The saga of the car

This is the plain Jane car I bought. Because of the popularity of the color, it’s hard to find in a parking lot. Is that a good enough reason to upgrade?

Most people look, test drive and buy a car. Sometimes they haggle a little (I can assure you the dealerships make out there too). Then they buy.

I’m not most people. Before the pandemic I talked about upgrading my car for one with the newer safety features. My car was nine years old with 25K miles. There wasn’t anything wrong with it. I couldn’t logically trade it in. In the end my car decided for me.

After an accident that totaled the car, I am without wheels. At first it didn’t matter as I hurt and didn’t want to go anywhere. Then I drove the beloved husband’s Hindenburg. It gets me where I need to go (like Starbucks and doctor’s appointments) but for me it feels like I’m driving an 18-wheeler. (Yes, I know it’s all in my head! You should see what’s in my head. It’s a scary place!)

Finally I started to peruse the internet for cars. It’s grim out there. No deals to be had. At least none that save globs of money (or any money at all). Not much inventory either. Dealership lots are empty. Used cars cost more than new and new cars seem to be rationed. All cars are black, gray or white. Not much else. You buy before they hit the dealership’s lot. It’s like buying a house these days. Gone before available.

After a few weeks I saw a charcoal car that was the same model as my old faithful (until she wasn’t anymore). It was the middle model – XLE. I’m sure that’s what I had before so I bought it sight unseen. It was in transit somewhere between Canada and me. Eventually it came. It did not have all the wonderful features that my old one had. Boogers.

The day after I picked it up, I went back on the dealership’s website and they were getting four new cars (all in transit). All were black or white except one. It was red. It was an upgraded model with the features I like. I had 25 miles on the new car. I talked to my sales person. He finagled a deal whereby I can buy the new car for the difference between the two plus a small ding as the new car parked at my house was now a used car (with 25 miles on it).

It’s costly but it’s exactly what I want. My logic and vanity mud wrestled for a while. So far my vanity is winning. The new red car just came in but I haven’t seen it yet. If it’s as great as the sticker says, it may get a new mama.

I’m almost always a sane and logical person but once in a while you have to kick it to the curb. The biggest surprise is that I did it with a car. I’m really not a car person. I would have put money on getting another cat before upgrading a car!

Do you ever defy logic and do what you want? Do you feel guilty when you do?

86 thoughts on “The saga of the car

  1. Car shopping defies any kind of logic. I know what you mean about lack of availability (it wasn’t like I was trying to obtain a new kidney) and since I’m not a millennial the idea of a shiny black car (which show every speck of dust or spit of moisture practically by the hour). I found a 2020 with extremely low mileage and was all set to pull the trigger and then got a message from the dealer about a brand spanking new 2021 with upgraded options and all the right colors inside and out. It also was cheaper (whaaattt?). Yeah I pounced on it. Compared to my 17 year old perfectly good used car which was like an abacus, this baby is a super computer. It’s gonna take a while to figure out how to set my favorite radio stations, let alone deal with the auto wipers/lights, etc. My book list has been replaced with an owner’s manual. Maybe by New Years, I’ll get the auto door lock feature figured out! :o)

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  2. I have two siblings who can talk about cars for an entire evening, and for me there’s no more boring of a topic. Yet, other than our health, I can’t think of a more important daily part of our lives than the wheels we all use. So no, I don’t think you have anything to feel funny about here. These are very strange times. Glad you got what you want! – Marty

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  3. Well, you recently said in all likelihood this would be the last car you bought. I cried the day I no longer owned my Buick Regal after 21 years and 84,000 miles, but its electrical issues and unsafe issues left me no option. I have had my LaCrosse for 11 years next month and a mere 8,700 miles on it. But the electrical issues have begun. Earlier this week I had it at the dealership for a new regenerator – what is that you might ask? The driver’s side window could roll down 1/3 of the way, anything more and it rolled down on its own. I said “is there a little lube or something to fix it up while I have it here?” I was told “that’s the beginning … if it does it now, down the road, it will go down and not up again.” I don’t go thru drive-thru windows, bank my mail, but let it get fixed ($185.00). Then the A/C which was charged last Summer quit working … they put dye in to find a leak and sent me on my way saying “well if it leaks, you’ll know it and you’ll bring it back and we’ll know where the leak is.” Yesterday there was a small leak of something in my garage. I look at the garage floor every time I pull out, a habit I got into with the Regal with a seal which repeatedly loosened, sending oil drips. Sigh. Finally, three of the four locks in the car are erratic. I must manually open the two passenger-side doors and the driver’s door (right next to me) unlocks on its own while I am driving, and shuts when I put it in gear. So $300.00 per each actuator button/door lock and I forgot to ask labor costs. But the fear of not getting out of the car in an emergency scares me … I have OnStar but what if it is disabled. I am a worrier to begin with … I don’t need any more gray sprigs creeping into my hair.

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      • I mentioned your accident when I took the car in – for the past few years, the former manager who passed away last October, kept lubing the doors and said “Linda – sometimes taking the door apart to do this fix, doesn’t work and you’re looking at $1000.00 at least to fix it.” But it niggled at me – I asked them to look at it more thorough when I took it in on Monday – they gave me the estimate and I said “fix all four buttons in case something goes wrong and I can’t escape from the car.” Yesterday a drunk driver drove the wrong way and crashed into two cars. Luckily the occupants in both vehicles were rescued, but both cars caught on fire. They were rescued but had to go to the hospital for observation due to shock. I patted myself on the back for just getting this done. I want to keep this car a long time. P.S. the drunk driver had a totaled vehicle but remain otherwise unscathed … of course.

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  4. I think you made a wise choice, upgrading to what you wanted. I’ve put off buying a new car as they are all white, gray or black, and I want blue. I’ll drive my old blue Honda until something major happens and it gets too expensive to fix, and then I hope to just buy something off the lot, although I have heard that you have to order ahead here in Canada too. But then when I drive by the Honda lot there seems to be lots of cars just sitting there? I did that with my last car, ordered ahead for March delivery as I didn’t want to break-in a new car in the winter weather and by March they hadn’t even started to make it, so I didn’t get it until May, six months later. The other reason I have procrastinated, (along with not going anywhere much) is I hate getting used to a new car, with all the fancy stuff/options you have to figure out on the dashboard!

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    • Locally any cars on the lot are used ones and not new. You are right about colors. There is really no selection. The red car I got was a fluke. Every few weeks they do have a dark blue one but no other colors at all. I hate getting used to a new car too. The new one has “alerts.” It beeps when I veer out of a lane or are too close to something. Not sure if it’s helpful because every time it goes off I think I’m gonna die but it’s nothing. The new car has a huge screen in the dashboard. It’s almost like a movie screen in the car but at least I can read it easily.

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  5. We live with cars a long time, so I think you did the right thing even if you had 25 miles, a ding and clearly used the “used car” in the deal! I’m the same way. I’d keep a car forever if I liked it. My current car is five years old (bought new in 2016), but is my baby. It even has a hint of “new car” smell since I’m not a smoker. I can’t imagine trading it, it’s such a sweet car for me. Enjoy your new car, Kate! You know the one you put the 25 miles on wouldn’t have been a happy car for you had you just stuck it out.

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      • The longest I kept a car was 13 years, then I traded it to a neighbor who had it another 12 years (he died). His widow sold it again, and, presumably, it’s still going because my friend and I both paid attention to routine maintenance. This car, a 1991 Chrysler LeBaron Coupe, was rated by Consumer Union as a poor buy for reliability! With one exception (a minor one), I never had a problem bigger than an oil change with it the whole time I owned it.

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  6. I’m on a waiting list for my next vehicle (RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid). Not in any rush so if it’s 2022 or later…no biggie…unless something happens to the car I am driving now. I want what I want and I want another white car (been driving white cars for the last decade) so I told the dealer there is no backup colour for me. However, I have been trying on a red car (in my mind at least) and it has possibilities… In the meantime, I keep throwing money every month into my new car savings account so it’s all good.


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    • I considered a hybrid but there were none available for the past 2 months and I need a car. With the amount of driving I do it would take a while to recoup the cost but the thought of not gassing up often intrigues me.

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  7. LOL I was leasing a car and the dealership CALLED ME to see if I would consider ending the lease early and getting a new vehicle. Never happened before. I figured I had the upper hand in the bargaining since they were the desperate ones so I walked out of there with a newer, bigger car for just a little more money a month and it is BLUE. I’m so tired of seeing white, black and gray as the only options. While I wouldn’t get a red car myself (attracts too much police attention I’ve heard) I salute you for going with what you want!

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    • I think the police story is an old wives tale. I’ve driven red cars for about 20 years and never stopped once. I was stopped in a beige car. There are a few (very few) blue cars around but you don’t see other colors like greens and beiges like you did a few years back. Congrats on your new vehicle.

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  8. Car salesmen tended to run when they saw me as I haggle and will walk if they don’t meet my terms. Sadly those days are long gone. We changed the Hyundai I10 for a Citroen Picasso in April. It was almost a non event, but we put feelers out and had a drive to Lincoln where all the main dealers are. Budget was discussed and what we were looking for in a vehicle, make was not necessarily an issue. He found one and would make enquiries. By the time we got home, sadly it was no longer available, so we shrugged our shoulders. Two days later we had an email. His boss had seen the car and was getting it in regardless, so this was not a special deal and we agreed to pay a deposit. The car was 4 years old and had 6250 miles on the clock. We do about 8000 miles a year, so this was almost like getting a new car. We are very pleased and are getting the same mileage with a 1.6 diesel engine as we were with a 980cc petrol. And yes, this one is red!!!

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  9. Congratulations! I’ve always driven gray or beige cars. My current car is white and I think I’ll
    stick with that color until I’m no longer able to drive. I feel like other drivers can see me better during my dark, early morning commutes. That said, as long as I’ve got my bun warmers, I’m happy!

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  10. I truly hope you get the red one and drive it over here to show me!!!! Oh and perhaps meet Toby too. My favorite color car is silver. It has been for years…however, if we get the little sports car I so want, it will be RED! I wish you many many happy (s)miles with your new vehicle. Do you name your cars?

    Liked by 1 person

    • No I don’t name my cars and I’m way beyond sports cars (actually I’ve never been into them myself). My neighbor two doors up has some fancy (maybe a jag) yellow little coupe. He washes it religiously in his driveway.


  11. Oh I REALLY would love to have a red car…..My hubby is a “black car” guy…..we’re about to trade in our Blazer for a new car and it will be something BLACK to match my BLACK Buick. Oh well…..I think you totally deserve a car you LOVE and if this is the one – I am thrilled for you. I’m with you on the “smile factor” – even though my Buick is black and not red (whaaaaaa) I love seeing it in the parking lot – it’s a gorgeous car. I smile. It smiles back. After the past year plus we ALL need a reward for hanging in there. RED car? Perfect reward!!!!! Enjoy.

    hugs, Pam

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  12. I read a report on car buying once and, contrary to what most people would think, the most important (MOST IMPORTANT) aspect to consider is not price; not magazine road test report; not maintenance repair history and not fuel economy. The No.1 consideration with a new car purchase is looks!!!!!!

    The rationale makes perfect sense. Whenever you go anywhere, the first thing you see is the exterior and then the interior. So you park it for whatever reason and, upon your return, you see the exterior and then the interior. If you leave your home on foot, you will probably see the exterior and, upon your return … the exterior.

    The writer of the report concluded by stating that if you do not like what you see, then you will likely not enjoy driving it. You may over-react to its idiosyncrasies, and will just treat it “like a piece of furniture”.

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  13. I think it’s important that, when possible, we do things that make us happy. Cost will always be a deciding factor, but if the cost is possible, why not do it? I mean, my friend, we are no longer spring chickens concerned about saving for our retirement and unwilling to rattle the extra coins we’ve saved up so consciously over the years. I think I know the question that might help you decide, which is this: If you had to give up Starbucks for a year in order to have this car, would you buy it? I mean, I know you don’t, but I think that will help you prioritize just how important the change is in your life. Meanwhile, I say go for it – you didn’t ask to have to buy a new car, but as long as you’re going to have to….

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