Musings of a Chicago-Born New Yorker

My No Good, Extra Crappy, Waste of Time Day

This day I’m gonna talk about sucked! It sucked in such a way that I regressed back to my 4 year old self and started singing that Barney song. You know the one if you spent any part of your childhood in front of the TV.

This story is about how my car ruined several people’s days. I love my car. I picked it out from a rotating circle pedestal at the car dealership and took it home that very night. It’s 10 years old, but it’s just so pretty, and it’s perfect for my short ass to drive around in.

But the “maintenance needed” light came on. And then the “check engine” light came on. So I took my baby to the Honda dealership to see what could be done. After an evaluation, they told me there was $3200 worth of work to be done. After my eyes finished rolling around in my head, I started asking questions.

If the problems were supposedly these terrible long-wear problems, why was this the first I’d heard of any of them? I bring my car in 1-2 times each year and fork over hundreds of dollars for issues, but no one’s ever mentioned these particular ones. I was livid and not sure what to do.

My father suggested I go over to the dealership side and see if they had any certified used cars in a reasonable price range. If we were gonna shell out thousands of dollars, we figured it should be for a car with a slightly longer life.

Fast forward 3 hrs and I had test driven and priced three cars, all with more miles and just as old as the one I already owned. I found that my car only had a trade-in value of $500.

A very nice car salesman had spent hours with me trying to see if he could find a car in my price range. An exasperated mechanic was waiting to see if I would approve the work to be done so he could start on what was sure to be 10+ hrs of work. I had spoken on the phone with both of my parents and the husband.

They all thought I should scrap my beloved car and get a newer used car and get a car note. I told them they were all insane and I wasn’t taking on a car note for a car I’d only need for 15 months. We’re not taking two cars to NYC.

I was so frustrated. I only wanted my car to last until we left for NYC. Pushing the trip back a year didn’t make much difference because she didn’t even last until the first day of spring.

Then we decided doing nothing– for now– was best. So I told the salesman thank you but no thank you. Then I told the mechanic thank you but no thank you. I got my car and drove back to my parents’ house. After more than 4 hrs at the dealership, I had only accomplished the task of getting my oil changed and tires rotated.

I felt so terrible and just knew they were all super upset because I had wasted half of their days. It wasn’t my fault, but it kind of was. I was so listless when I went to vote before heading to my parents’ house to meet the husband there. And the four of us went to dinner at my grandmother’s house. She’s… a handful. So by the time 10:30 rolled around, I just said my goodbyes and left.

It’s not at all like me to be the first one to leave a dinner party. But I just couldn’t do it. The issue with the car still wasn’t settled. But at least I’d done something good. I’d voted.

3 responses

  1. silverneurotic

    Call around to friends and family to see if anyone knows of a decent mechanic…dealerships can be a bit shady, and perhaps the issues are cheaper then the dealership quoted.

    Or, since you only need a car for 15 months or so, check the classified ads for something you can afford out of pocket (or close to). True story, I got into an accident three semesters before graduation and my mechanic knew of a car for $700…and it lasted me at least three years…and my sister drove it for a few months. Granted, it wasn’t anything special, but it got me through until I was able to get something else.

    March 22, 2012 at 19:20

    • My dad definitely followed the plan to see if there was someone who would fix the car for a better price. He thinks he’s found someone. So we’ll see.

      March 27, 2012 at 22:08

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