Saturday, December 10, 2011

How to Buy A Used Car

If you recall from my earlier posts, my beloved Toyota Camry met an untimely end due to a deranged deer rearranging the contents of the engine compartment.

Because the damage included so many parts (not only the hood, light, and radiator, but also the side of the car because the deer pushed the side fender into the door) and because the car had 180K miles on it, the insurance company declared it a total loss.  I do want to brag a little on State Farm for a second: they consistently contacted me before I had a chance to contact them and before I even realized it they had a check in my hand for the fair value of the car--no going back and forth with low-ball offers or any other kind of trouble that most people now come to expect from insurance companies.  They were fast, fair and thorough.  Every person I dealt with was very professional and friendly.  Although I can count on one hand the number of times I've had to make a claim in my entire life, I honestly expected the process to be much more painful.

(By the way, State Farm did not pay me for that endorsement.  State Farm has no idea who I am, other than your average, everyday customer. I could die tomorrow and State Farm wouldn't know it, especially since I have no life insurance policy with them.  Over and out.)

While the claims process wasn't the least bit painful, the thought of having my lovely, dependable Camry totaled was so very sad for me.  I know it wasn't very new and I know it had a lot of miles, but this car was paid off, it was well-kept, and it was dependable as all get out.  The only thing I've ever spent on it was maintenance, tires, and gas.

Now that the Camry has gone on to that big highway in the sky, I was faced with the daunting and loathsome task of perusing used car lots for a replacement.  I did look at several newer Camrys (or is it "Camries?"--what is the plural of "Camry" anyway?), but each time I hesitated because (1) it just didn't have the time-tested dependability that my old Camry had and (2) I kept thinking about how close I came to that deer ending up in my grill rather than my car's.

Dad and I looked for a car for me today and what we finally both realized was that "my car" was right in front of me the entire time:

By midday, it was decided that my "new" 2002 Toyota Sequoia will soon be purchased from Dad's Used Car Dealership (his motto: "selling cars to my eldest daughter one at a time").  I decided to be a repeat customer, having bought the Camry from Dad a few years ago.  

Another advantage is that Dad has these vehicles for a while and tests them out for me, so I know when I buy them, they've got all the bugs worked out.  (Note: now watch as soon as I take it over it will break down, just because I said that.  I'm not pessimistic, I just know that Fate hates me).

Anywho...other that the comparatively poor gas mileage, this will be a great vehicle for me.  It is four-wheel drive, so I can get around in the snow well.  I will be installing a grill guard on it this week so those pesky deer can't leave anymore butt imprints in my radiator.  Everything is in great shape and the dogs will have plenty of room now to travel in style.

Officially I won't be able to take over the Toyotasaurus Rex for while, since Dad sort of needs a way to get back and forth from work.  We decided since he wanted--has ALWAYS wanted--a brand new Toyota Tundra, that he might as well get what he really wants and that way everyone wins.  I get a nice vehicle that I know and won't stress over, and he'll get a nice vehicle and something he really, truly wants.  In the meantime, until Dad gets the truck of his dreams, I've got my trusty Dodge truck that gets 10 gallons to the mile.

Keep on Truck'n,


Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Refreshing to hear a nice report about an insurance company. Glad it wasn't too much of a headache for you.

Dad's used car dealership is the best! :) He also runs a replace all four tires with shiny new safe ones down my way... gotta love ♡dad♡.

Fantastyk Voyager said...

I'm sorry about the loss of your Camry. My son wrecked my 2004 Hyundai a couple of weeks ago so I know what you are going through. However, my car was only insured for liability so it's my monetary loss. Ouch!

I am still looking for a used car. I have been to the used car lot where I bought my last three cars: Hyundai Accent that my son drove and wrecked, 2002 Subaru Impreza wagon that I'm driving and my daughter's 2000 Saturn that is now my other son's transportation. They will give me $800 towards my next purchase so they just need to get the right car for me, soon I hope.