Car Shopping Over The Weekend

February 23, 2009

by — Posted in Personal Writing

With the imminent (meaning any second now I may have to be speeding to the hospital) the baby, we needed to get a baby friendly car.   I’m not getting rid of the Miata, and I don’t want any more car payments – so used it is.   I would say online we’ve gone through a few hundred cars, we’ve gone out and looked at about 20 or so cars, and so far we’ve test driven 1.  We did quite a bit of looking yesterday, and all the dealerships were closed, so no test drive.

The one car we did test was a 2000 Buick Lesabre (or is that LeSabre or Le Sabre?) (similar to the picture above) anyways the ride was great in it.   To give you a brief background, we did background research on things that can go wrong with the car and what to look for.   One of the major problems with the 2000-2005 Lesabre’s seems to be window regulator motors.   Many people online have complained that these fail quite often and some people have had to replace all of them multiple times.   This was one of the things I knew I had to check out for.

The dealership we test drove from has a mechanic’s inspection of all cars (since they are trade-in’s at their main new car lot).   The salesperson set us down and discussed the issues they had found with the car before we took it for a spin.   The only thing somewhat major that he mentioned (and stuck with me) was that the rotors would need to be replaced soon.   He scanned my driver’s license, made sure the car started and handed it off to me.

It ran strong with 109k miles on it, then the problems started creeping in.  Problem number one when entering the car, the driver’s side seatbelt wouldn’t latch.   It seems it got stuck in the locked position  and wouldn’t relatch or open at all.   I even got out of the car trying to jury rig this to work.   Nothing, no way – so I got to break the law by driving without a seatbelt (ok I’m not the biggest wearer of seatbelt’s – but I expect them to work when I do).     Getting down the road, the pick up was good and the ride comfort was great.

We parked at a local mall so I could find a dry area where I could look to see how much rust was underneath the car (got to love Ohio).  We popped the trunk open and it seems that the one of the motor mounts was probably going to go within a year or so since there was unnecessary movement in the engine when the car was sitting still and idling.    The next thing I checked was the rear windows – they didn’t budge.     This didn’t bother me too much, since they were stuck in the up position I could replace the motors at 49.95 a pop (aftermarket) in the spring.   I could also get them done at the dealership for 500-600 (not something I would like t0 do).     The driver’s window worked perfectly fine.   We then tried the front passenger’s window.   It went down, but never came back up.   So at this point, that was all she wrote for this car.

We drove back a couple miles in the middle of an Ohio winter with the passenger side window down (at least the heating in the car was good).   I told the salesman about the windows and he acted like he didn’t believe me.    He attempted to lower the rear windows and blamed the switch on the driver’s side door (it wasn’t the switch).   He managed to lower the rear driver’s side window about an inch and then it gave up.   He didn’t manage to get the passenger side window up at all.   He then went on about the great ride a buick has, and I agreed as we shuffled away.

Later today Xie is supposed to be test driving a Cadillac similar ot the picture above.   We’ll see how that works out.

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