For the 2nd time in a row, I am late with getting my blog post out. My excuse is that I’ve been to hell and back trying to buy a car.
Let me explain. I have a 1999 Honda with just over 157,000 miles on it that I had planned on driving to the 200,000 mile point. Since it’s a Honda, I thought my expectations were reasonable. However, 10 days ago, as my husband and I were driving back from dinner, going about 40mph, the engine stopped. The dashboard lights and the phone charger light were lit, but the engine was not running. Fortunately, my husband was driving and was able to move into the left hand turning lane. The car could actually start up, but if Gary didn’t get it into drive and move quickly, it would stall again. After 3 stops/starts and 1 “let the engine cool and jiggle some wires,” Gary got us home. Yes, he totally rocks!
I used Google and found that I am not the only Honda owner to have experienced this problem. Yes, I could try to get it fixed, but the forums that I found with other drivers who have had this problem did not show any promising solutions. Multiple posts from the same people said they have had their car in and out of the shop for months and still have not had it resolved.
Since I am not the type of person who is willing to sacrifice safety on the road, my car has sat in the garage. I have borrowed a car from a friend and for the last 10 days, have driven myself crazy with the research and process associated with buying a car.
Attention to the details
In case you are not aware by now, I am one of those people who needs to know that she is getting the best product for the best price. My definition of what a “best car” would look like is:
- Is safe and reliable
- Has good fuel economy
- Is quiet
- Has good power/acceleration
- Has a smooth ride/Doesn’t feel every bump on the road
- Has navigation, bluetooth, backup camera with sensors, and has a side assist package that lets me know there is someone in my blind spot.
- Has the exterior/interior colors I am looking for
- Has a great price
To compare and contrast all of these factors, I looked at Consumer Reports, Edmunds, TrueCar, and Car and Driver. My first choice for a car was the Mini Cooper 4-door Countryman. Unfortunately, it has a low reliability rating. I’m not going to spend a ton of money buying an unreliable car no matter how cute I think it is!
The chosen car
After looking and/or test driving Hyundai’s, Toyotas, Subarus, Lexus’s, and Audis, the car of choice is the Audi Q5 diesel which has good fuel economy. Whew! Well, now that we’ve decided the car and the options and colors we want, the rest should be smooth sailing, right? No! Trying to find a car with the combination we want has been an arduous task. We finally heard there is a model that meets our criteria in southern California and we are still waiting to hear whether the car is ours or not.
Finding that great price
In order to determine what the best price I could get for a car, I submitted requests through TrueCar, ADP, USAA and Costco. These requests, in turn, sent queries to dealers in our area. In addition, I found out my credit union has a car concierge who will help with your car buying needs. With all these different queries, I actually made myself crazy because of the number of people who were contacting me by phone and email. The bottom line is that Costco has come in with the best price.
How this process has affected me
I’ve had 3 cars in my lifetime. All of which were “utilitarian cars” below $25,000. The last car I bought was 15 years ago, back when cars were not as expensive as they are today. Now, in my 50s, I find that I would like a more luxurious car. My friends would say, “You’ve worked hard all your life, you deserve it.” That is true, Yet, I still have a very difficult time wrapping my head around the cost of the luxury and niceties. I’m typically a “save for a rainy day” person. This process has been a struggle for me.
Why is it that I find it difficult to treat myself to something nice? I’m always looking at “need” vs. “want.” Most of the time, when it’s a “want to have,” I talk myself out of buying it.
In this instance, a new car is a “need AND want.” So, I’m able to justify it. I really shouldn’t have to justify it; both Gary and I deserve to have a nice car. Maybe someday, I’ll figure out how to stop looking at “need” vs. “want.”
Question: Do any of you have this same struggle? You’ve worked hard all your life; Do you find it difficult to treat yourself?