2 Cars in 7 Months

I was very optimistic about 2012 and still am however in the first 20 days I’ve had my butt kicked by life yet again. There have been several things that have happened in the first little bit of the year however this particular post is about my Concorde.

This car was a Christmas gift from my parents a couple of years ago. It was picked up for $500 at an auction and it was a good second car for us. It didn’t require a lot of money to get it on the road so it was a great score. When my Dad was driving it he always said he heard a noise in the front end. I didn’t hear it at first but slowly I started to hear the noise but paid no attention to it. The car was running fine for a beater and it wasn’t broken so why fix it. (These words I’ll be eating a little later in the blog.) Beside it you’ll see our Neon which kicked the bucket in July. My tribute to the Neon can be read here.

Luckily however when the Neon died we had the Concorde to fall back on. It was still running well. We had to put new (used) tires on this year when the snow came but besides normal oil changes we didn’t sink much money into it. We’ve taken it on the highway to Niagara Falls and just last week we drove to Windsor in it.

Plans for the week quickly changed because on Tuesday I had to take my car in for an E-Test so I could renew my sticker. I knew it was going to be $35 for the E-Test and then another $74 for the new sticker. I was also going to go grocery shopping and possibly spoil Adam with a new Wiggles DVD. I arrived early to the appointment since there was a library right next door to the mechanics and left my car. I walked over to the Tim Horton’s for a coffee since I didn’t have time to grab one as I left the house.

Not 10 minutes later my cell rang. It was the mechanic. He stated as he was pulling the car into the bay he noticed a really bad sound and he thought it was the ball-bearings in the right wheel. He said he’d have another mechanic take it for a test drive and then put it up on the hoist to see what it looked like. I called my Dad to discuss potential costs and I decided if it was going to be less than $500 I’d fix it. If it was more than our plan to replace the car would be bumped up a year.

The car of course passed the E-Test with flying colours, however that is when the day went from bad to worse. The mechanic came out and told me the entire front end of the car was shot. Ball joints, ball-bearings, tie rods. Pretty much if it had to do with the suspension or steering it had to be replaced.

When I got that news I started to cry. He told me I was looking at a minimum 2 grand to fix it.  That mechanic quickly retreated into the back. The store manager drew me up a quote for the bare minimum of what needed to be done.. It still came out to $1500. I told him to hold off on the work and I was going to think about it.

I guess that was the nail in the coffin for the Concorde. All my other plans for Tuesday went out the window and I was going car shopping.

Luckily I know someone who sells cars and who would take care of me in my emotional state. I didn’t know if we could really afford a new car and I really hate the thought of having a monthly car payment. I called the car dealership where our friend Mary works and found out she would be there later in the day.

When I drove cautiously across town hoping that my front wheel wasn’t going to fly off I came upon the dealership and sitting out front of their used car section was a Pontiac Vibe. This is a car that Brian and I had discussed possibly purchasing when the time came. I had been checking the dealerships website on and off and they NEVER have Vibes. I had to tell myself not to get too excited because really, we couldn’t afford that. It was pouring rain by this point so I bundled Adam up under his rain shield in his stroller and I pulled out the umbrella.

They actually had a lot of cars that I researched and Brian and I had discussed and low and behold there was another Vibe there too! Mary came out and greeted me with a huge hug. Just what I needed actually. We went inside and started to talk cars.

We discussed what I wanted and have looked at, really most of it online since this was the first dealership I had gone to. Then we started to punch numbers and discuss financing. I called Brian at work and told him what I had found and I would drive over to him so he could check it out. He came out of the office and looked at my choice. A black Pontiac Vibe. He arranged to leave the office for a bit so we went back to the dealership, he took a quick look around and said yep, we’ll get this one.

We started the paperwork and within 3 hours of walking onto the lot, we had purchased a new car. Quick and painless right? It had to be done but it really felt like an impulse buy. After a day of rationalizing the purchase it’s a fact, the Concorde was a death trap if i kept driving it the way it was and fixing it would be like burning money.

Wednesday was spent running around and crunching numbers. We didn’t drive the Concorde at all and we borrowed my Dad’s truck to use for the day.

Thursday came and it was time to seal the deal. My Dad came with me in the Concorde in case the car didn’t make it across town one last time. As we started across town a snow storm decided to roll into town. The roads were ok on the way there and I was thinking what a horrible day to pick up a new car.

When we arrived at the dealership there was paperwork and a service appointment to book. My Dad started to check out the car and began to put his seal of approval on it. (Must be a Dad thing.) As well as he kept wondering off and sitting in convertibles. . . I’m afraid he’s getting some ideas. We discovered a homemade apple pie in our car from Mary. It turns out if you buy a car from her she bakes you a pie and then if someone refers you to her she bakes a pie for them too. Talk about customer service! We were given a tour of the service department and then we were asked to stand on a star in the showroom near our car that was on display. Mary called all staff to the showroom and she welcomed us to the dealership family and they did a cheer and all personally came over and shook our hands. To be honest I got a little lump in my throat. It was fantastic to be treated like that. It seemed very genuine and it was a special day that we were celebrating getting rid of the Concorde.

As it also turns out when you purchased a car not only did Mary make a pie, but the dealership has a promotion that they send you on a 3 day, 2 night trip to Las Vegas. Saaay Whaat?  Yeah that is what I said too, I’m going to blog about that later because I can’t begin tell you how excited I am about this.

Now that it is all done I am breathing a huge sigh of relief. I don’t have to worry about being stranded because the car broke down. I don’t have to worry about Brian driving an unsafe car on the highway and I’m feeling optimistic that maybe things will change a bit. Maybe we’ll go on more day trips or drives because we won’t be thinking about will our car make it there and back. It’s much better on gas too so I’m sure we’ll be saving money as well. The new car has air conditioning so those hot summer outings won’t be as brutal as they were in the Concorde. Fabric seats too – no more freezing bums in the winter.

Yes those are all small things we received by getting a new car, but really I can’t put a price on the piece of mind I have now about our safety.

As for all the things I was going to do Tuesday, it’s Friday now and I haven’t done them, including renewing the sticker on the car. There is always next week, and I have a nice set of wheels now to do all that running around in.

Oh and the pie is amazing, I wonder how I can bribe Mary to make me another one.

And Las Vegas baby – you can’t go wrong there.

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