Thursday, October 20, 2005

Wouldn't you rather drive a _____?

It's a statement I say with the same frequency of "I should clean my room." and "I need to start working on..."

And since I've likely worn a groove into my local friends' eardrums by saying it to them, I'll now share the idle threat with you:

I need to get a new car.

The list of of old car's ailments grows longer and longer: anti-lock brake light on, driver's side window is half-manual (I have to physically pull it up, while pushing on the window button), air conditioner seems irreparably gone (I forgot how bad summer in the South in a car was sans-air conditioning -- this summer I remembered.) Now my muffler rattles to the point that apparently I don't even need to beep to announce my arrival.

You might be wondering how I let it get to this point. Easy -- I don't drive. Well, rather, I hardly ever drive, thus, whenever something "minor" went wrong -- like the fact that the radio antenna doesn't pop up -- or it's something that's inconsistent -- like this lurchy thing when it changes gears -- it'll be weeks before I notice it again.

Also, when I do drive, it's not very far. Grocery shopping is the number one reason I've even kept my car, and that's only about 5 minutes away. I make a trip further than the grocery store or Target once every month. Only last week, on a "hot chicken" run, did I realize I my car is doing this overheating thing too. And if I didn't write this just now, I'd have forgotten about it until the next time I craved flesh cooked in lard and tounge-searing spices and had to drive through sketchy parts of town to get it.

If I go out with my friends somewhere non-walking distance, I rarely drive because a) my apartment is on the way to most locations and b) Looking at all that I just typed, would YOU want to get in my car? I don't even have airbags!

I could go on about what my driving skills are like at this point in time, thanks to the cyclical nature of this dilemma, but I'll save that for another day. Maybe tomorrow.

So, uhm, the point of this post is that I think I need a new car. And the suggestions of how to start looking for a car are welcome from you people who use automobiles on a daily basis. A new car for a person doesn't drive anywhere (but might, if she had a better car), who really doesn't care for driving much, prefers flying when going out of town, who rarely drives with other people or stuff in the car, who may move to a non-car-having city... or not?

Hmm. Maybe I don't need a new car.

Hello, square one.


Blogger Jerry said...

doesn't sound like you need a new car at all. In fact, it sounds as if you have that "new car" pressure cuz other people have new cars or whatever.

If you're able to do that well in Nashville without a car all the time, then just keep your hunk of junk for when you need it. And maybe go get it looked at so you don't get stranded. But if you're not driving long distances or in a competition for anything, then why worry about it. I mean, you're still in school. Enjoy not having to feel like you need to keep up with the Joneses.

I hope you're not purging money on lots of insurance. Otherwise, it would be better to get rid of it and then just pay your friends for gas when you need to go somewhere. What with the price of that, it only seems fair.

I've loved being free of a car for the past two and a half years and the possibility of five more years like that gets me all excited...

Thursday, October 20, 2005 1:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Blake said...

Is Jerry from Nashville? I guess since I live in the "outer rim" of Davidson County, I need one, and I would find it difficult getting around without one. However, if you live near the "core" you probably wouldn't need one, but again...this is Nashville, and public transportation for places other than what you can easily get to is fairly dismal (not that there's anything wrong with that).

I'd say, keep what you've got and get the things fixed that would cause you to be stranded (ie...the overheating, tranny, etc). What have you got by the way? Heck, you could probably find an extremely cheap, early to mid 90's honda, toyota, or nissan out there that's still reliable, gets great gas mileage, and isn't as broken (or maybe even a used, square Volvo). Just make sure the a/c works. :)

Thursday, October 20, 2005 3:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

well...given that you are only going to be in Nashville for another few months or so...and then probably heading to a city that actually believes in public transportation, I wouldn't put money into a car. If you really can't get by without one...find a older honda or toyota to get you through cuz they are reliable! Seems the Vandy Register always has some listed.

Onto "hot chicken" me next time. I've never tried it and have always wanted to!

oh...and that Protocolo wine that was on the Cabana menu (the $5 red by the glass that I was scared of...) is REALLY good and REALLY cheap. 'Tis on sale at Grand Cru for $8/bottle this week (dang...makes the $5 glass seem like a major ripoff!)

Thursday, October 20, 2005 7:37:00 PM  
Blogger Nicole said...

Whoa, comments. OK. I guess the idea is that at what point do I stop fixing up old car, and start working towards getting a new one? Cost-effectiveness-wise. Like, the A/C is the older kind that is a bigger pain in the ass to replace than the, uh, not older kind. And when I've said, "Hey, this shit's gotta be leaking out!" thye're all "No, it's fine! We can find no leaks!" Rah. aND, Oh yeah! Same with my right front tire... they can't find the leak, yet it goes flat in a few weeks. What's up with that? Filipino cultists in my parking lot?!

Plus, I do rent cars sometimes in addition -- like 4 times this past year (I think...) ... but, ok, I guess that's not enough reason to buy a new one. (And when I say new, I don't necessarily mean new new. NewER.)

It's a '91 integra. It runs well, other than all that other crap I mentioned.

Michelle: A few months?! You know something about my project that I don't know? OK, maybe I will finish soon...ish... but still. I dunno how fast I'd jet. I mean, Nashville isn't all that bad. Sometimes I think it might be fun to live here, like "for real." Really!


Anyway, thx for the wine tip. Once the newly acquired cholesterol plaques free themselves from my arteries, I'll call you about the hot chicken. It is, indeed, and experience worth mentioning.

Oh, and I do have a bus story (Bus-venture!) But not for telling right now.

Thursday, October 20, 2005 9:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Blake said...

I had a problem with Filipino cultists once. I'd recommend setting up tiki sticks around your vehicle, and the problem should go away.

Friday, October 21, 2005 8:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Leigh said...

Hun, buy something used & foreign. Decide a price range that your parents can help you with and have NO car payments. (uh hem, personal experience talking.) Get something you are not attached to... so it won't be difficult to get rid of when you move to "the city".

As for filippino cultists, I find an AP system blaring Paula Abdul causes them to go into a trance and finally break into country line dancing. It is effective and entertaining.

Friday, October 21, 2005 10:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Cody said...

I would suggest a used honda or tyota sedan, decent gas milage and they generally last well over 100K. Check out ebay motors between your lab tests. If you're really thinking of giving it up, a Honda elite or helix scooter could suffice for your needs.
Your mom may wind up having a coronary worrying about you driving a scooter though. If you need a consumer reports rating let me know. Good luck :)

Saturday, October 22, 2005 12:17:00 AM  
Blogger heidi said...

i second the used toyota sedan (corolla)idea. toyotas will take soooo much abuse and will last for ages provided you remember to get your oil changed regularly.

(i am knocking on wood as i write this next sentence) i have had the truck for five years next month. it's been to the shop ZERO times.

and i virtually suck as a carowner.

gas mileage is good. too. important these days.

those toyota folks know how to make an affordable yet efficient machine.

Saturday, October 22, 2005 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger hermance said...

It's a shame that Nashville doesn't have a Zipcar program. I guess they figure Vandy students can all get cars.

Anyway, I tend to agree with Jerry. Take it in to find out what's wrong with the engine that might leave you stranded. Once you price what it will cost to fix that, then you can decide how much more money should be devoted to the car. You may find that it's not all that much.

My brother talks about how when you're thinking about selling a car, you should think about how much the car you're driving is worth to you. In other words, even though you may not be able to get more than, say, $1,000 for the car, it's probably worth more than that to you because you can't get a reliable used car for that price. So, if you're talking about putting $1,000 into the car (which I'd be surprised if it's even close to that much) to make the engine reliable, it's still better than buying something else.

Wait until you're out of school and know where your postdoc/job will be before you commit to car payments, etc. etc.

We're in the same place with my husband's car. It's no beauty, but we keep it running (and just that). We're hoping to drive it until its death right before we leave Chapel Hill.

Monday, October 24, 2005 7:20:00 AM  
Blogger Nicole said...

I have a sneaking suspiscion that what needs to be done will be costly -- I mean, what isn't costly? but I guess it doesn't hurt to get an estimate.

I'm now thinking about how used car sales go at someplace like carmax, where they advertise having a warranty and stuff. I guess I'll do some research into that.

I should also add that the 'rents have said they'd help me out. But I'd rather them not as much as possible. I'm just being extremely financially conservative with their money, as well as mine. Because that's how I roll. Cheap.
In stark contrast with what my mom now drives.(admittedly, they got an awesome deal on their bling-mobile.)

All of this is just one more reason why I really need to a) graduate and b) get a job, soon.

Monday, October 24, 2005 2:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Muffy Wong said...

Hey have you thought about looking into one of those Scion cars? THey're SO affordable.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005 9:12:00 PM  
Blogger Dee said...

I am caught in the vicious cycle of want-to-buy-a-new-car-yet-don't-have-the-money-because-I'm-forced-to-spend-money-I-already-don't-have-maintaining-the-car-I-no-longer-want.

I imagine that, eventually, my car will die. I will walk to work and the grocery store, and on the weekends I will make a pilgrimage to Criminal Records.

As my mobility will be limited, so shall my money-saving abilities increase. And once I pay my credit card off, I will begin funneling funds into new-or-used car-dom.

Unfortunately, at this point in the future, technology will have developed "boom tube" technology--enabling citizens to "teleport" instantaneously to any geographical position they require--rendering my sacrifice null and void.

Such is my tragic fate.

Monday, November 07, 2005 9:37:00 AM  

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