Saturday, October 20, 2007

Avoid the Bumps

The Adorable Husband's car has suddenly cropped up with a 'check engine' light -- which, while it was nothing, did highlight the need for some major maintenance on his car in the next few months. The light was for a teensy leak in the evaporative system, whatever that means, and could be as simple as a faulty gas cap. But looking at hte car did reveal that he had some problems with CV joints (also something I know nothing about, but are apparently quite important for the front wheels to work properly!) and a rather stern warning from our mechanic that we need to thinka bout replacing the timing belt before the 100K replacement period. The repair is 5-600, but if it actually fails, it completely boofs up the engine, to the tune of a 5K engine replacement. It's supposed to last to 100K miles, but he's been seeing failures as early as 70K. And it needs new tires. Soon.

The car has 78K on it now. Hm.

We normally replace cars at about 95K miles -- just about the time they start to become Maintenance Hogs and you get nickled and dimed to death with repairs.

I didn't quite understand why the Adorable Husband would consider dropping 1/5 to 1/4 the value of the current car on repairs when he was going to drive it for less than a year. Ah, he nodded sagely....and went out looking at new cars!

He doesn't fit into many cars, being 6'4", and I categorically refuse to ride in an SUV, so his choices are a bit limited -- VWs, some Hondas/Acuras, the Toyota Avalon. We went out and test drove the VW Passat, and were disappointed to realize that the V6, which he currently has, is no longer available in a stick. We also drove one of the sporty little Acura TL S-series, which was FUN! although a bit pricey. THere are some 2007's still available, so we are mulling over whether he need a car now or can wait a bit.

I hate buying cars -- I think everyone hates buying cars. But it hsa become so much easier now, since information about invoice price and rebates is available online to car buyers. I can walk in with documentation from multiple places that the invoice price the dealer paid is X dollars and add the acceptable average profit to get to a reasonable offer It must make the car dealerships nuts.

The last time we bought a car, the sales person actually argued with us that the invoice price wasn't accurate and that the web was a poor place to get car buying information. This, of course, was the same person who tried to explain away 'Market Adjustment' (which is really just how much they think they can charge because we're in Boulder) and insisted that the buyer always pays the Dealer Holdback. Yeah, right. I've walked out of more car dealerships than I can count. It's kind of fun.

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