In which my search for safety, economy and reliability come up short
I turned down a car that was offered to me. If you’ve been hanging out in my ramshackle corner of the Internet for awhile, you’ve known how much I need to get a car.
My neighbor at the end of my street has two college-age sons. They shared the old family car when they were in high school. Now entering their second and third years of college respectively, both kids have decided to pass on car ownership for the time being. The aging Hyundai Elantra GLS has been idle for months.
The kids’ dad offered it to me last week. I could buy it for next to nothing. “Just get it off my hands. It can’t sit in the drive because we just don’t have the room and I want it gone.”
I wish I could say it was a perfect match. Based on what I’ve observed over the years, I knew better. They never really took care of their cars. I looked the car over. It had been washed and prepped for sale. The radio didn’t work well, and the window motors were iffy. It squeaked by smog testing earlier this year. Barely.
Service records were scarce. Understandable from a busy family with two kids and not a clue about cars.
This Beggar Needs To Be a Chooser
Still, I need wheels. Beggars aren’t supposed to be choosers, right?
One of my friends is a tech over at the local Shell station, so I ran the car over there for a pre-sale inspection. I hovered while he checked it out and rode shotgun while he drove it. Too many knocks, creaks, and squeals for my blood. I knew that from my short drive to the station.
The rear bearings were shot to hell to add insult to injury. I also worried that it would burst into flames just when I needed it most.
“You could go back and counter-offer him about a grand less, because that’s how much you’re looking at to get it really road-worthy.”
NOPE. I’ve been down this road before. No sooner will I sink a grand (which I don’t have in the first place) than I will have to sink yet another grand into the next crisis that pops up. I remember driving an aging car. I lived in crisis mode the last three years of that car’s life.
I can’t and won’t do it again. Call me crazy, because I don’t have a lot of options here, but I have neither the nerve or the resources to take on another elderly car. I don’t have the tools or the space to fix it myself. I sure as hell don’t have the cash.
It was sold two days later, most likely to someone with the emotional and financial wherewithal to take on an aging car that needs serious work. More power to ’em.
For the sake of my sanity and finances, this beggar is gonna be a chooser.