OMG, my brain is exhausted! It’s tired of looking at sheets with facts on dealer fees, taxes, Gov. fees, out the door pricing, financing for 60 months, even 72 – I’m ready to tear my hair out – I’m tired of gambling!
So of course in true Abbe fashion, let me back up and give you the backstory.  A couple weeks ago my son, Adam went to Tampa and was driving back home in our 2003 sedan when he said the gauge started showing the engine was overheating and by the time he could get the car off on the nearest I-4 exit, the radiator was spewing with coolant and other fluids and the motor no longer had compression and died. Now it needs an engine implant.

The car itself is under warranty for 10 years or 100,000 miles, (it has 76,000 and a year left). I questioned the dealership where I purchased the car, UT OH, we replaced the radiator without using their service department and ‘afterparts’,  we violated the trust of the warranty. They said to have it towed there might cost us money as if they assessed the damage and determined we were at fault, I’d have to pay for towing it there and back and the assessment – so what the Hell good is a 100k mile or 10 year warranty when you can’t depend on it! So read those warranties before you get all excited, if you strayed away from the dealership for certain repairs, you are screwed! Not only that, some of the extended warranties that sound so cheap are really rip offs. Make sure you find one that actually works for you and not one that sounds reasonable, but actually won’t pay for what it implies. Check opinions about which companies are worth the extra money.

I  had it towed to a wonderful mechanic, Professional Truck and Car in Sanford. Mike G. said he could put in a used engine for about $2000 or more depending on needing  a timing belt and spark plugs and other essentials which could only be determined after the engine was in and running, catch 22. This meant rounding up a used motor from a junkyard which means you are relying on a motor that was probably extracted from a car involved in a bad wreck, it creeped me out knowing we had to gamble on how hard the impact was and from which angle? Would it last  for 5 weeks let alone 5 years! It didn’t matter to me whether you paid more for a used engine with less miles or one with higher miles that was cheaper, it was gambling on something I could not really know anything solid about, like how the car ended up there – under what cicrumstances?   Even if I had the Vin number of the junkyard vehicle and spent time being a detective, no Carfax report is going to show that a car ending up in a junkyard was totalled! And forget buying a new motor, the car was about 10 years old, the engine would cost more than the car was worth!

I decided to go used car shopping and look at what was available. First I asked people about their cars. Then I simply looked for sedans at a certain price. I realized I had to look at mileage, then warranties as there are many cars with well over 100,000 miles out there. I began narrowing models;  Nissan, Hyundai, Kia, Toyota and VW. It’s been sticker shock with the mileage being a huge factor in price. I gave up 3 days looking through auto trader, and other various sites. Then came a day on dealership sites. Many times I found the cars listed as “Specials” might not be on the lot, or were manual sticks instead of automatic, a fair amount of computer errors.

We visited a couple dealerships. Saw a few potential cars and there went another day still in confusion when things were not quite what they seemed. I considered private buyers and then thought about having no guarantee except their word that the car was great, they were just upsizing or downsizing, or getting rid of it for a dead relative who loved the car and only drove 5 miles a week – a gamble on trusting people I don’t know. Next I looked through reviews sites, like Edmunds and more. I read buyer comments on the makes and models, big mistake, I learned mostly what happened to people who bought used cars and a few month later  something happened and they had no extended warranty and a lemon on their hands. There were some people who were happy, but we all know the ones who are pissed will complain louder  than happy people, can you blame them? I learned what models I could rule out after reading crash reports. Then it became a day looking up recall notices – AWK!  Car companies do recall notices voluntarily, so some people might totally miss knowing they even have recalls on their powertrains or brakelines or fuses- oh boy another gamble when buying.

Our wonderful friend Lee with a Toyota dealership offered a great deal on a new 2012 Corolla, but it was still about $4000 more than my son could afford – I remember having a Corolla in the 80’s and it was the best car we ever owned, never needed a thing except oil changes and tires. We thought long and hard trying to wrap our heads around rationizng new versus used, (oh, excuse me, I mean “pre-owned”.) But that price was just too high, so back to used.
I worry about spending money like that on a vehicle that might not last. My older son Aaron thought nothing of buying an older, high mileage Prius and is very happy. He keeps telling me I am thinking too hard, that cars today run well over 100plus thousand miles,  I went with him to buy the Prius from a nice couple around his age. He had spoken on the phone several times with them and sized them up and knew he would buy the car.  He said they had decided to buy a brand new Prius, which immediately made me suspicious of what was wrong with the one they were selling, but it seems fine, drives like a charm and saves a ton in gas.
So why am I am second guessing? Every decision I make anymore has been wrong, I get rid of a stock, it goes up,  I decide to eat somewhere, the restaurant was lousy,  I couldn’t even pick the right husband. It seems from buying gifts to buying shoes, I am a faulty decision maker and have buyers remorse on whatever I decide. I go in to buy laundry detergent and it takes fifteen minutes of standing and thinking so you can imagine what it’s like with a car.My poor son Adam is now confused by contagion! Yikes.

I know I know, life is a gamble, there are no guarantees, just get it over with and find something. Days of our lives are sliding through the sands of time as I spend countless hours looking and looking and agonizing – I want to get this right, I really do, it’s terrible to second guess yourself, I think it should have a medical label, secondguessing-itis, gettingitwrongagain syndrome, leftbrainimpairidness, there has to be more people that have blockage on decision making. In fact I just noticed a headline in Yahoo,com. 93 year old woman made one car last   576,000 miles and only stops driving because she’s legally blind. Heck, she lives here in Florida, I wonder how long it took her to realize she was legally blind before she stopped driving –half the people on our roads drive like their legally blind! Anyway, that’s my hero, Rachel Veitch, she made a decision in the sixties and never had to regret it, wonder what she wants for that car, Rachel, I’m gonna find your number and call you, I need your advice…