26 April 2002

Cars are a pain in the ass
I despise most aspects of owning a car.

I mean it's nice being able to get where you need to go, and mostly I even like driving. It's all the other stuff that makes me crabby.

Some people enjoy buying cars. My brother-in-law does it for a living - actually, now he's in charge of a lot of other people who buy cars, but he used to do it himself. These people like to negotiate; they like the back and forth, the games, the histrionics of the salesman who'll 'have to check with my manager'. I am not one of those people. The whole process makes me very uptight and when it's all over I'm always sure I got screwed, and everyone at the dealership is having a nice chuckle over my inept attempts to be a hard-nosed deal-maker.

Only slightly less upsetting to me is having a car serviced. Actually, I think I feel even more helpless when I have to talk to a mechanic then I do talking to a salesman. I don't know enough about cars to know when they're selling me shit I don't need. I know the salesman is trying to ring every last drachma out of me. With the mechanic there's at least a chance that he's being honest and only fixing stuff that's actually broke.

My whole car-service-buying life I've known one mechanic that I really (almost completely) trusted. He had a shop in Knoxville, Tennessee and he only worked on Hondas. At the time we owned two Hondas (actually a Honda and an Acura - same thing) so it was perfect. Unfortunately, I didn't discover him until right before we moved to Green Bay.

This subject is on my mind because I took our van in yesterday to get two new tires. The tire people tried, of course, to sell me four tires. Our van has all-wheel-drive and they were telling me about some (supposed) friend at another shop who just got sued for putting two tires on an AWD van, because the transfer-case crapped out. After a couple of minutes of back-and-forth I convinced them to just sell me the two tires I came in for. But it's still in the back of my mind - what if they're right ...

All in all, cars are just barely worth the trouble.

They were right ... $1800 later, I can tell you, they were absolutely right.

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