Well I did it. After months of speculation and denial, I bought a new car.
I know, I know, I shouldn’t have done it but I succumbed in a moment of weakness. That is my only excuse. Well that and the fact that my last bill at BMW was $1800 for mostly routine things like getting the front brakes redone and the replacing the rubber grease boots on the steering. Like all good repair shops, they always do an inspection to see what else will need replacing in the future and the list they gave me was fairly extensive so I know that down the road, I was looking at least another $2000 or so worth of work and that would be no guarantee that I would still not break down in the middle of nowhere. With 160,000 miles on the clock and with the constant feeling of mistrust, it was time.
So, I opted to go look at new cars. My timing was terrible as I had just paid for another year of registration for the BMW and I couldn’t get any of that back. I wasn’t sure what I was going to buy this time around so while my car was at the BMW repair shop, I took the opportunity of looking at used X5′ and even X3’s but the best I could afford was a three-year old model and even it cost almost $40,000 It didn’t seem to make much sense to pay that sort of money for another used car as I would only be gaining about 6 years of car life, 2003 for the old car and 2009 for the one I was looking at and could afford. So, very reluctantly, I decided that I had owned my one and only BMW and it was time to move on (or back) to something else.
I have owned a lot of cars in my lifetime starting with a 1936 Austin 10 (the year I was born) and in my younger days, it seemed I was always buying yet another different model. It was not until I was much older in life was I able to afford a new one so many of the used ones were not always in the best shape. I spent a lot of time under the hood and the benefits of that was that I had a good working knowledge of car repair and could usually get myself out of any difficult moments that came up.
That was until I arrived in America. The first time I lifted the hood of an American car and saw that bloody great V8 engine that filled the entire engine compartment did I realize that I was way out of my depth in terms of mechanical knowledge and from that point on, I left anything that required getting my hands greasy to the trained mechanics. I do the mundane things like topping up the radiator or putting in a quart of oil without too much difficulty and can keep the tires inflated and top up the windshield washer fluid but anything beyond that, I take it to the garage and let them deal with it.
But I deviate from the new car story. I was torn between what I should buy this time around as I knew that I had had my one and only luxury car so it was time to talk of more down to earth models. I am an avid gardener and very handy with my hands when it comes to building things or repairs around the house. I know that I will always have these interests as I have spent my entire life in construction and will continue to work on this stuff as long as I am physically able. What this meant was that I had three choices in terms of the new vehicle. I thought briefly in terms of a car but quickly put that idea out of my mind as not being practical. That left me with two choices. I could buy a pickup truck, either small or regular size or I could go the same route that I was currently at and this is with an SUV and the 4×8 garden trailer that I already own. I opted for the latter.
As there is only me most of the time, I do not need a full size SUV so that narrowed the search down to the smaller models. I had owned a Ford Escape before the BMW and although had not been 100% satisfied with that particular model and in truth, could not wait to get rid of it after a couple of years, I decided to go online and take a look at the current version to see what was different about the latest models. I knew what I was looking for as I have a friend who has just bought a new car with the most fantastic electronic gadgets imaginable and, like a little kid with a new toy, I had to have that stuff in anything that I was going to buy.
I was sitting outside one of the Starbucks with a friend when this lady pulls up with this very nice looking car. I had no idea what it was but it caught my eye. She was getting ready to leave so I approached her and she very willingly showed me her car. Turns out, it was a Ford Escape, the latest model and I was sold.
I had printed out the information I had found on the web on a particular model that seemed to have everything that I wanted and took it with me to Covert Ford on Research Boulevard. I had never had any dealing with this company before but I was lucky enough to have a very attractive and knowledgeable sales lady named Stefanie who found the car I was interested in and then walked me through the entire process of buying the car. We walked the lot and she showed me similar cars so I had a very good idea of what I was going to buy. My car, or should I say, the car of my choice was on a different lot and had to be prepared for sale. As it was getting late, Stefanie put me in an Escape loaner and my trip home was also my test drive. I was not disappointed.
I did have a bit of a scare as I was caught in the evening traffic on Mopac on the way home and I heard a ding from one of the warning signals and spotted that the little gas pump icon was showing telling me that I was low on gas. Not yet understanding the intricacies of the different things on the dashboard, I panicked and pulled off to put in a couple of gallons. I discovered the next day, that it comes on when there are 50 miles of gas left in the tank. Oh well, better safe than sorry.
The next day, Stefanie called me to say my car was ready and we arranged for me to pick it up. We had already unloaded the BMW of my personal items and I had said goodbye to the car. It had been a very good car from my perspective and I had been more than satisfied and more than a little sad of letting it go after 8 years of service. But what the hell, out with the old and in with the new and besides, the new car has a lot of electronic gadgets to play with.
So, I am now the proud owner of a 2014 model Ford Escape Titanium in Silver Grey with all of its bells and whistles, turbo charged engine, flashy lights, warning signals, and back up video camera. If you wave your foot under the back tailgate, it opens automatically and the bloody thing is even supposed to be able to parallel park itself. Can’t wait to try that out.
I do have to go back next week to get the towing package installed but they have promised me a loaner for the short time it will take. I thought that the BMW was probably going to be the last car that I ever had need to purchase but I just proved that idea wrong. Still, I said the same thing when I bought my last pair of soccer shoes when I was 50 or so years old thinking my playing days were almost over. Turns out, I played until I was 72 and bought a couple of pairs of new soccer shoes in that time.
Funny old thing, life although I wouldn’t have it any other way…