I was hoping that when I wrote this third part of the recent car troubles series (part 1 and part 2), that it would be the last of them for a long while. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like the car karma is with us on that. On the bright side, it doesn’t appear that anything has gotten any worse. Before I get too far ahead of myself, let me just tell you what’s been going on.
Shortly after I wrote and posted part 2 of the car trouble series, my employer (a Credit Union), came into possession of a Suburban. The astute reader will realize that for a credit union to come into possession of a car means that it is was repossession. When they have repos, they generally open them up to public bidding to try and
get rid of them. After a lot of careful deliberation and even more careful number crunching, my wife and I decided that we would be remiss in not bidding on the Suburban if we could get a good deal on it. It’s got 135,000 miles on it, but we’ve talked to several Suburban owners who have seen theirs drive 200,000 miles. The retail value on it was just under $9000. We decided that we would go to $6500. If we couldn’t get it for that, we’d let it go.
I feel that I should explain some of our rational for deciding to purchase (or attempt to purchase) the vehicle. We are a family of four. We also have a large Golden Retriever. The cars that we currently own are a Chevy Cavalier, and an Oldsmobile Alero. Neither of those will allow for taking the entire family, dog included, anywhere. If we want to go anywhere with the dog along, we have to take both cars, or not go at all. That particular problem doesn’t arise often, but it does arise. The second problem is that as the kids get bigger, so do their needs for luggage space. It’s already gotten to the point where we can’t go anywhere for more than a night or two and still get away with everything fitting in the smaller Cavalier. A larger vehicle has been on our wish list for a while, but we haven’t been able to justify the cost or afford the payments, considering that most of the reliable ones all cost somewhere around $9-10,000 at a car dealership. So, we figured that if we can get the Suburban for $6500 or less, we could make it work.
The final day for the bidding on the Suburban came around, and it was fast and furious. For several hours, I was responding to either an email or a text message with the new high bid in it, and raising our bid if needed. The price edged closer and closer to the $6500 mark and eventually passed it. And as it did, I dropped out of the bidding. With just me and one other bidder involved at that point, the other bidder won the auction at $6600. It stunk, but we set a mark and stuck with it. We were disappointed that we couldn’t get it, but sometimes that’s just the way it works.
Fast forward a couple of days. I get an email from one of the collections officers. The high bidder decided he couldn’t afford the vehicle and backed out. If I still wanted it, it was mine. I quickly called my wife to double-double check that it was still a go and then emailed him back to tell him that we’d take it. The best part? Because the high bidder backed out, I got it for the price of the first bid that outbid the other (3rd) bidder who dropped out at $5600. Final price, we paid? $5690. After the loan paperwork was all taken care of, and about $100 was added to the total of the loan for licensing and a bit more for tax, the total of the loan was just a hair over $6100. As a reminder, the retail value on this car is about $8900. Even if I decided to just sell it, I would likely come out ahead. I don’t intend to sell it, but I could if I wanted to and smell like roses afterward.
With the addition of this vehicle, we also decided to sell one of the cars to help offset the cost of the rebuilt motor in the Alero. We’ll end up selling the Cavalier, simply because it is the smallest of the bunch and least likely to be able to transport our growing family as time goes on. I suppose I should update you on the rebuilt motor too, as that continues to be a bit of an adventure. We still don’t know how much it is going to cost. Why? Because, in the several weeks that the mechanic has had the car, they haven’t been able to tear the motor apart to assess the damage. They’ve got a trouble car that’s in the queue in front of us, and until that car is done, they don’t have the mechanics to spare to work on ours. Because we bought the Suburban, not having the other car hasn’t really been an issue. If we hadn’t done that though, we’d be looking at more carpooling or a rental car. I’m sure insurance would have picked up some of the rental, but not all of it. And the carpooling only works on certain days. It would have been difficult to be sure.
There you have it. Our car troubles haven’t gotten any worse. And, you could argue that the Suburban part actually makes it a bit better (I would). But, the car troubles certainly aren’t entirely resolved either. Hopefully, I’ll be able to write part 4 soon and maybe one last closing part on selling a used car too!