Wednesday, November 02, 2005

So I Have A New Car:
Of late, I've written of issues with my car, specifically the antifreeze, which was leaking. After spending $1400 (from savings bonds which had been earmarked to become actual savings, but oh well) on the car about three weeks ago, everything seemed to be running fine. And then...

Saturday, I came out of work to find a large pool of antifreeze beneath my car. So large, in fact, that combined with the flashing warnings I'd been getting, I figured I should see what was up before I even drove home. What was up was that the leak was worse than ever, and the radiator was in fact damn near empty. I risked the drive home (and it went OK, with the engine temperature staying normal) and resolved to take it in on Monday. Suzanne placed the call for me on Monday morning when she got up to get me a 1:00 appointment.

At 1:00, I took the car down and dropped it off. At 3:30, I got the call I feared from the techs. Not a mere loose connection or bad seal or faulty radiator... cracked cylinders. $900 minimum, more likely another $1500, and a total engine rebuild kinda thing. "Is there any value on trading it in?" "That's what I would do if I were in your shoes" is what the tech told me. So Suzanne hauled me down to Saturn once again and went to drop off Katy before coming back to help me pick out a car.

Some of you may be wondering why I would immediately go back to Saturn when my last Saturn had just crapped out on me. Well, I drove that car almost 90,000 miles for 10 years and, aside from one minor problem with the starter and the usual tire and battery issues (which I had in low frequency), this was really the first problem I've had with it. It was a *damn* good car.

I met with Connie, who was really great, and who had a car on the lot that was a manual transmission (my preference), manual locks/windows (my preference) Ion 2 (comparable to my 10-year-old SL2) for about $13k, which was in the right price range. She went back to her manager after I told her my tale of repair woe and got $700 back for me as a credit on my trade-in, which was great. So by the time Suzanne came back (about 10-15 minutes later) she was surprised that I had already picked out the new car. To my delight, the Saturn radios now come standard with input jacks so I could plug my iPod in, which was one of my bigger concerns about getting a new car.

I've been driving the car for a couple days now and I really love it. The financial hit was unfortunate, but survivable, taking a chunk out of my savings and forcing us into two car payments for the month of December, when we'll hopefully use Christmas money to pay off the rest of Suzanne's car. All told, I probably would have rather had more choice in when I got a new car so that I could take my time and look around, and I would really have enjoyed having my old car for another year or so and having a solid year without car payments, but... I can't complain. It's a nice car that I'm enjoying driving. It just means watching the expenses for a little while. More on that in the next post.

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