• 52°

Rebecca Rider: Car trouble, the sequel

Remember what I said about having bad luck with cars? My newly repaired car showed its true colors over the weekend when it refused to start – again. Thankfully, I was able to coax it into working, but it was a solid two minutes of useless revving and me thinking I’d have to leave my car at the Magistrate’s Office.

Last week I said I’d wait to buy a car until I had a solid choice. That’s still my plan, but I’ve had to accelerate the timeline. Before Sunday, I was just poking half-heartedly at the problem and taking my time. But it’s time to shift into high gear.

I think the problem for myself – and perhaps most car shoppers – is deciding what is needed, rather than what is wanted. I know exactly what kind of car I want. But, facing the facts, I do not need a midsized SUV (or a 1970 El Camino). What I need is a car that’s reliable. And since I drive quite a lot for my job, I need something that’s fuel-efficient. I’m still making trips to Ikea, and have a fondness for yard sales and flea markets, so something with storage capacity would be a plus – something with a hatchback and fold down seats, perhaps.

It’s a list of criteria that’s bringing me to makers like Honda and Toyota, and looking at models like the Fit. They won’t win any beauty contests, perhaps, but sometimes dependable is what you need.

So, a list of potential models in hand, I’ve taken to the internet, and quickly run into a problem: mileage. The problem with looking at used commuter cars is that, well, they were used by commuters. Even newer models are cropping up at well over 100,000 miles.

I’m also very limited by budget. I’ve figured out exactly how much I can afford to pay on a loan – and it’s not much. Figuring out loan payments is, surprisingly, something I learned in school. Though not until I was a high school senior. Applying for a loan is another matter.

But back to the car search. It’s teaching me how to be suspicious. Why does an old model only have 35,000 miles? Why is a new model so cheap? Slowly, I’m gathering a list of things to watch out for with used cars. It’s slow going.

And at this point, it’s a needle-in-a-haystack search. I’m combing every car website I can find, and searching every dealership and private seller between Richmond, Va. and Savannah, Ga. Hopefully, luck will be with me.

In the meantime, you may catch me driving around town in my borrowed car. It drives a bit slowly, but at least I’ll be getting where I need to be. For now, at least.

 

Contact education reporter Rebecca Rider at rebecca.rider@salisburypost.com or 704-797-4264.

Comments

Education

RSS superintendent talks district’s future, strategic plan survey

News

Complaints and fines pile up against unpermitted landfill in southwest Rowan County

College

Catawba baseball: Crowd comes out to say goodbye to Newman Park

Lifestyle

History is a great teacher: Farming has helped shape Rowan County

Business

‘A safe place for them’: Timeless Wigs and Marvelous Things celebrates fifth anniversary

China Grove

County will hear request for more tree houses, hobbit-style homes in China Grove

Coronavirus

Livingstone College partners with Health Department to administer 500 Pfizer vaccinations

Education

‘Elite and it shows’: Staff at Partners in Learning at Novant celebrate news of national accreditation

Business

Biz Roundup: Food Lion earns Energy Star award for 20th consecutive year

Columns

Ester Marsh: What body type are you?

Nation/World

The queen says goodbye to Philip, continues her reign alone

Nation/World

Worldwide COVID-19 death toll tops a staggering 3 million

Nation/World

US, China agree to cooperate on climate crisis with urgency

Nation/World

Sikh community calls for gun reforms after FedEx shooting

High School

North Rowan romps into second round of football playoffs

Nation/World

FBI had interviewed former FedEx employee who killed eight

Crime

Gastonia man sentenced for crash into restaurant that killed his daughter, daughter-in-law

Nation/World

Some call for charges after video of police shooting 13-year-old in Chicago

Business

State unemployment rate falls to 5.2% in March

Coronavirus

NASCAR approach to virus vaccine varies greatly

News

Judge rejects Cherokee challenge against new casino in Kings Mountain

Elections

Jackson tops NC Senate fundraising; Walker coffers also full

Local

Kiwanis Pancake Festival serves thousands of flapjacks for charity

Coronavirus

Rowan remains in state’s middle, yellow tier for COVID-19 community spread