30 June 2004

I'm in love with my car

Well, that's good, but with that outlook, you're gonna end up hating it. I hear this too many times when I ask people why they bought a used car without having us look at it. "Oh, I just fell in love with it."

"Why?" I ask.

"Because it's cute (red, cool looking, my friend says they're good, or whatever blew your skirt up at the time.)"

That's when I shrug my shoulders and offer congratulations. When you leave, we're all laughing. Trust me, we know the quirks in most cars, what will go bad first in your particular used piece of shit and, considering the mileage, we can guess pretty well when you'll bring it back wondering why it doesn't run. If you go buy a used car without having your mechanic look at it first, you're asking for it. Any used car dealer who doesn't let you bring it to your mechanic, or bring it to me himself, ain't worth the powder to blow him up. Odds are, he's a crook. A reputable used car dealer will bring one of his cars for inspection to any mechanic you want.

"Oh, but look at how clean it is under the hood," you say.

A steam cleaner and Armor All, and 20 minutes of elbow grease can make any old leaky motor look clean. Armor All, or some equivalent, works as well on old, worn out hoses as well as it does on your dashboard. Yeah, it looked clean, but why are there spots all over your driveway, Lugnut? Some oil leaks require big labor to fix. Think about that when the motor looks so clean.

Rule #2: Car salesman (especially used car salesmen) are generally the lowest form of life on the planet. Don't believe anything they say. If he says the sky's blue, go outside and check. If you have any doubts, have someone who knows their way around a car go with you. And I'm not talking about your buddy who reads hotrod magazines. He knows just enough to be dangerous. Get someone who pays their bills by fixing cars.

So, to summarize:

1. Don't go shopping for a used car based on color, make, model, or anything like that. Keep every option open. Who cares if it's the ugliest thing you've ever seen or the color makes you puke. You're buying a piece of machinery, not art. The money you save on repairs can go for new paint. If you are buying becasue of any of the above, buy new. New cars come with warranties and if it's a piece of shit, you can get rid of it in a couple years without losing too much money.

2. Always have a reputable mechanic of your choice look it over before you lay any money down. And don't bring it to a guy who's near the dealer. He probably gets half his business from the dealer and he doesn't want to fuck up that arrangement.

Listen to me, Lugnut. I've seen too many people get fucked by the car they fell in love with.

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