Sunday, March 6, 2016
There's just no easy way to say this. I bought a minivan. Yes, I've joined the minivan driving, crazy dog lady brigade. Cause nothin' says single lady on the prowl quite like a minivan. If this minivan be rockin'....it's probably because my dogs are inside. I could continue on with the self deprecating humor, but I think you get the idea. ;)
In my defense, they are incredibly practical when you have dogs and are involved in dog sports. They are also affordable, both in upfront cost as well as cost of ownership. Cost and dogs were my two driving forces.
While new car shopping can be exciting, it's decidedly more enjoyable when you're not up against a deadline and not basically forced into a corner of having to make a decision and make it fast. Two Sundays ago, while I was on my way north with my truck loaded up with the dogs and the majority of my core strengthening equipment for Dane Outreach's annual Education day (some posts about it from previous years are here and here), the heat to the cab cut out and any time I would go above 60 mph (parts of the highway in Washington have a speed limit of 70 mph, so I wasn't making any friends) the truck's temperature gauge would go to hot. So I turned around and carefully headed home. A friend came over to take a look and see if he could give me a rough idea of what was going on. Long story short, there is a known defect in the Nissan radiators that they put in a few different models over the span of a few years, where a hole develops into the transmission case. This allows transmission fluid to go into the radiator and coolant to flow into the transmission case. Not good. Also, not cheap to fix if you take it to the dealership in the hopes of them covering at least part of this. And in case you're wondering, Nissan did have a class action law suit filed against them, but I am outside of the pay out period for the repairs. They did NOT do a recall. Again, long story short, if you have a Nissan vehicle, just start Googling this and I recommend you file a complaint with the national safety commission. Again, all of that is a very lengthy story, but that's the gist of it.
In essence, I have a high mileage truck that is going to cost more to repair in the time frame that I needed, than I could afford. I had four days of dog shows down in Albany, OR as well as a plethora of other things going on that week and I NEEDED to have a vehicle that was capable of holding my dogs and their equipment as well as safe. Oh yeah, and I needed to be able to afford it. That affordability part is something that car salesmen don't seem to really care that much about and they will continue to try to sell you a vehicle out of your price range, even when you get bitchy about it. Thankfully, I had a couple of friends who putting in some serious over time helping me with this. I was completely clueless going into this whole process. When I got the truck, I had my then husband doing as much of the work as possible, because I was so opposed to the whole process. My test driving of the truck involved him driving it to our house. I drove it around the block. Gave the thumbs and then just showed up at the dealership when I needed to sign the papers. Also a lengthy story is the listing of everything that my friends Deedra and Shane helped me with. They put in a couple hours that Sunday night helping me figure out what I could afford, what I was potentially looking at getting for a trade in on the truck and what all my various options were. Then they gave up their evenings that Monday and Tuesday night to go around to dealerships with me and have my back so that I didn't get screwed by any car salesmen. In the end, I had to come to the conclusion that the minivan was the most practical and affordable for my needs. I had to make a freaking grown up decision. I really hate it when I have to do that.
On the plus side, I still have my truck. I really wasn't going to be able to get anything for it on trade in value. And I have a friend who has generously offered to help me with the labor part of fixing it up and is helping me find the parts that I need at affordable prices. And finally, having full coverage on the minivan and base coverage on the truck has only increased my total monthly insurance cost by a couple dollars. Now I can gradually do the repairs that are needed on my truck and buy myself some time to figure out what to do with it once it's repaired. I don't frequently need a four wheel drive vehicle, but there are times where I absolutely do. So on the one hand, it's convenient for me to have that four wheel drive vehicle as a back up when I need it. On the other hand, that is still the maintenance of two vehicles. And my insurance will go up a jump more once I put the truck on higher coverage. And now I have a monthly car payment. I may have more adult decision to make in the near future. But for right now, I DON'T WANT TO HAVE TO MAKE ANY MORE DECISIONS!!
With all of that being said, I have to begrudingly admit that I do actually really like the minivan. It actually has a turning radius. It's a heck of a lot easier to load and unload crap and dogs out of it. I'm able to climate control the are that the dogs are in. And it gets a little better gas mileage than the truck does (Frontiers actually get pretty decent gas mileage for a truck). Which was handy considering that I put over 1,000 miles on the minivan in the first week of ownership. Yeah. I think I need a weekend to be a freaking hermit!