Brent and I have not had a good track record with vehicles.
First car: I don't even remember what it was [Brent can leave that in the comment section], but was a dull grey, mainly from lack of any color, a 5 speed, and driven until it was parked in the town junk heap.
Second car: A red, VW Passat handed down fro his brother in California and driven back to Missouri. Brent got a ticket in this car because the speedometer didn't work. It overheated multiple times. Eventually something major happened [alternator?] and it was eventually sold/given away.
Third car: Green '97 Grand Am. 5 Speed. Smelled awful, always. Like wet hay. Best car yet. This is what we drove to Louisville in after we were married. Our plan: drive it until it won't go anymore. Mission accomplished. We "sold" it to our mechanic for $200/ parts.
Fourth car: 2004 Hyundai Sonata. Moving. on. up. We love/loved this car. It is/was faithful. Minor issues. Then we tried to drive it to Nashville over labor day and ohmygoodness. It literally fell apart. It has been in the shop for a month now. There are multiple things wrong, one of which may be a factory recall. We are praying this is the case. Waiting. Either way, cheaper than buying a new one.
First car: red, 1990, Ford escort. I loved that car. Bought it for $900. The seals around windows and doors were a joke, so living on a gravel road was hazardous for my health. The trunk didn't stay open on its own so I kept a dowel rod in there so I could prop it open when needed. The gas gauge didn't work. It didn't have cruise control. It survived only one Iowa winter when I was in college before we sold it for petty cash.
Second car: blue, 1996, Grand AM. Loved it. The gas gauge worked, it had cruise and automatic windows. I was stylin', folks! We did have to replace the transmission at one point...no big deal, right. One winter on my way home from school the gas pedal kept sticking...I was blazing down the road at 65 MPH and even when flooring the brake pedal it would only slow down to about 40. I freaked out...pulled it over...and turned it off quickly [pretty sure that is the worst possible thing you're supposed to do in that situation. Figured out the issue was an internal thing that had frozen [thank you, sub zero temps], and continued on up the road. Crazy. This is the car that my mom and Beck drove to Louisville when we moved [first stopping and washing off the "Just Married" written in lipstick lest they get strange looks]. This is the car that turned over to 200,000 miles one day while I drove to work. This is the car that had minor trips to the mechanic every year. This is the car that had the check engine light come on in EAST ST LOUIS! And this is the car that we hitched to our moving truck and got back to Missouri in 2010. It was short lived though from that point...it had been doing this "thing" for about a year when I would start it...if I didn't get moving right away it would die and I'd have to start again [probably not normal]. And eventually, one day, it just didn't start again. We sold it for parts to another mechanic....well, sort of: he was actually working on the Hyundai and he said that the cost of repairs was going to be about 300.-- We said, "Hey, what about we just give you this car?!" Fantastic. [A girl that I now coach eventually bought the car from him...but I've never seen her drive it because it's...in the shop! :)]
Third car: The car of my dreams-- a Subaru Outback. However, it is a 2003. So it has had its issues too...but it drives well, handles well, and it only cost us around $800 to get the Air conditioner fixed in it this summer. :) This is the only car in our possession right now. Beautiful. We bought it used from a lovely farm couple in Northern, MO. She was a mail carrier and used that car...and a dog literally BIT the front fender. The teeth marks are visible. The trunk has a funny catch when I have to open it, but other than that...lovely. With heated seats. A dream.
Enter our parents:
When we had our labor day weekend fiasco with our Sonata, my parents put on their flying panties [family joke...Kali can explain] and came to our rescue. They dropped off their vehicle for our use for the rest of the trip. Dad's instructions as we climbed in their car?
"Well, there is a CD stuck in the player so unless you want to listen to 'Nitty Gritty Dirt Band' you're gonna have to listen to the radio, but it doesn't get great reception. When you fill up the gas tank will drop to empty for awhile and the check engine light may possibly come on but it's fine. The lights kind of shake the hood will bounce but other than that it drives great!"
Brent's parents then lovingly lent us their vehicle for a week upon our return. Beck's instructions as we climbed into their car?
"Okay. The check engine light is on but it's fine. Something with a fuel injector? Also, the gas gauge might bottom out every once in awhile but it's okay too so don't worry about that."
We drove away laughing. No wonder we believe in buying, and limping along, used vehicles for as long as they'll cooperate. We don't have a car payment, so the unexpected 200/300 dollars every 5 or 6 months on something that breaks is no big deal. We've clearly grown up with parents who didn't believe in car payments either.
I know there are people from every camp of thought on this one. What is your take? Buy used? By new? By from a dealership? By from individual? What have you found works for you?
And HAPPY HAPPY 2nd Birthday to my sweetness and and little squeeze: Caroline Harper! We love you!