December 07, 2005

Chip, chip

There's plenty going on right now in life, and as Murphy surmised, fate is always happy to add a cherry on top of everything else to be dealt with. In my case, my pickup truck decided that it was the perfect time to develop problems. Yay!

I dropped the truck off for a quick checkup over the weekend, and they confirmed what I'd suspected, it was the transmission. The mechanic (who I trust) told me that a complete diagnosis would involve pulling the transmission from the vehicle and disassembling it to discover exactly what needed to be replaced.

In other words, $800 just to find out how many more thousands I'd be forking over.

I thanked him and let him know that I'd be picking up my truck that afternoon. When he asked why I wasn't going to get the work done, I told him that it made more sense to just trade it in.

This truck is in great shape (except for the transmission). I've never had a bit of trouble from it before, but it's a 1998 and getting close to the magic 100,000 mile mark, so it was time. In fact, the original plan was to trade it in come springtime.

So we advanced the timetable forward a few months. When I started working at my current jobsite, my commute doubled from what it was before, so I wanted a little economy car. Something basic that would get good gas milage back and forth to work. Since we'd be losing the hauling capacity of the truck, my wife would trade in her big car for a minivan, and in a perfect world, we'd do it all in one swell foop.

Last night we hopped into Liz's car and headed to our local car dealer. We have a particular favorite - we'd bought three cars from them - and they have always been fair and above board with us. Armed with a printout from their website, we went browsing for used cars. After a while, we let one of the sales guys know that I was ready to do more than wander the lot and freeze. I had one requirement, I had to be able to fit inside and drive the darn thing. I'm a little taller than average, and quite a bit rounder, so I pointed to a couple of models and asked to sit inside. The salesman started talking test drive and options, but at this point, I just needed to know if I'd be eliminating them from consideration.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that not only could I drive it, but it was comfortable and even roomy. They had plenty to choose from, so it was on to stage 2 - Liz's van.

We looked at several vans, and a few smaller SUV's, and after a little discussion we decided on a van that we both liked. That told me how much I could afford on my little pocket rocket.

While making my choice, I was flipping through the printouts and noticed something. I told the salesman that the price listed online was a grand cheaper than the sticker. Without hesitation, he said "ok". I tell you, these people are easy to deal with.

We went inside to warm up and work the numbers. They took Liz's car for an inspection and decided that they'd just work my truck trade sight unseen, based on my answers to a checklist they had. I didn't mention the transmission, because a seven year old truck was a throw-in for this deal as far as I was concerned. We soon realized that it just wasn't adding up for us. We switched focus to just getting me the little commuter, using my truck for trade, and I started feeling guilty about it.

The guy came back and gave me their best offer: $2500 bucks for the truck (that they'd never seen). That was quite a bit more than I expected, but I couldn't take it. I told the guy that the truck might have some transmission problems and that he was offering too much. He thanked me for being a sucker honest and offered $1800. I jumped at that.

This morning, I drove my new (to me) 2004 Hyundai Accent to work. This afternoon, I'll take my truck over to the dealer and drop it off, saying goodbye to a great vehicle. Yep, they still haven't seen the truck.

There's still a lot going on that I have to deal with, but this went better than I could have hoped. They'll get my business again for sure, and I feel good about not ripping them off after they trusted me. A little bit of that weight-of-the-world has been chipped away from my shoulders. Feels good.

Posted by Ted at December 7, 2005 12:07 PM | TrackBack
Category: Boring Stories

The weird thing about being a used car salesman must be that he knows that everybody thinks he's trying to cheat them and that he knows that everybody is trying to cheap him. Kudos for the honesty. I'm sure it was a breath of fresh air to someone who's probably worried that he'll become someone he wont want to look at in the mirror in the morning.

Posted by: Tuning Spork at December 7, 2005 10:12 PM

currently toiling in advertising on behalf of the car dealer, I can tell you that good, honest ones are few adn far between...

you fit into an Accent? I can barely fit into an Accent...And I'm not even tall.

Disposable cars, those Accents. But great gas mileage!

Posted by: Derek at December 8, 2005 01:20 PM

Hats off to ya for the honesty,Ted.Con jobbing a company isn't any more moral than doing it to a person.
Also,I know how you feel on that tranny thing.I had to get rid of both my 68 Roadrunner and my 78 Wagoneer because the cost of fixing tranny problems was more than I could afford.Sounds like you made out pretty well though.Good luck with it.I am kinda suprised that you liked the Hyundai.My granny has one.I have driven it a few times and it seems cramped to me.That's not to mention bashing my head on the roof ridge every time I get into it.For an economy only car I would pick a nice,clean,low mile Dodge Omni any day.
Let me tell ya Ted that even new cars can be somewhat of a PITA.I just had almost $ 1,500 worth of service work done to mine.Most of that was just regular maintenance minus a new camshaft positioning sensor.I decided to go ahead and get everything done from top to bottom after my battery died at that little store up there next to Great Meadow one day a few months ago.The cam sensor was something I had put off for over a year.Thing is that it was originally diagosed as a bad fuel pump.That's understandable as it did have all of the symptoms.

Posted by: Russ at December 8, 2005 05:06 PM
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