Thursday, March 20, 2008

Splutter, Splutter, Cough, Cough, Shudder,Shudder-Part 3 or how Bankrupt Betty has to Brave the Credit Market

I called my mechanic after pouting for an hour and said, just do the oil change, hold off on the other repairs, I guess I'm going to have to look for a car. I could hear a loud sigh of relief on his end of the phone. Well thank God he said, I was going to feel guilty repairing it for ya if that is what you really wanted (this is the same mechanic who told me the car was not worth the transmission repair last October-he was right, but the timing was wrong). You need to put this baby to rest. Yikes, even my mechanic is recommending getting rid of the car. I think it is in the stars, I need to get a new to me car.

The gist of it is the car is not worth fixing. It has 232, 000 miles on it (and no that is not a typo), I put on all the mileage except for the original 41 that was on the car when I got it. The AC is shot ($800 plus to repair that, I spent a lot of long hot drives last summer cooling myself down with cold wet rags from my cooler), plus the long list of the latest and the greatest. AND he said, the oil level was kinda low, maybe too low indicating some sort of impending engine issue that they have not even looked for or addressed.

I live by the motto that a car should last a long time as long as you let it breathe (change air filters regularly-especially in the country where we drive on dirt roads) and don't let it boil (regular oil changes, proper fluids in the radiator). And look, that philosophy got me 232,000 on my car. I think I can safely say I have run out the useful life on this car.

I spent part of the afternoon doing my on line research for available cars in my price range. I found four dealerships that met my criteria and have narrowed my choices to two for the following reasons.

1) They have the cars I am looking for that fall within my (now totally revamped) budget.
2) They clam they can work with folks who have bad credit (or as one finance manager said, sub-prime credit).
3) They have been recommend to me by folks who use the dealership either for service or vehicle purchase.

I did some phone calls and some Internet communication and eliminated one dealership solely on the fact the e-mail I got from the Internet sales manager was just obnoxious. I inquired on two specific cars (both used) and I get back this e-mail full of irritating graphics, large print is a variety of colors and sizes and he was trying to push a car I had no interest in. I thanked him for his time and said in my return e-mail, you obviously did not read my e-mail to you as to what I was looking for and why I was inquiring about two specific vehicles, I have no interest in the one you have tried, in the past three e-mails, to "sell" to me. My feeling was he felt he could take advantage of a woman looking for a car-that vibe came through loud and clear in his e-mails to me. Plus the fact he said "This car is very popular with women" in one of his e-mails to me. I felt I was dealing with some misogynistic idiot. Sorry not this woman. Find someone else to brow beat.

The other dealership, although local and I'd prefer to keep my business local, I eliminated because they had a lot of management turnover and they seem to be in a bit of a transition. I don't need a dealership in transition at this point.

I have credit applications into the two remaining dealerships, both know about the Bankruptcy (one is a dealership that sent me one of those post BK letters), both say "The BK is not an issue" and I have already given them all the information they have requested (pay stub, W2, utility bill, mortgage statement, budget, promise of first born child or a couple pounds of flesh). I'm going to see who approves me and then go for a test drive. I'm also doing a kelly blue book and edmunds search on each vehichle make, model and year so I can go in prepared as well.

As I posted earlier, I got a raise and it has come out to be an additional $300 a month. I really would have preferred to take that money and use it to fund my emergency fund and my car down payment fund. Plus I had planned on a part time job to help specifically with a car payment. All I can say right now is we will see what happens.

1 comment:

pennypincher said...

Good luck on your car purchase. I have been recently reseaching "new to me" cars. Not because mine is not working properly, but because gas prices have sky-rocketed and my car barely gets 15 miles to the gallon. Let me know what you get and if it is a reliable car.