My First Car Shopping Experience

Or, standing my ground even though confrontation makes me want to run away screaming.

As I mentioned yesterday, I test drove a new car last night.  This is the first car shopping experience I’ve done on my own.  I currently drive a 2006 Chevy Malibu, which my parents and I purchased about 4.5 years ago.  I was part of the shopping experience last time, but my parents were paying for about 80% of the total cost so the final decision rested with them.  This time, it’s all on me.

Let me tell you, last night was an experience.  I want to share my experience so anyone who is about to embark on this endeavor doesn’t come out looking like I did, which was something like this:

To be fair, I had some extenuating circumstances that added stress to my shopping experience.  First, I went in on the defensive.  I assumed that the salesperson was going to try to take advantage of me because I was coming in as a single 24-year-old female who doesn’t have a lot of car knowledge (this assumption was reinforced by my mom, who suggested I take my brother with because “let’s face it, they take guys more seriously”).  Second, recent events have left me with major trust issues.  The salesman seemed genuine, but my trust has been abused lately so I’ve become somewhat cynical.

Finally, I was plain old pissed off that I had to be there.  I was planning on driving my Malibu until it exploded.  I wasn’t taking into consideration the fact that it was going to be “borrowed” by my ex’s junkie friends and have the inside trashed (seriously, there are stains all over from spilled drinks and the interior smells like an ash tray).  I feel violated every time I drive it.  I’m scared that there’s drug residue in there and one day the drug dogs are going to come through the school parking and go nuts.  I want to get a new vehicle as soon as possible, but I’m mad at the whole situation.

Anyway, I digress.  I test drove a 2009 Mitsubishi Galant.  I really liked the way the car drove (the acceleration on the interstate made me giddy) and the interior was pretty nice, but I was a little hung up on the exterior looks.  Also, buying a used car is scary.  I’ve had really good luck with my Malibu, what if this one breaks down all the time?  Ahhhhhhh!!

photoMy little girl, buried in snow

I sat down with the salesman after we drove it.  The car was listed at $9495, and they offered me $2000 for my trade.  That would leave me at about $7500 for the car, tax title and license not included.  I said no way, he’s got to come down.  He told me he could give me $2500 for my car, but I said that was still too high.  I told him I needed to go home and think about things, and apparently he didn’t want to see me walk out the door because he went to the manager to get a better deal.  He came back and offered me $3700 for my car, which makes the price of the car about $5700 (not including tax, etc.).

That’s a pretty good deal for a decent car.  However, I am using my wedding savings to pay for this car so I’m not financing or anything, just writing a check.  The idea of writing a $6000 check scares the bejeezus out of me.  I told him I was feeling very stressed and I wasn’t going to purchase that night, so he let me take the car overnight to think about it.

I’ve talked to various family about it and received mixed opinions about the offer.  Committing is scary!  It’s not like I’m wavering over spending $100 on a dress at Express.  This is my car.  How does one get the courage to pull the trigger on a purchase like this? (Especially when one’s judgement as been questionable as of late.)

I’m taking the Mitsu back today without a decision made, and I’m test driving a Dodge Avenger this afternoon.  I want to be rid of Olivia (my Malibu) but I’m scared to commit to a new car.  And underneath it all I’m just so angry that I’m even in this situation.

I was going to try to give some advice about car shopping, but I think I’ll reserve that for when I’ve actually completed the process.  For now, anyone have advice for me??


4 thoughts on “My First Car Shopping Experience

  1. First off, I wanted to say hi. I was reading your posts on Weddingbee and saw you have a new blog. Second, I am trying to buy a new car also. I have been test driving cars and I just can’t pull the trigger either. I haven’t had a car payment in 3 years and I don’t want another, but my car is 8 years old now, lots of miles, and it is time. But to actually pull the trigger, put the down payment down, sell my car and do it all scares me.

    I am so sorry that you are going through this hell with getting a new car because of your ex. But I am happy that I found your blog and can continue to see everything pan out.


  2. You could try and search online on what to ask when buying a used car, what to do when you get it (for example, it is a cardinal rule to change the motor belt – if it bursts the car will break down all the time.) I think there are also some sites where you can read reviews from users and compare the cars you’re test driving. That way, writing the check could be easier since you know what you’re getting and what you’re paying for. Good luck!

  3. Pingback: Being a Grown-up | Musings in the Midwest

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