Curmudgeon’s Guide To Buying a Car

My revered, but rusted, Chevy van died recently.

Fortunately, it gasped its last in a parking lot close to home, so I was able to call TBWOTP * and get a ride home.  It’s death was not unexpected, but my greatest fear was that it would finally go ‘undercarriage up’ fifty miles from home in a snowstorm when my phone was dead.  Another bullet dodged.

The task of finding a replacement was, of course, both depressing and daunting.  My financial situation is okay, but certainly not great, and there are a lot of monsters on the horizon,  retirement being the biggest and baddest and sharp-toothiest.  And then there are the physical issues that a man in his sixties has to consider in a car.  The less expensive, fuel-efficient models are all great, with electronic doo dads and gewgaws (yep, that’s really a word) that make The Enterprise look like a tin lizzy.  However, they are small and low to the ground and not forgiving for someone with a bad back who needs to clamber in and out of it ten or fifteen times a day.  The simple thought of crouching down and hunching over a steering wheel five days a week had me reaching for the Advil.  So, that certainly narrowed the field.  SUV’s and vans became the primary focus, and price, mileage, and mpg the criteria.  Newspapers, Consumer Report Magazine, websites, and people-I-know-who-don’t-frequently-crash were the main sources of information.

I finally settled on a Honda CRV.  In this area, for some reason, it seems that every other car is a Honda, and seventeen out of twenty-three of them are CRV’s (Those numbers are from a personal poll I took one Sunday morning before coffee right outside a Honda dealership).  It isn’t a new car, that’s a bit too scary for me, but rather a ‘certified pre-owned’.  (I am old enough to remember when pre-owneds were called ‘used cars’.  I am also old enough to realize how revealing it is to start a sentence with ‘I am old enough to remember…’). It has all the necessary ingredients for the daily souffle cum commute that I need; easy in and out, good gas mileage, low miles, room for my stuff, not to mention lights, a steering wheel, a horn, engine, tires, radio, heater, etc, etc, ad infinitum.  I got a few extras as well, but nothing too gaudy.  A sun roof (always wanted one of those) and a CD changer.  Apparently I can shove as many as 6 CD’s into this little slot, and they will play one at a time.  Perhaps even sequentially.

I was surprised by the warranty on the certified pre-owneds. Honda has apparently looked it over closely, repaired what needed repairing, refurbished what could be refurbished, replaced what needed replacement, polished the fenders, fluffed the pillows, and sprayed some of that ‘eau de new car’ smell into it.  It really feels as good as new and it is guaranteed for ten years.

I connected with a salesman that I actually found likeable, partially because he looked a bit like TBWOTP’s nephew, and with only a minimum of wrangling over price and percentage rate, I signed a stack of documents and drove off, very, very carefully, in my not-really-new-but-sure-seems-that-way car.

Yippee!  Huzzah!  Kudos to me!!  Now it is just a simple matter of making the payments.

*The Best Woman On The Planet