A Girls Guide to Buying Cars

I am sort of in the market for a new car. My Subaru is 16 years old, and it still runs okay, but things are starting to break. I’ve replaced the automatic seat belt twice, and the clutch a couple of times, had some work done on the brakes, replaced windshields when the pits and cracks were too big to be fixed, and the interior looks like I’ve owned it for 16 years. And it makes funny noises. And the cruise control hasn’t worked since 2004.

A new car is a Really Big Deal for me. Not to be taken lightly. I research the hell out of a major purchase like this. So I have lots of Consumer Reports, new car magazines, and info from the internet printed out, and lying around everywhere. I have checked into the Costco car buying program, and have some correspondence going on with a couple of salespeople, who are in the way of being my new BFF’s. They really want me to come on down and take a test drive. I won’t do that till I have all my ducks and financing lined up.

It wasn’t always like this. My first car was an impulse buy. Well, pretty much. I had $1500.00 in my hot little hand, and I got a gorgeous dark blue 1968 Triumph 250A convertible. When it ran, that car was hell on wheels. The critical part of that sentence is “when it ran”. During that time of my life, I seemed to have a lot of romantic relationships with car repair guys. Cause they were the males I was most likely to encounter, being in the shop so much, and all. The TR250A was fast. In fact I was exceeding the speed limit by quite a bit the day it threw a rod through the block. A few other incidents of that nature forced me to store the Triumph, and get Mom to help me buy a VW fastback, a much more reliable means of transportation. That one lasted years. It was my vehicle when I met up with Mr. GG in the woods. Where he was driving a red 1956 Studebaker pickup. I tell you, it was fate. I learned to drive in a Studebaker Lark, and had very fond memories of that car. (As an interesting aside, when it came time to take my driver’s test, my dad took me to the examining station in his car – a big ole Cadillac – basically the Queen Mary with fins. I was not familiar with that car. I backed up over one of those cement parking lot thingies. I still passed the test. Working at that station was a political patronage job, and my Dad had been instrumental in obtaining the job for that particular guy. I know, Life Isn’t Fair. But that is one of the few times that things worked out in my favor, so I have managed to live with it).

Anyway, when Mr. GG and I married, I brought a VW and a TR250A to the mix, and he contributed his Studebaker and a vintage Cadillac. We lived behind a bar in a Colorado tourist town. Can you say “poor white trash’? Our driveway was a vehicular hall of shame.

Ah well, I have lots of car stories, but let’s just jump ahead to now. I can’t just go to a dealership and browse. I go armed with facts, figures, printouts, and an attitude. I find out the Manufacturers Suggested Price, the Invoice Price, and I get on the web and find the dealer’s cost with all the options I want. So there I am, juggling three different numbers, and then I have to check to see if there are any secret dealer rebates or incentives going on with the model I want. I find out what that model is actually selling for in my area. I keep tabs on the dealer inventories for my chosen car. It is a lot of work. But I don’t want to be jacked around. I don’t mind the dealer and salespeople making some profit, but I figure they don’t need my lifeblood or first born, so I have to protect myself.

Anyway, I am still in the pre-buying phase, amassing facts and figures. When I actually get around to the buying phase, I just want to get it done. I already know all the features, the predicted resale value, the safety record and MPGs. I just want to get past that dickering, and extra warranty sales pitch, and drive out with what I want. And that time is getting nearer. I just have to check a few more options.

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One Response to “A Girls Guide to Buying Cars”

  1. pqsister Says:

    Geez, whatever happened to impulse buying???

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