle.

It kind of stinks, because we have to go back into debt to do it. We were pretty much debt-free except for the house payments, and it felt so good. Rats.

But what're you going to do, you know? Derek has to be able to get to his work, and I have to be able to get to my work, so we needed to get something.

So on Friday we ventured out into the world of car dealerships to look at a few cars Derek found on the internet.

The first one was at a rather big, nice-looking dealership. It was an Isuzu SUV, and it was a pretty nice car, but Derek did his exam and found that it could possibly have an oil leak, and it looked like it was burning oil. We decided we better look at some other vehicles too before deciding.

We called on a Ford Escape, but alas, it was sold that very morning. So off we went in search of a Dodge Durango that Derek found on the internet.

We had to drive through a rather run-down area of town past alot of little dealerships. I told Derek that I didn't like these places.

We finally found the road that the elusive dealership housing the Dodge was supposed to be on. Finally Derek pointed out the dealership.

It had about fifteen to twenty cars parked out front. The building was rather small, made of brick, located right underneath a railroad track. Giant trees towered above the little lot, and a dirt road led around the back, to where a little house with peeling paint sat.

Derek reminded me that we're buying a car, not a dealership.

We got out of the car and Derek told me to lock the doors.

We walked into the little building. The inside was rather grimy looking, with several dusty chairs and a desk that was bowed in the middle. It reeked of smoke.

Even though our first impression was not good, the car checked out with Derek. It was dirty on the inside, smelled a bit like smoke, the windshield had a crack in it, and the brakes were shot, but you can clean the inside of a car, the cracked windshield would do until we could replace it, and my handy husband could change the brakes easily. Beside those fixable problems, the vehicle seemed solid.

We still weren't quite sure though and decided to check out a Land Rover at a different dealership. This dealership was small, but nice-looking as well. We took the Land Rover for a test drive and it checked out.

For some reason the inside was falling apart though - the glove compartment hinges were broken, and little compartment on the dashboard was just set in place, not secured, and the middle console lid had the hinges removed. Not sure what was up with that, but really they were all minor problems that could be fixed easily.

However, we found out that Land Rovers are English cars, which I was not aware of. Not that I hate English cars or anything, but the systems of English cars are arranged much differently than American cars, and to be honest, the arrangement doesn't really make sense. As in, you may have to take out the entire engine to replace a water pump or something like that.

So even though my hubby is brilliant when it comes to working on cars, he may not be able to fix everything on it just because of the arrangement of the parts. And that kind of worried me, because it may be expensive to take it to someone who knows about Land Rovers. Plus the parts are expensive. So I was a little wary of commiting to the Land Rover.

Derek called the mechanics we usually use when there's a problem on a vehicle that he can't fix himself, and they confirmed that the parts are expensive, and they usually don't take Land Rovers to work on - they refer to the Land Rover dealership for repairs on Land Rovers. They also said that from what they've seen, Durangos tend to last longer, and are much less expensive to repair.

So even though the Land Rover got much better gas mileage, we figured that the cheaper cost of any repairs or parts for the Durango, and the fact that Derek could fix most things on the Durango himself, probably made the Durango a better buy for us, even though the Land Rover got better miles per gallon.

So back to the dinky little dealership we went. I would never have imagined buying a vehicle from a place like that, but we got an incredible deal, and the car checked out with Derek's inspection, so what can I say?

So I'd like to introduce our new vehicle:



Model: 2003 Dodge Durango.

Color: Silver.

Interior: Gray.

Mileage: 93,000.

Perks: Tape deck and CD player, dual climate control, feels pretty snazzy.

Drawbacks: Brakes are shot, tires need to be replaced soon.

Price: $5,300 (not including taxes).

Derek did a little research after we bought the car, and he couldn't find another Dodge Durango for sale for less than $7,000. So we feel like we got a pretty good deal!

Goodbye, Good 'Ole Van. You were good to us through all these years.

Hello New SUV. May you be as good to us as Goldie was and last as long as she did.

Here's to a new car!





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Anne said...

Hubby & I did the car-search last May when my van decided to become very unsafe to dive and with 220,000 miles, and tons of problems, not worth putting any more money into.
So I ended up with a 2003 Jeep Liberty, which I absolutely adore.

I understand that debt frustration too... but you're right, what are ya gonna do?

Anne said...

(PS: Yes, I took those rainbow pictures that are on my blog.)

Brittney Galloway said...

Congratulations on the new car! Sorry about the old one though :(

Lauren said...

Sounds like you got a great deal. We don't have a car payment right now & I'm dreading when we have to replace one or both of our vehicles!

Jenene said...

Congratulations on the new vehicle! My sister had a very similar experience just last week: dingy car dealership, even the owner looked like a shady character, but the van was in perfect condition, and they got it for a really good deal.

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