When I was a kid, cars were not my family’s friend! I can honestly say that my father had the worst of luck when it came to cars. Probably because he did not know much about them, was always in a rush and he could be taken for a ride by willing car salesmen everywhere, who could see him coming a few thousand miles away.For that reason we had a series of cars that just never gave us any peace.
We had a Comet with no floor (as in the floor was rotted and mom was almost sitting on the ground), where the cop stopped my poor mother who was promptly asked to report the car for inspection within the next 48 hours.
We had a Parisienne that had one bolt holding that massive engine into the frame.
We had a Vega that was the car that never started.
As in it was a miracle if the car actually got anyone anywhere on time. Unpredictable and such a piece of crap that my father bought it twice from the same salesman (yah I know don’t ask, but boy do I miss you Dad).
I’ve seen my Dad rocker guard a complete Toyota and have to change the spark plugs weekly on a Honda which we referred to as the “yellow rose of Texas”, because of the color.
He even drove a truck on fire into a car lot as a trade in for another car.
We used to make fun and say that he must have really ticked off the car gods because even when there was absolutely nothing wrong with the cars he had when he got them, they would usually quickly develop something that was clearly death defying.
For myself, I think it was part just ignoring stuff that was going wrong with the cars until it was too late.
One of the two last cars he owned before he died had pliers to open the windows and he had to crawl into the car from the back seat since the driver door no longer opened.
Even when I co-signed for a new used car (his last car), he blew the engine in that one by ignoring the fact for months that the antifreeze seemed to be disappearing in the car? (Did I mention I really miss you Dad! LOL)
For that reason I absolutely hate shopping for cars. In our quest to keep our costs down and get a cheap car this week (which by the way has failed miserably so far), I was reminded yesterday of the hell I used to be subject to as a kid when it came to my Dad and his cars.
For this reason I have a list of things you should look out for when shopping for a new used car.
- If you are in Ontario you will need the dreaded emissions test for vehicles over 1987 (government cash grab and all around hell for the consumer) to put any car on the road. When a buyer will not offer you the papers for the e test but tells you it will pass. Don’t believe it. Ask for papers! It has become easier to certify a car, but an emission testing is like living in hell. We have tried to e test 2 cars and 1 truck in the last two weeks that we were assured would pass and guess what? Did not.
- If the car salesman pre-dates 1935 and laughs out right at you when you ask to see the keys to a FIAT as he looks at both you and your husband’s plus size bodies, maybe this guy doesn’t really care about his sales or your car needs. RUN.
- If Larry the Creepy Salesman/mechanic guy from the car lot, starts diagnosing the car you drove in with, with problems he suddenly is sure you have, even though you are actually here to buy another car. RUN. He will probably try to convince you to trade your perfectly good car for his pieces of shit. RUN like hell.
- If the salesman tells you that you could buy a $10,000 car and could finance it for 20,000 years. RUN Faster. You will end up paying triple for the car by the time you are done.
- If you get into a car and get a bad feeling or are uncomfortable about it, don’t feel pressured to buy it, even if you really need a vehicle. I’ve never been disappointed with a car that I felt right driving, but always have regretted a purchase that I was not 100% psyched about. Learn to trust your feelings about such things. They are usually right.
Have patience, even if you have no more patience. Try to be kind to each other (if shopping with a partner). Although it may feel like you are developing an aneurysm over the prospect of replacing a car, the thing is you will end up buying something at one point. Wait for the right situation, even if it’s painful to do so. And try not to get divorced doing it.