If you read the update at the bottom of my last post, “We Will Not Bother You Again”, you will remember that the transmission in my wife’s car petered-out completely. What I didn’t tell you is that issue was happening for months. Initially, we paid to have a refurbished one installed. It failed within a week or two. Since it was under (limited) warranty, we had another (again, refurbished) one put in. A couple of weeks later it began slipping while shifting. So, back to the shop for a third one.
Are you seeing a pattern here?
You guessed it… it began failing again. Up to this point, it didn’t cost us beyond the outlay for the first one. However, the next one would. And it would cost dearly. The shop was not willing to keep replacing it with a refurbished one. I understand, not only was it costing them for the warranted labor but they wanted to be sure the repair would last.
If I wanted it replaced (again) then it would have to be new (or manufacturer certified). Although I wouldn’t be charged for labor, I would for the transmission… minus what I already paid.
Now, this car is seven years old with high mileage, but I was hoping for at least a couple more years from it before this all happened. As a matter of practice, we buy used vehicles and run them into the ground. I’m appalled at myself if they are worth a cent more than wholesale parts when I sell them.
Still, this was different because I would have no confidence in it now. With Sue driving to our cabin at night on windy mountain roads in remote West Virginia, well, my decision was made to get rid of it. On top of that, I put off replacing on badly needed new tires.
I knew it wouldn’t be right to sell it to someone else, so I took it to a few dealerships for appraisals. I sold it to the highest one.
We saved money, in reserve, each month toward our next car purchase. Unfortunately, like I said before, I was planning on a few more years to accumulate it. Also, I refuse to pull a loan to buy a car for personal use. Contrary to what a car salesperson says, it’s not an investment for most people. For it to be such then it would be used for revenue production. So, since I won’t be buying a vehicle that will directly do this (or accumulate in value, like a classic) then it is simply an expense.
With cash in hand, and not a penny more, it was now time to find another.
Before ever setting foot on the dealership’s lot, the selection process is complete for us, mostly. This is based on research that always includes safety (e.g., crash-worthiness, survivability, insurability, etc.) and cost of ownership (e.g., gas mileage, average repairs, etc.).
That’s the easy part because it’s all readily available by poking around the internet. The hard part is agreeing on the type/style. With everything needed for traveling with Ryan, we agreed it must offer spacious cargo/trunk space. Beyond that, ah, let’s just say it became more complicated. For me, I’m not big into cars but I’ve always believed that a pickup truck would be the best solution. I appreciate their functionality. Anyhow, the conversation went something like this:
Me: How would you feel about getting a pickup truck?
Her (without saying it out loud): Hell, no!
Well, that didn’t go well. So I change my approach and silently scolded myself for not leading with the following question.
Me: Aside from cargo space, what other features are you wanting?
Her: It must safe… and good in the snow.
Me: Agree. What else?
Her: A drink holder that can handle my Diet Coke Super Big Gulp. After that, I’m pretty much set.
I silently think, “A pickup can do that! Hell, you could put a 50-gallon tank of Diet Coke in the cargo bed!” but say nothing. I’ve been burnt before by coming in too hot.
Me: Okay, I’ll pull together some options in our price range for us to look at tomorrow.
The next day I broached the possibility of getting a pickup truck and again met with the same resistance. What’s different is I think I know why she feels so opposed and approached it from that angle.
Me: You know, pickup trucks have come a long way from the days when we were young. They no longer have just a springy, two-person bench seat and stick shift transmission. In fact, they can be quite roomy and luxurious inside. Would you at least take a look?
Her: Okay, but I doubt it’ll change my mind.
But… she did! She was amazed by them, actually. So, off we went to the dealership that donated Ryan’s handicap van to him, Koons Tysons Toyota.
We bought the best that we could afford, with $35 to spare. The truck is five years old, yes, but the mileage is fairly low (26,000 miles) and it is in otherwise fine condition. For the car junkies out there, it is a black, 4-door, 4×4, with a 5.7-liter V8 engine, and 6-speed automatic transmission.
Even better, she not only got her huge drink holder… she now has five of them… and a seat warmer!