Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A New Beast Of Burden

Tin Lizzie had done her turn.  It was July 2005 when we bought our first Dodge Caravan.  Baby blue with just 19000 km on her, she replaced our Plymouth Voyager that left us stranded on the 416 in Ottawa when she decided to catch fire.

We've had six very faithful years out of the old girl.  Can't complain about her performance at all.  Other than tires, brakes and the usual services she required little other maintenance.

Last week I took her to the shop for her regular oil change and had the mechanic do a quick once over.  Our intent was to trade her this fall.  My eldest returns to university six hours away in two weeks and I wanted to be sure that Lizzie would get us there and back. 

The mechanic was not cheerful.  "Needs new tires, and a complete brake job.  How soon were you planning on trading?  I'd do it sooner rather than later."

The cost of repairs just to get her roadworthy was nearly the thousand bucks.  With 210000 kilometers on her we made the decision to start looking for a newer van.  Not only that, I was pretty sure the power steering was on its last legs, the windshield was cracked and the back wiper did not work.  Oh yes, and that annoying little engine light had been on for the last 50000 kms.

Tin Lizzie on her final day with us.

The front view

And one more, just for posterity's sake.

I HATE car shopping.  I don't like the high pressure tactics.  I don't like looking like I don't know anything about automobiles (I don't, but that is beside the point).

So we had made a few decisions when we started budgeting for a new vehicle.  We did not want new ..... did that twice and the thrill of owning a brand new vehicle lasts about a day and then it is used anyway, and costs a whole lot for that privilege.  We wanted something with low kilometerage, less than 50000 km would be ideal.  We thought we wanted to go to something slightly smaller and certainly a bit more sporty than the old Caravan.

We sat in a Dodge Journey - brand new of course.  Well it was nice, but we very quickly realized that it was not big enough.  With both girls looking at post secondary over the next four or five years, we need cargo space.  Scrap the smaller idea.

So it was back to looking at minivans.  We checked out quite a few specimens, but most had higher kilometerage than we wanted.  And then we started measuring. 

Our Caravan just nicely fits in our garage with about six inches to spare lengthwise.  So this very quickly became a limiting factor.  That threw out most of the newer options (I mistakenly thought we were looking at smaller and more efficiency in car manufacturing recently -- how wrong I am).  All the new Caravans are actually Grand Caravans that are about 18 inches longer than our old gal.

We took a Chevy Uplander for a test drive, actually brought it home.  It was quite impressive.  2006 with 37000 kms and what seemed a decent price. Youngest loved the DVD player, and missus liked the fact that the radio displayed the artist's name of the song that was presently playing.

We next took a Dodge Caravan for a drive around the block.  2007 with 39000 kms and again within our price range.  Momma was kind of ho hum, youngest was aghast.  "Its ugly (silver) and looks like a welfare van."  Her candidacy will get her places in life I'm sure. Me, I'm looking at serviceability and dependability - something to get us from A to B.

So we had it narrowed to these two main choices. I did some research on-line that night, and was not impressed by any of the Uplander stats.  The Caravans were much better rated overall and we certainly could not complain on past performance.  So Momma and I made the decision. Stick with the tried and true for the next vehicle.

So here she is our new baby.  You really have to look to see the differences don't you.  But she is four years newer, has 170000 less kilometers and the big difference, she is SPOTLESS inside.  Oh yes and 'welfare van' silver instead of baby blue.

And that is about all I have to say for today.

Musings and meanderings from the Musical Gardener.

1 comment:

  1. I always hate to get rid of my old cars. There is a certain sentimentality attached to each one. While my children were growing up we always bought two year old cars from Avis which had less than 20,000 miles and were in pristine condition. All of them lasted at least 7 years, then we handed them down to our kids. When our last child was in college and had only a few semesters left, I decided I deserved a brand new car at least once in my life. It was our turn. With a new car I got a warranty and never had to worry about breaking down. That feeling of security and knowing the car would start all the time is wonderful.

    Enjoy your new baby and may she run perfect for the years to come.


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