Saturday, June 05, 2010
New cars, old cars....
I hope Chrysler stays in business and continues employing thousands of American workers. But you know, I wouldn't have another Chrysler vehicle if I won it in a raffle. First one I owned was my parents' hand-me-down Dodge Coronet 500. Loved it, but I crashed it one year shy of when it would've been an official antique. Next was a 1986 Plymouth Voyager. A 4-cylinder, it burned up the head gasket every 18 months. Next was a 1992 Acclaim. I took good care of it, but it fell apart like a Shriners clown car. No more for me. I can't afford cheap cars anymore.
So next I bought a used Ford Taurus. It was an off-rental vehicle. I've had it for twelve years, but for the past five it's been three hundred dollaring me to death. I'd have to say that I've gotten my money's worth out of it, but it's coming to the end of its service life. However, I had to get rid of my quote-unquote "good" vehicle recently, a Taurus wagon. The sedan is just worn out, but the wagon was just never much good in the first place. It was manufactured during a period when Ford was investing its talents into its truck and SUV line, and shirking on the car line. The last straw was when it developed multiple fluid leaks. I spent a fortune to fix it, and then not three days later the catalytic converter died. It would have cost double to fix that. I supposed I could have fought the dealership's service department over it, but I had had enough. I bid the old scow a tear-free farewell just three weeks ago, and breathed a silent wish that whatever jalopy lot buys it at the auto auction will not rip off anyone with it. And that's also the end of my ownership of Fords, for the foreseeable future.
Fortunately for me, Toyota's present woes presented a bottom-feeding opportunity, and I bought a new Camry at a decent price. I still see plenty of fifteen and twenty year old Accords and Camrys on the road. Tauruses and Acclaims and Voyagers of that vintage? Not so much, and it's obvious to me that the people driving those old junk buckets are living on nickels and dimes.
So, even though I have a great new vehicle, I still have to buy a replacement for my older Ford. At 150K+ miles, I don't want to wait for it to die. Later on this year I'll buy another new car. I'm thinking a Hyundai Sonata, equipped with a turbo. A turbo-charged Sonata--five years ago that would have sounded almost ungrammatical, wouldn't it? I'm not savvy enough to find & negotiate a good deal on a quality used car, I'm afraid. My wagon came from Carmax--the transaction was pleasant, as advertised. But I'll remember the trouble it caused me long after I forget the amount of money I saved, if any.