Tuesday, January 17, 2012

That New Car Smell....

January 17, 2012

My Honda Odyssey has been something of a money pit over the years. Up until this mini-van, I have always loved Hondas--efficient, reliable, spacious. But this one that I got cost way too much (courtesy of a balloon payment at the end of my lease from the previous vehicle), and it has had all kinds of things we've had to repair along the way. A key that wouldn't turn in the ignition. (We replaced the ignition switch, so that we had separate keys for the doors and for the ignition.) Oh yeah--the door keys only worked selectively on the doors. Rarely for the driver's side, only occasionally for the passenger side. Mostly we relied on unlocking the trunk to unlock all the other doors. Then there is the air conditioner, which suddenly stopped working in the 100+ degree weather last summer. Since it was supposed to cost nearly $1200 dollars to repair the system, our solution to the no air conditioning situation (I get cranky when I'm too hot) was to trade cars with Doug during the summer. Since his commute to work takes him an hour up into the foothills, the heat wasn't as much of a factor for him. Plus, he's not a princess, like me. He'll tolerate sweat. Add all that to some minor cosmetic issues--windows that screeched horribly when I wanted them raised or lowered, plus a few dings in the windshield--and you have a car with issues. Nothing terrible, nothing insurmountable, but still--issues. This is all besides the fact that it was a boring silver color. Ugh. Not beautiful blue, not racy red. Just blah.

Nevertheless, it was drivable, workable. We made it work. It was sufficient for hauling around kids and friends and soccer balls and stacks of books and just-about-everything-but-the kitchen-sink which comprises what my kids and I cart about with us on any given day. It was working, until we hit the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back. This particular straw came in the form of a Friday evening trip to the bank. Mind you, this was Friday night on the last day of the month, when lines can be out the door. We drove into the parking stall, took care of our banking needs, and then got back in the car to leave. Except that the car wouldn't go into reverse. Or rather, it did go into reverse; there was just no corresponding movement in that direction. I tried everything, including coaxing, coddling, bargaining. But try bargaining with an oversized piece of tin. It's just futile. I called Doug asking for advice, and he thought I should put the van in neutral, push it back out of the stall, and then shift into drive. My worry, however, was that I'd get it pushed back and manage to block the pathway of all the folks who were driving into the lot for their Friday evening banking needs. (There is only a single lane driveway into the bank,) I assure you, that would have been worse than staying put. I didn't want to have a mob of angry people behind me in addition to having a colossaly uncooperative vehicle. Finally, after closing hour at the bank, my car decided inexplicably to actually shift into reverse. Once backed out, I was able to shift into drive, and drive I did---straight to the auto mechanic. There, I was given grim news. In addition to all of its other quirky issues, my van's transmission was shot. The problem was only going to get worse if I did not send it in for repair, to the tune of $2100. I don't know about you,. but I don't happen to have $2100 just lying around in loose change. However, having a car that only sporadically decided to travel in reverse would simply not do, and it was my understanding that the forward motion only had a short shelf life as well. It was time for a new car.

After doing some online research and looking around at local lots, we settled in on a greenish gray Prius. The MPG is, of course, leaps and bounds above what the van was getting, and certainly much better than Doug's Durango gets as well. We've decided that Doug will mostly drive the Prius while he's commuting an hour or so each way to work every day, because we'll save quite a bit in gas money. In the meantime, I'll be using his Durango for the daily Mom Taxi Service. For now, the van haunts the driveway, big lumbering hunk of tin that it is, until we can pay it down enough to make selling it a viable option.

The new ride:

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