So we recently came home from a weekend away and discovered that one of the front tires on my car was flat. The car had over 100,000 miles on it and we knew the front tires needed to be replaced. And we’d been debating whether or not it was time to sell it and move on.
But how do you know when that point is? I mean, you could probably drive it for another 100,000 miles – but how much are you going to spend in pieces and parts to fix it and keep it running? And where is the point of diminishing returns?
For me, the biggest question is: Does your husband work at a car dealership?
Since the answer to that last question is “yes,” it was a no-brainer. And, let me tell you, it was the easiest car deal I ever had to contend with. I drove to Vince’s office, signed my name a couple times and they handed me the key. Wow. This is how I want to get every new car from now on!
And, yeah, okay, so I also had to hand over my credit card and put some money down on the deal – but I didn’t have time to dwell on that part too much.
In contrast, when I bought the Mazda over eight years ago in the PVE (that would be the Pre-Vince Era), I spent literally weeks online researching cars and trying to find out exactly what I should pay for the car I wanted with the options and features I desired.
When I finally steeled myself for the trip to the actual car dealership, I went in armed with a notebook filled with my research and, because I am so lousy at math, I even had a cheat sheet of incremental percentage points over what I (and Consumer Reports and Edmunds.com) perceived the car should cost. I was so prepared I even had the VIN number of the car I was interested in. To make the deal as simple as possible, I had no trade-in, my financing was in place and ready to go and I just kept saying “No!” whenever they suggested something new.
Yeah, I’m sure those folks loved me. Fortunately, they were nice enough not to boot me out of the office or throw the key and paperwork out after me.
But that was then and this is now.
Now I’m driving a 2013 Volkswagen CC. It’s white. It has a beige and black two-toned leather interior. It has really cool headlights and taillights. And, oh happy day, it even has a Navigation System. So now – just because I can – I sometimes turn that sucker on and press “home” and it provides me with turn-by-turn directions even if I know exactly where I am and precisely how to get home.
It’s weird because it’s the first car I’ve ever leased and it doesn’t feel like “my” car. Instead, I feel like I’m sort of borrowing it. This is silly because even when I purchased a car, it still wasn’t “mine” for several years until I’d paid it off.
But it’s probably better that I think of it as borrowed since I’ll think twice before painting my fingernails while stopped at a traffic light lest I accidentally drop the open bottle on the carpeted floor. Or I might just refrain from eating that marinara-covered meatball sandwich so as to not mar the lovely beige and black leather car seat when I inevitably drop a meatball.
While Vince is not currently in my line of vision, I am quite sure he is vigorously nodding his head in agreement. If he had his way, I wouldn’t even carry a purse or library book or briefcase or lunch bag with me every day. And any grocery bags would be double-bagged for additional spill protection for the ride home in the trunk.
There are a couple negatives about driving my new car. Like, for instance, I have to worry about other drivers dinging my car door. I can park at the far end of the parking lot, but sure as I’m sittin’ here, I would go out to the back 40 and find a crappy beater parked so close to my shiny new car that I’d have to crawl into the passenger seat and climb over the gear shift in order to get in to get away from said beater.
Another negative thing about driving my new car is that I was told that I needed to use premium fuel. Really? Darn. My monthly gas budget has just increased exponentially. I far prefer driving a car that uses plain ol ‘regular unleaded.
And, finally, a third negative about driving this new car is that this one is only a 4 cylinder as opposed to my 6-cylinder Mazda. Sure, it has some sort of rocket booster thing-a-ma-jig on it so that it will go from 0 to 60 in mere seconds. Blah, blah. But it’s that first push to get it moving into traffic that is scary. There was no hesitation whatsoever with my Mazda and I could zip into a line of cars traveling at speeds way higher than the posted speed limit without garnering the ire of my fellow commuters.
But I’m getting used to my new CC and now know when I can safely merge into traffic without hearing the blare of horns from pissed off drivers. And car dings are a fact of life. I will just hope that this one’s dings are few and far between.
Plus, a 4-cylinder engine really does get better gas mileage than a 6-cylinder. Makes that expensive gas a little less hard to take.
And I have a Navigation System!
Road trip, anyone?!