Sunday, August 18, 2013

A New Ride . . . An Adventure in Car Buying

I didn't start driving until I was 18 and was dating my first husband (who had just moved from Chicago to the suburbs and didn't drive either).

Since learning to drive, I have purchased 4 vehicles but only 1 without the negotiating assistance of a parent. My last vehicle was a Chrysler Sebring and had been a fairly quick decision.  I had gone to the dealership with internet printouts of two vehicles I wanted to drive - the Sebring and a smaller Ford SUV.  Although I really wanted the SUV, I was driving for work and the Sebring had fewer miles, a lower interest rate, and two years left on the factory warranty.  So I traded in my Dodge Intrepid and drove the Sebring home.

Fast forward 6 years, two jobs, and 95,000 miles later to a moment earlier this month.  I returned a missed call to the dealership where my Sebring was towed after overheating the day before.  At this point, we had already spent over $3000 during the past 11 months on engine sensor repairs, new tires, and brakes.  As Andy (the service rep) explained the problem, I waited to hear a total . . . and gasped when he finally said "$1700 to replace the water pump because we have to remove the engine to get to it". I began to panic -- there was no way Hubby would authorize that type of money given the amount we've already spent.  There was only one option . . . we would need to buy a new car.

Over the next ten days, we looked a newer used cars, purchased a one month subscription to Consumer Reports to do research, consulted friends via social media, and considered our options.  After looking into a number of options, we opted to secure our own financing.  This would save us from having to deal with the wheeling and dealing of the dealership financing department.

We finally settled on a Jeep Patriot.  It is the car I've always wanted and Hubby said he wanted me to have the car I had been talking about for years (I love how thoughtful he is sometimes).

I spoke with a number of dealerships to find their best price on the vehicle.  Our wishlist was simple - air conditioning, power windows (yes, they do make manual ones), and a CD system (again, they do have some with radios only). We ended our search at a dealership who was able to come in below our budget (at least before we added a lifetime warranty).

The process was fairly simple and not as time consuming as we imagined and I have to admit -- I love driving it!


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