Shopping for a Car: At least there’s the internet now
6 February 2011 4 Comments
Yesterday we bought a car.
When I learned the old gray Toyota, which we’ve driven for the past four years, had a couple more confirmed issues I knew it was time. At 258,000 miles the car wasn’t worth putting another $2,000 into, even though it still runs well.
I loathe the process of shopping for and buying a car, although admittedly the internet has made the process much less painful. Yesterday’s adventure, ahem, still became a four-and-a-half hour ordeal. The car we wanted to test drive was at one of the dealer’s Lincoln locations so it had to be transferred. Just before they drove it to Grand Island, however, someone in Lincoln wanted to buy it. The local salesman and his manager fought for us (and their own commission) and in the end the car made it to our town, albeit two hours late.
Regular readers will know, moreover, I loathe the fact that I have to own a car at all. I would rather walk or bike to work, and to the grocer and post office and church. I would rather spend the money that goes towards a car on a table saw, donation to charity, new kiln or trip to China than petrol, insurance, tires and then after it all, another car. I won’t go into more depth here since I’ve talked at length in the past about New Urbanism, community planning.
What was most interesting throughout this two week auto purchase process was that three people in the car business told me they also disliked the fact that they had to own a car, had to pay for an automobile. Two people at the dealership said this, as did the manager at the shop that changed the oil in the old car. I don’t know how sincere they were; the salesmen may have simply been commiserating with a potential customer. The oil change manager was easy to believe though.
James Kunstler’s book The Geography of Nowhere pointed out (if I recall correctly, it’s been 10 years since I read the book) how visitors to places like Disney World often can’t articulate one of the reasons they are so happy to be there: There aren’t any cars around. You walk around the park, take the ferry or monorail to your hotel. What will it take for us to realize how ingrained the automobile is in our culture? In our community design, our architecture, our economy, etc.?
The car we bought yesterday is a 2003 Toyota Corolla. It’s in fabulous condition and was a great buy. It should get twice the gas mileage of our old car — and it has a radio, and a working door handle.
I plan on it lasting 10 years. Or more.