I bought my kid a car. It’s a 1999 Infiniti i30. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s not quite the beater car that I thought I was going to end up getting him. It’s a cute little car, with a sunroof and a couple dings in it. He didn’t know I was car shopping for him. I’ve been looking for a while, but the budget I had in mind and the type of car I wanted to get for that budget weren’t quite matching up. Sure, I knew that for less than $2000 I wasn’t going to get anything fantastical or new, but I was hopeful that I would find something that needed minimal work and would run for the next year or so. I looked on Facebook, I looked on Craigslist, and eventually I downloaded the Letgo app and that’s where I found the Infiniti.
Car shopping and repair shopping fall into the same category for me. I don’t really like to do either because I feel like my vagina puts me at a disadvantage. If I take a man with me, it seems like I’m less likely to get screwed over, even though, I usually know more about cars than any of the guys I’ve ever dated or taken to a car lot or repair shop with me. I can change my own tire, change my own oil (even though I don’t), I can even change a CV boot if necessary, but as is the way of the world, I should only know how to make a mean red velvet cake and should keep my ass close to a kitchen while wandering around barefoot and pregnant.
I know all men don’t feel like that, but I do feel like that is the sentimentality among sleazy car salesmen. Not that all car salesmen are sleazy, but for the most part, the car salesmen at the lots I would have had to go to, usually are. The buy here, pay here kind. The kind who will try to talk you out of every last dime you have and then still try to squeeze more out of you for tax, tags, and title. I wasn’t interested in that. So I made up my mind to buy a car from a person. No payments and then whatever issues it had, because I knew it would have some, I would worry about on a month by month basis instead of worrying about making a car payment.
Some of the issues I ran into were transmission issues (no thank you), oil pan issues (nope, I’ll pass), fuel filter issues (ummm….nah) and my favorite issue of all time was the “I don’t have the title yet, but we can sign something until I get it (that’s gonna be a no from me). So, I went to look at the Infiniti. I will say that it’s not wise to have two double shots of tequila before going car shopping. I let the owner of the car drive me around a couple of blocks while he tried to talk to me and listen to the music. Despite the tequila, I turned the radio down and politely told him to shush. I wanted to listen to what was going on. I could hear the CV joint clicking ($150), the windshield is cracked ($200), and there was a weird abrupt pull to the right every time you stopped and got going about 30 mph that he said was the rack and pinion (at least $600). But the car itself was only $1500. I offered him $1300. He counter offered $1350. I didn’t have change so he ended up with $1400. Tequila.
And I bought a car.
My kid was super stoked. Until he was driving it and the massive pull to the right happened and he almost pooped himself thinking he was a goner. But, I got that fixed today. It turned out to be the control arm. Which is great, because I thought it was the rack, but the mechanic said the rack is fine. And he put on new brakes so the car is doing what it is supposed to do now…. driving straight and stopping. The kid is still asleep, so he doesn’t know that I’ve saved his life yet. It does, in fact, still need a CV joint and it needs some struts and sway bars. But that’s about $600 more and the car will be in tip top shape.
The mechanic said the engine is running great and he will easily be able to drive this car for the next couple years. And in a couple years, he can decide whether to buy a car from a car lot or pay cash. I’m not a fan of payments for anything besides rent. So, he’ll have a decision to make at some point.
But he will be 18 in 7 months so, theoretically, I only have to worry about it until then.