A New Car?

So… the saga of my car and its problems continues.  I drive a 1997 Ford Explorer.  We didn’t trade it in during Cash for Clunkers because no payments were better than having to make payments.  However, about a month ago the brakes went out while I was driving home.  Fortunatly there wasn’t an accident, and Ed and my brothers fixed them.  Two weeks ago, it failed emissions because the check engine light was on, which has been on for months, and we thought it was due to a problem with the light in the dashboard, not with the engine itself.  So we have to get that fixed in order to pass emissions testing.  Then today, it wouldn’t start.  It seems to be running fine now, so we’re not sure why it wouldn’t start.  The problem is that it’s simply not reliable.  Over the years, I’ve been stranded a few times when I was taking classes at the University, but fortunately most of the time when something’s wrong I’m close to home.  I hate having a car that’s unreliable.

And there’s a big difference between me being stranded alone and being stranded with a baby.  So, we’re seriously considering getting a new car.  It’s not the best time to take on another monthly payment, with me going on leave and basically not getting paid from April through September, but really when is a good time to take on more debt?  We’re looking at used cars, and I have only a few requirements:  My car needs to have four-wheel drive, especially for our icy, steep road.  My car also needs to have room for equipment and bags of soil that I cart from Agway to the greenhouse at school, as well as occasional random farm items.  Oh, and it needs to be safe and reliable, as well as family-friendly, since I have a tendency to hang onto a car for years and years.  We’re looking for a car that’s a few years old with low miles, and my requirements pretty much mean getting another SUV.  (I’d love to drive a pick-up truck, but it’s not exactly a mom-friendly car…)  Used hybrids are few and far between, and they’re mostly out of our price range.  Biodiesel is mostly out, since diesel engines tend to be more expensive and I’m not looking to take on making our own fuel.  Flex-fuel compatible is fine, but there’s no ethanol station around here, and I’m not convinced that ethanol is better than petroleum.  So it’s looking like we’re just going to keep having to do what we’ve been doing: driving less and conserving fuel.  It’s hard to make an eco-friendly choice when there isn’t a perfect choice out there, and even the better choices are prohibited by cost.  At least for this week I’m on vacation and don’t need to go anywhere for the most part.

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9 Responses to A New Car?

  1. A couple of years ago we bought a Saturn Outlook. Love it. Last Dec it even had an altercation with a double dualed John Deere… and they put it back together.

    I love it.

  2. ctdaffodil

    Subarus are nice little cars – they make a smaller 4C wagon lots of my friends have them and load them up with kids and sports stuff….

  3. I’m really enjoying my RAV4. It has decent space for carrying farm stuff and is also quite family friendly. Mine is 4 wheel drive 6 cylinder and gets an average of 24 mpg. They’re also not all that pricey.

  4. Wish I had another 4WD to pass on to you, but since I’ve been told I’m not allowed to drive a baby in the convertible, I guess I have to keep my old SUV! Also, how else would I get up our driveway in the winter?

    Wish you all the best in your search. Used is probably the way to go, but at least you have yours until you find something. If you ever get stranded, help is only a phone call away. Call any of the fam!

    I know you need 4WD and I know I feel much safer in something that sits a bit higher and isn’t too compact.

    Good luck!

  5. Rob

    Since when are pick ups not mom cars??? They make those fancy Club Cab pick ups, wirh full back seats these days.
    Imagine not letting rose take baby in the convertible. What crust!

  6. We ran into the same issue when a couple months before our first baby came our prius broke down. We pulled a bit from savings and pulled a loan out as well for a 2002 Volkswagon Passat. Very large in the back, but perhaps not as tall as the SUV. Congrats again on the baby and I LOVE your husband’s table. Absolutely beautiful.

  7. Now you just pipe down about pickups and babies. :P

    Anyway, many SUVs are more more fuel efficient than pickups so I think that is a great choice. My vote: Jeep Liberty, or another Jeep (not a Wrangler obviously) like a Commander or a Grand Cherokee if you could find one with decent miles. I said Jeep Liberty because they are popular enough that they are some really nice ones out there at reasonable prices. My Mom and friend both both have/had one and loved them. My Mom has a Jeep Patriot now but that is pretty new I think, but she likes it a lot too. Not because of the name at all just because they are reliable, parts and service are readily available, and they handle well. I’m sure you’ll pick out something great! Oh, again just my two cents, but I’ve seen a lot of problems with GMC Jimmys. Maybe there are nice ones but the three I’ve known have all been lemons.

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