My wonderful Subaru Impreza inexplicably overheated last week on my way to Paulo's house. It was right before I left for Vegas, so taking it to the shop had to wait until my return. Sadly, the news from the auto repair shop is that I have a leaking head gasket...ouch...along with a problem with my clutch (which is the fault of the absolutely terrible mechanic who did a crap job on my new clutch last summer). The cost to repair it is somewhere around half of the remaining value in the car. My decision? Time to buy a new car.
Now, I'd been thinking about upgrading for some time. My sweet little Subaru had a lot of miles on it and I was thinking little things (like seals and gaskets...doh!) would be wearing out soon and it would need to have some serious investment in repairs. This is, admittedly, a much more dramatic and sudden impetus to upgrade my vehicle than I would have wished...but that's life. At this point, with a leaky head gasket, it's a candidate for a paltry trade in, or perhaps a rally racing enthusiast who want's to kit it out and take it in to the hills. I'll lose money since now I can't sell or trade it in for anywhere near what I still owe on it, but at least I'm financially solvent enough to handle it with only having to sacrifice picking up the tab at dinner with friends less often (sorry, friends...we may be splitting more checks or you'll be enjoying my home-cooked tasty cuisine).
Either way, my time with my 2001 Impreza, the first car I've ever truly loved to own, is at an end. The end of a beautiful relationship.
On another note: Paulo has been completely wonderful through all of this. He put all of his home-remodeling projects on hold to drive around to dealerships with me for the last two days. We play it like he's buying the car, or at least that I'm not buying it on my own, just to keep the salesmen on their toes. At the end of two solid days of zipping between dealerships I've decided to purchase a brand new (eek!) 2008 Impreza. I will miss having a sunroof, since they cost more to get as an option than I really want to spend right now, but the new Impreza is much safer and actually very roomy (they've moved it on to the Legacy frame). I also think the new body style is not as sporty as the 2007 and previous models, but I have found it impossible to find a manual 2007 Impreza...oh well. I also drove a Mazda 3 (poor side-impact safety ratings) and a Mitsubishi Lancer (felt like a toy car on meth). A loyal Subaru customer I remain.
Paulo has helped me with the research on what a good price is, and has also signed up to come along and help me haggle down the purchase price and help me keep an eye out for little scams they might try with financing and my trade-in. Through all of this, Paulo has avoided making me feel like I don't know what I am doing or what I need, as some guys would if taking their girlfriend car shopping. He respects the fact that I actually know quite a lot about Subarus and have a good idea of what I want. He's supportive and provides a kind of support I wasn't sure really existed - he knows how to help without taking over. He doesn't forget that this car buying experience is all about what I want, not how much he can show off about cars or bluster and be a manly man on the car lot. I think it's called respect, and it's absolutely wonderful.
Tomorrow we're going back to begin the arduous process of actually haggling with the dealers, but at the end of it all I will have a new car. Now I just have to decide if it's a better option for me to buy or lease...ahhh....the life of a consumer.
Three good things:
1. I will have a warranty!
2. My poor little car may be re-born as a rally car...how fun!
3. I've discovered yet another wonderful way in which Paulo and I are insanely compatible!
(it's exlamation point day...obviously!!)