Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Buying a car

We bought another car on Saturday. My wife's Ford Explorer was getting pretty sick and tired and it was time to retire it and get something a little less expensive to run and to repair. Despite my best efforts I couldn't persuade her to settle for something sensible like a Kia Rio; no sirree bob, she wanted an SUV. At least she'd settle for a Kia so we went kicking tyres and test driving.

The first yard we went to does the high pressure thing. We all hate that and yet those yards are still thriving. Go figure. They had a 3 year old Kia Sportage in our price range so she took it for a test-drive. She was happy with the way it drove so it was a good thing I was along. She drove away from the yard; I drove it back. The steering was highly suspect; you could wobble that steering wheel around a couple of inches in either direction and the vehicle didn't even notice. It also shuddered on upchanges with the automatic transmission so I gave it the thumbs down.

We moved on, almost weeping at the abject sorrow the salesman displayed as we tried to leave :-)

The second yard also did the high pressure thang. That salesman tried the 'I've been to Australia' ploy. Anything to connect with the customer right? When he tried to say 'mate' and it came out more like 'mite' we both laughed. They didn't have anything in our price range though of course he tried to make it out that his offering was highly affordable and we could 'easily make the payments'. That way bankruptcy lies.

An hour or so later we test drove another Kia Sportage. This one lacked the flaws of the first one we'd tried, it was in our price range and it had reasonably low miles. A bit of dickering and we had a deal.

Why is it that it takes so long to go from agreeing on a deal to actually consummating the deal? I've bought a few cars in my time and it has never taken less than 2 hours. Even when we bought my Kia Rio a year ago for cash it took over 2 hours. What on earth are they doing behind those soundproof transparent walls that takes so long?

We got our hands on the keys about 6:30 PM and drove off. Time for dinner and neither of us felt like cooking so we drove to a nice little restaurant not far from home. Of course, this was Saturday and they're not open for dinner on weekends so we decided to go somewhere else. Meanwhile my wifes phone had been going off like there was no tomorrow and she'd been driving and talking on the phone. I hate it when she does that! So, when we realised we had to go elsewhere I said I'd drive so she could give her full attention to the phone. As we took off I glanced at the temperature gauge. It was jammed hard against the stop on the high side.

Uh oh! I pulled into a convenient petrol station right there, killed the engine and could feel the radiator boiling it's little heart out. I kid you not, 10 minutes later you could still feel the vibrations. The bonnet(hood) was too hot to touch!

So we got on the phone to the dealership. I'll give them their due. By the time we phoned em it was a couple minutes short of 8 PM but they sent a tow truck to haul the purchase back to the workshop and the sales guy drove our temporary replacement car over himself.

We're supposed to get the vehicle back tomorrow. We hit them with a request for an extended warranty on the engine; who knows what damage the overheating might have done? They've agreed to give us 20,000 miles extra warranty on the engine and cooling system. Of course, I'll believe it when I see it in writing.

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