Friday, May 30, 2014

Car shopping, and going low tech... in the simpler the better.

Here's a (buried in snow) photo of one of my favorite cars ever... my 1995 Toyota Previa... It's the car that got us home, 10 miles through a blizzard... with a broken axle. (The axle had broken during a spin out as I drove through the blizzard... but the car just kept going!) What a great car it was...

I would have driven it forever, but it blew a head gasket and at the time we thought it made more sense to replace it, than to fix it.

I've had two Kia Sedonas in the 4 years since my beloved Previa bit the dust.  I liked both my Sedonas... they were good cars for the money. But the design of the engine and all the electronics made them almost impossible for Joe to work on. For example, you can't even change a Sedona's spark plugs without removing the whole top of the engine. (Which makes replacing the spark plugs a job that requires an expensive trip to the mechanic!)

When it became clear that my latest Sedona needed more work than I was willing to put into it, and it was time to start car shopping, I started off looking for a car as new as we could afford (with no car payment... cash only). But as I looked at those cars and saw all their newer bells and whistles... I just couldn't get excited about any of them.

I couldn't drum up even a minute's worth of enthusiasm over the newer, fancier cars I was finding.

Then, on impulse, I typed "Toyota Previa" into the search box. It was a long shot... they haven't been sold in the U.S. since 1997. I found some old beat up ones up in Denver that didn't even rate a second look... but then I found a 1997 Previa for sale. The van looked great in the ad... and I started wondering if it was crazy to buy an older car on purpose. (In our society, isn't it almost required to buy a car as big and fancy as you can afford?)

I looked at and drove one of the newer cars I was considering, another Kia, and it would have served it's purpose... it was comfortable... it even had a DVD player... but I kept thinking about that older Previa.

Finally I drove up north (the car was almost 100 miles away!) and drove the Previa. It drove beautifully. I asked Joe if he could work on a it... he said it would be much easier to work on than a Sedona.

I thought about it, lost sleep over it, and finally decided to buy the Previa.

My "new" car is 17 years old and I'm thrilled with it!

It's solid, no frills, and built like a tank. It doesn't tell me the temperature outside or inside, which direction I'm going, or how many more miles I can drive before running out of gas. It doesn't remind me of things, play movies, shut it's own doors, start it's own engine, or guide me with GPS.

And it can't parallel park itself.

Which means it has exactly the features I was looking for... it's simple, basic, and should be dependable.  (It does have "all-trac" all wheel drive, I thought it was time to get a vehicle that can make it up the driveway even on the super snowy days!)

It gets a new windshield next week, and could use a run through the car wash... but that's all it needs. (It was clean when I brought it home, but it's been rained on since then.)

It feels so great to be driving a Previa again... I might have to plan a little road trip just to have the enjoyment of driving it someplace!


Renee Nefe said...

Congratulations! Finding just what you need is always great!

I know that when I bought my old Explorer, all I was looking for was the remote FOB (the keychain thingy that unlocks the doors)...bonus was the leather seats.

With my new Explorer I just wanted heated seats. I did NOT want the door keypad (I never use it and don't even know the combo) I also did NOT want the sun roof that we also don't use as it is too hot & windy. I also didn't want a 3 row seat, but now I'm regretting that decision...we've only needed the extra row once, but it would have been nice.
Being able to diagnose and fix the car ourselves would have been nice as I had a check engine light that cost me $500 for a thermostat that was making the engine run too cool. ???

Wishing you all the best with your "new" car. Happy travels! :D

Lynn said...

I SOOO understand what you mean by not needing the bells and whistles!!! I had a 2002 Honda Odyssey that I LOVED but we needed to get another vehicle. My husband took the old one and we got a new to us Odyssey. Honestly? Not loving it. I really miss driving that old one. My sisters don't get it. If the car is older than 5 years they trade it in because they LOVE the gadgets. Me? Give the older stuff, they are more durable.

So happy for your decision on your *new* car!!! Congrats!

myfullcup said...

If I had known you were looking for one of those, there is a blue one around here that is for sale.

SteveC said...

Congrats on your newest addition.
Its always nice to get what you want. As for all those bells and whistles that it doesn't have, they're never really needed in my opinion.

1. Put your arm out the window to check the temperature.
2. install a compass (I have one!)
3. don't let the fuel tank gauge get into the red
4. makes lists of things
5. you shouldn't be watching films while driving anyway
6. shut your own door
7. start the engine yourself
8. and buy a map

These add-ons are just more things that can break and maybe affect more important things!