Sunday, September 30, 2007

Who do you think is more reputible: Hoppy Harry's Used Car Extravaganza or the dealership where the guy dresses up as a giant crawfish?

I have to buy a new car. Well, a car that is new to me. My highest limit is $10,000.00 which will buy me approximately three specialty coffee drinks from Starbucks or a car with no wheels and three hundred thousand miles on it. My current car only has two hundred eighty thousand miles on it so you can imagine I am a bit stressed.

I've known that this was coming for awhile but that doesn't make it any more fun. Every time I attempt to look at cars online or even think about wandering over to a used car lot I wind up taking to bed, mildly ill, and having to sleep for a few hours depending on how long I actually spent contemplating the "new" car. As you can imagine this is becoming a huge handicap as I am sleeping away my weekends in three hour chunks and nodding off as I drive by dealerships on my way home.

There have been many things that I didn't want to do in my lifetime which I still did, but very few things I simply couldn't do, like cleaning up the bits of my dead baby hamsters after the mom decided that they made good snacks. You can equate my desire to locate, inspect, purchase and drive a new car with my desire to pick up the gruesome remains of a hamster murder scene when I was just a little kid. I simply can't do it. My mom had to be the CSI team that took care of that horror. I think my energy may be better spent trying to find someone else do this task for me as well. Unfortunately my mom knows less about cars than a thawed out cave man so I can't turn to her again in my time of weakness.

What I need is someone to locate said car, barter down said deal, find said financing and give me said keys. In turn I will pay for the car, drive the car, and be able to resume regular function of my day to day life. It doesn't need to be a good looking car, just a car that will be very reliable and run well.

I understand that in my price range I am only going to get an ugly car that will last me a few years until someday when I optimistically believe that I will be able to upgrade to something that has all matching doors. The car also has to be able to handle harsh weather; it has to be able to clear two feet of snow driving up over a mountain pass that gains 2500 vertical feet in a raging blizzard. Don't laugh, my 4runner has never had any trouble doing this. My cursed 4runner has has trouble with every other freaking task EVER except for this.

Is it okay if the car doesn't have air conditioning because though it would be nice in the over hundred degree (over 38C according to Google) weather I regularly experience when it isn't snowing, I haven't ever had a vehicle with air conditioning since moving here and therefore wouldn't even know what I was missing. The new car must also not get worse mileage than 21-26 mpg (I am not googling kilometer conversion, I've made you soft with the Celsius conversion already) as that is what I get now and cannot budget for less. I will be cutting holes in the floor of the driver's side and manually running the car around if I have to settle for less.

I am cognizant of the potential for how humiliatingly ugly that this car must be but that doesn't mean that my ego isn't aching a bit at the prospect. My current vehicle is mechanically shot but miraculously still looks pretty good from the outside. In the seven years that I have called it my own, after buying it outright from cash I had painstakingly saved from every job I'd ever had, I've replaced: three head gaskets, two engines, the entire cooling system twice, three clutches, every ball bearing several times over, all the belts several times over, the breaks once, the heater once and a litany of other parts. I suspect the only original bit is the driver's seat.

That damn cursed vehicle has cost me easily three times the original sticker price and buried me deep in debt. Yet it still looks pretty from the outside. Imagine this vehicle in white. It even manages to look as though I could shave a few years off of it; people regularly guess it to be a '98 or '99 when it is a '91. I can only hope that my future vehicle won't have spray painted curse words on it, be missing both fenders, the muffler, and have four mismatched wheels.

In my failing and pathetic pursuit to find friends and a date I fear that bumping up in my sweet sweet POS ride isn't going to help my case right from the get go. I'll be working even harder to overcome the plumes of smoke that follow me and the fact that I have to start the thing with a screwdriver by jimmying the distributor cap. You would think I might be better off with my current ride but you would be wrong. I have to get a "new" car very soon and I have no idea how I'm going to do it. I'm just not psychically or mentally capable. I'm making up excuses to stay away from my computer. My bookshelf has never been more alphabetized but I'm wasting daylight.

Augh. I have to lie down now. All this talk of attempting to buy a car is making me light headed and heavy hearted. I better start carving up a shank and practice walking long distances, the American public transit system is pretty bad.


Andy said...

I'll volunteer.

sallyacious said...

So bad at buying cars myself. Really, really bad at it. I've been lucky and always had someone to take along with me who isn't bad at it, and this last time, we bought new, but still. Ugh.

My sister-in-law, on the other hand, is AMAZING at buying cars. She's done very, very well for herself on that front. I wish I knew her secret. I'd share it with you.

Good luck. And may I suggest the classifieds? The last two cars my husband and I bought used were purchased through the classifieds, and we drove them forever.