I found out from the insurance company today that my car's being totaled. Apparently replacing Alero's airbags is a really expensive proposition.
Since that's the case, I'm looking for a new one. My grandmother's going to help me get one before I get the insurance check and just have me sign it over once I get the check.
When I bought my Alero back in '05 it was simple. I had no real idea what I wanted, I just showed up at the dealership, told 'em I wanted a car with good gas mileage, and they showed me a few cars.
Ignorance is bliss, I guess.
This time I'm hopping online, looking at dealer inventories for used cars, researching the cars I see, all that good stuff.
And my head's spinning.
If you follow my Twitter account you saw that I went out earlier to look at a vanilla PT Cruiser. I don't mean boring vanilla, but that the color resembles Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream.
One of my neighbors has a PT Cruiser, so I went over and asked them a few things about it. She said that overall it's a good car, so I decided to go take a look.
When I got to the dealership I saw it right in front of the building. I opened the doors, looked at it, all that good stuff. It was a 2005 with about 34,000 miles listed on their website for $9,995. Only knock it had was some paint chips on the front, probably from bugs or something.
Then a salesperson comes out and breaks my heart when he says "Someone's inside signing the papers on that one right now."
The sales guy suggested a few cars in about the same price range. Two Dodge Neon's and a Kia. I dismissed the Kia right away because I've heard pretty lousy things about them and one of the Neon's because it was red, and cops love red cars. So I wondered over to the black one and asked the sales guy to grab the keys for it.
When he got back I got in and sniffed. It had a weird smell to it, similar to what the PT Cruiser had, so I figured that was something that the dealership did. But, even above that strong smell, I could smell that it'd been smoked in. Smoke smell's a deal-breaker for me because the smell overwhelms me. I probably could have febreezed it out of the fabric or something, but I shouldn't have to when I buy a car.
So we left.
Some digging around on the web showed me a couple more PT Cruisers that were available in my range at other local dealerships. Then I got a call from my neighbor's husband/boyfriend/whatever he is and he told me that while a good car it has some problems with gas mileage, occasionally getting under 20 mpg in town. No biggie, my Alero did the same thing on me a few times when I did purely city driving in it, a rarity for me.
Then I did the research. I found through fueleconomy.gov the government's fuel numbers on them and was like "eh, I'll pass." Of course, if I'd read closer I'd see that they'd applied the new mileage formula to older cars and that the numbers were about the same as my Alero was showing, and when I noticed that PT Cruisers came back on the table.
So tomorrow afternoon I plan to buy my grandmother lunch somewhere and then go head to the dealerships that had PT Cruisers listed. One's got a silver 2006 and the other's got a blue 2005, along with whatever else the dealerships I go to have to offer, just a bit more educated about what I can get.
It'll be a blast, I'm sure.
Crossposted to Through our eyes