Thursday, October 7, 2010

automotive seduction

My wonderful little car has 240,000 miles on it, the tires are reaching the end of their safe zone, and the suspension is completely shot.      Mechanics can't seem to agree on whether it is an actual safety risk or not, but they are not reassuring.      I drive a couple hundred miles a week to Detroit to see family and help out Dr. Cranky, and lately I have been regularly driving on country roads and gravel paths to fish and shoot.     There is also a bash on one rear side where a woman backed into the car in a parking lot, but that is merely cosmetic so I have ignored it.     Although it hurts my feelings and probably offends my car-pal, I have been pondering my options.   One possibility is to spend several thousand dollars on repairs.   Another is to find a decent used car.   And the third is to buy new.   The idea of a new car started to gain ground when I saw how few reassuring used cars there are in my local market, because used cars have become an increasingly hot item in this economy.   So I started to look around.

I went into this car-fantasy-shopping with the most practical attitude. I started by comparing reviews and ratings in the variety of car magazines and websites.     I didn't car about style or color or any of the other ego-emotion-related features,  I just wanted a safe and reliable car with enough space to carry my gear.   I want something as dependable as the car I have now, and I want it to last as long.

But then I started to go to dealerships where I could actually see and sit in the cars, and - oh weak flesh! - I was seduced by the idea of heated seats, remote starter and bluetooth.    After all, since I have to take money out of my retirement savings to buy the car anyway, and since I plan to keep it forever, the extra $3000 or $4000 to have the car I didn't dare dream about is a bargain when you pro-rate the extra cost.

Or so the devil on my shoulder is telling me.


Anonymous said...

I think I mentioned this somewhere before but your car story reminds me of how my attitude towards "out of date" stuff has changed with the years. Now I understand why my parents would much rather fix something than but a new one. The old stuff seems so much better! Some things you can no longer buy because they don't make them the same (we had to replace a Revere Ward saucepan - and were shocked at the difference).
My 2003 Camry has only about half of the mileage your car does, and yet I want to keep it forever.
You didn't say - what kind of car do you have?

gpc said...

I know what you mean, Debbie, I definitely wish I could keep this car forever! I drive a 1997 Corolla. Because of the lapse in quality that seems to be happening in Toyota lately, I am looking at Honda and Subaru. (and I still have my 1974 revere ware!)

Little Black Scrap Cat said...

My 2005 Honda Pilot only has 30,000 miles on it. Pretty low as far as that goes, and I plan on driving it as close to forever as possible. Love my Pilot! You're right though... they just don't make things like they used to. And not just cars or cookware. Considering the markup on soft goods these day, I keep thinking someone will go back to making quality products. Seems like the big companies are just trying to save a buck. Maybe that's why many brands are disappearing. You can't expect customer loyalty if you don't provide a quality product. Good luck with your car search, Gail. (Heated seats might come in handy where you are!!) *For the record, I still have my mother & father's Ekco cookware from their wedding in 1958!

gpc said...

Wow LBSC, amazing! Your Pilot should be with you for a long, long, LONG time to come! Amazing about the Ekco, are you still using it? (yeah, I covet those heated seats, for sure. it's already cold in the morning here . . . )

Don said...

When it comes to cars, the expression "they don't make 'em like the used to" is a good thing. Cars today are better than ever.

In the "good old days", you would never get 240,000 miles out of a car. You were lucky if you got 100,000 and even then it was junk.

My attitude when I buy a car? I buy it to keep until it breaks, so I don't buy used and I buy as much car as I can afford because I know I am going to keep it for a long time.

As for Toyota quality; don't believe everything you hear on the news. As an example, most of the problems with the sticking gas pedals has proven to be driver error. They actually pushed on the gas even though the thought they were pressing the brake.

I have a 2007 Honda CRV and a 2001 Camry. I love them both and wouldn't hesitate to buy either again.

Gail my attitude is YOLO (You Only Live Once). If you can afford heated seats without completely breaking the bank, go for it.

Tricia said...

I drive a Hyundai Santa Fe - when the time comes for a new car again (way off since mine is 3 years old and 65,000 miles) I will probably go back to Toyota. I owned 3 Toyota's in a row and LOVED them but I wanted the AWD and the Hyundai was so much cheaper than the RAV4 but I wish I'd gotten the Toyota frequently.

So enjoy whatever you get and splurge a little! :)