3/27/2008 11:55:31 AM permalink
Here's a brief history: I purchased my 95 Ford Ranger XLT, used,
in March of 1997. It had 11,000 miles on it, and it ran beautifully.
Save for moments of typical wear and tear maintenance, it was solid. I loved it.
It drove like a champ, and handled great. I never took the overdrive
option off. I have many memories with that truck.
I remember driving my girlfriend to, and my fiance from, the Italian restaurant
in Myrtle Beach, SC where I proposed to her, and she tearfully said yes.
I remember playing the mixed-tape I made of cheesy love songs and movie clips with romantic dialogue
(taken from Highlander, The Princess Bride, Henry V and Forget Paris) to her, delirious
in love. Sure it was sappy, but it was terribly fun.
I remember long drives to the Carolinas, furniture hauls, and mind-numbing
hours of traffic to work and back. But as time wore on, little things fell apart.
Here's the list:
-The paint on the hood is nearly worn off to expose the dull gray metal.
-The windshield had to be replaced, and months later, the rearview mirror popped off.
-The door ajar alarm goes off during the warm days, even when the door is closed and locked.
(And as if to join the fun, the dome light stays on the whole time.) The alarm stays on for
several minutes before it decides to die off. It's very annoying. Once it stayed beeping like
an ancient gong for 21 minutes. Ugh.
-The lumbar support pillow that engages behind the small of your back doesn't stay full
-The turn signals work, provided that I hold down the lever till the turn is made.
-I lost the bolt that holds the spare tire underneath the truck bed, so now the spare rides
IN the bed.
-The radio player would no longer shut off, and began eating cassettes like they were ice cream
sandwiches. I happily replaced it with a CD player, but now I have scores of tapes that I
miss listening to. Especially the audio books.
-The emergency brake handle broke off in my hand, so that now there is nothing but an ugly
spring dangling from whence it came. Thank God the truck holds when it's just put in PARK.
-The lights on the dashboard, for almost a year, have faded to black, so that if I wanted to know
how fast I was going at night, I'd shine the light from my cellphone screen to see the
spedometer. The latest mystery? Some of the lights to the right side of the dash
have come back to a dimming life just 2 months ago. I have no idea why.
-The spongy tan material that upholsters the ceiling of my truck has several scratch marks
and gashes across it. It looks like some wild animal tried to claw out.
-The key fobs no longer function, so I have to insert the key to open the door.
I know. VERY anti-techy, but it works. Although, I'm tempted to hold my breath for when
the key breaks in two.
-The worst on the list yet, the transmission is beginning to slip.
I asked a reliable mechanic I go to how long did I have till it locks up.
"Don't know," he shrugged. He recommended an additive to help, and so far, it has.
But with each day of driving to work and back, the slipping is getting a tad worse again.
I feel like I'm driving a time bomb. I'm just waiting for it to fall apart.
But the most frustrating thing of all is now I have to plan to get a new vehicle.
That part is about as much fun as diving into a swimming pool full of rabid hungry badgers.
There's SO many options. I've gotten advice from family, friends, coworkers, and all
of them are different, with only minimal difference to me in the long run financially.
Then there's what to drive. My Dad gave me a list pulled from Consumer Reports for the best
used car list for the last ten years. Between that, and Edmunds.com, I've gone through
a lot of information, and narrowed it down to what I need. The toughest part is that I
need an SUV so I can accomodate my growing family. But few SUV's are economical when it
comes to MPG. I cannot afford monthly payments above $300. So, though I am fully aware
of the hybrids out there, getting a new or used one is out of the question, plus most would
not fit a fam of 6 plus.
What hurts more is that the next vehicle I get will give me less miles per gallon than
my truck does now. It's currently 27-28 highway. I love that. But I am NOT looking forward
to paying above $60 each trip to the gas pump. It just sucks.
I've looked at better SUV's, and all of them are more expensive.
I've looked at trucks with the crew cab (a full backseat!), and they're not faring much better.
I've been scanning Edmunds.com and Carmax.com for weeks now. Comparing and recomparing,
and listing which has what. I made a full spreadsheet with just the stats most important
to me, and I just feel overwhelmed.
I don't even want to look at another truck or SUV on the road when I drive now. It depresses me.
The good news aside from this is that this month, I am FREE OF ALL CREDIT CARD DEBT!
Praise the Lord!
Plus, I paid off the family van well enough in advance. We worked hard
to do this. It took over 5 years, so now it's just the house... till the truck dies.
Then it's back to the dealership again. Ugh.
So many people regard getting a new car as an exciting thing. I don't.
I feel burdened by the whole business. All car salesmen look like feral wolves
out to rip out my throat. I don't trust them. Heck. I don't trust anyone in the car business.
I hate it when a car salesman comes up to you as if you're suddenly the best friend
to him in the world, and he's ready to give you the deal of a lifetime, easy with a
smile and a pat on the shoulder, and a tongue like oil.
And all it is is just a ruse, a con, and a silkscreen to mask the fact that he's
there to make a sale. That's it. He doesn't give a rat's crap about your family or
your life story. He just wants the money. It's what he's paid to do.
And out of this whole business, that may be the worst of all.
Sorry this vent is NONE movie related. It is a blog after all.