Friday, Maria got word that her decade-old Yaris has a rusted out axle and had to be sold. That afternoon, I did something I have never done before, I went to a local used car independent dealer and spotted a 2014 Hyundai Accent that had just gone on sale for $7, 500.
I am learning that contrary to their bad public image, some independent used car dealers can be quite honest and low-key.
We learned that it had been owned by one man, a churchgoer (he left literature in the back) who kept the car clean and put 93,000 miles on. Maria took it for a test drive late Friday afternoon and she liked it. We've been checking out ever since.
This morning, we took it to our mechanic, the very honest and skilled and conscientious Charlie Shussler at Rushinksi's Automotive Repairs – we are very loyal to Charlie, he is just great to know and work with. He gave us the okay to buy the car, and also advice on what to ask for and on what to pay.
Gene, our dealer, said he was fine with our taking it into see Charlie and getting it checked out. Charlie put it up on the lift – he insisted we go over the car with him – and checked it for rust. He is very pleasant and leaves us alone to look at the car.
Charlie went over every inch of it. Maria has already been online checking reviews and Blue Book estimates of worth.
Charlie also drove it with us. He found some brake issues that need attention, but otherwise said the car was in good shape – no rust, no engine problems. He went on carfax.com to check out the history of the car – no accidents, no problems. He explained the mechanics of the car, most of which I could not follow.
Maria did better.
This is the most pleasant car buying experience I have ever been around in my life. We haven't had to drive more than two miles to find a car, test drive it, get it checked out. Honestly, it is quite a pleasure to buy a car from someone whose business is just down the road and who is not a high-pressure car salesperson at a big dealership.
We're going to talk to Gene, the dealer shortly, and we'll make him an offer that we can afford. We hope to pay cash and have no car payments to pay off. Maria is going to do the negotiating, I'll be on hand if needed. I doubt I will be needed. Maria knows how to take care of herself.
More later. If this works, it will be a remarkable thing, 72 hours between the time one car dies and another is bought, with no angst and without even leaving town. Everyone says the same thing about the dealer, he is honest and aware that this customers live nearby and drive by his lot almost daily.
We know lots of people who buy cards from him, (including Charlie). No BS sales trucks or pressure.
Most prejudices and assumptions are just that. Just like there are good dog breeders and bad dog breeders and good rescue groups and bad rescue groups, so there are good used car dealers and bad used car dealers. As always, we have to figure out which is which.
I am grateful to be living in a small town.