Tuesday, July 22, 2008

My Piece-o'-Shit Volvo!

Wow, has it been that long since I last posted already? Well, I've got a lot more going on in my head than in my fingers. I mentioned my car a couple of weeks ago, so let me tell you more about it.

About two-and-a-half years ago, we bought a used Volvo. We needed a reliable car (the story of my life for the last ten years), and we had a couple of years' worth of tax returns in our possession, so we decided to buy a "good" car that was a little older, but more likely to stay on the road than perhaps a newer but cheaper car. It had worked before. I owned an '85 BMW 535i that had 185,000 miles on it when I bought it, and I still managed to put another 75-80,000 miles on it myself before I sold it to a guy who's still driving it. After that experience our idea felt right, so we paid outright for a '96 Volvo 960. It felt good, drove well, and had working air-conditioning (certainly more than a convenience here in South Carolina). I hadn't had a car (including the Bimmer) with working a/c for several years!

The car came with a three month warranty. So, you guessed it, in the fourth month it made its first trip to the garage. That time we had to replace the radiator. The next month it was a coil pack. The next month it was another coil pack. A few months later, it was the timing belt, and more coil packs. By the time a year was up, the a/c was shot too. Then there was one of the control arms. Then the transmission needed rebuilt. Are you starting to get the picture? As we speak, it's sitting in my driveway unable to be started.

I know what you're thinking. "Didn't you get a Carfax report?" Yes, we did. According to the report, it had never been in an accident, hurricane, earthquake, nor been abducted by aliens. Apparently, it made it's own decision to become a piece of shit.

So, a year and a half ago, we bought another car. A brand new Suzuki XL7. I cannot express enough how nice it is to have a vehicle that starts when you want it to, stops when you want it to, and circulates air under 95 degrees! Meanwhile, the Volvo keeps the rain off of part of our driveway.

This post is not to say that Volvo makes bad cars. I cannot speak of any other Volvos, because it's the only one I've driven. However, I will say that I used to be one of those people who stood around saying "I don't know why anyone would buy a new car. The only difference is that with a new one, you lose $2000 the minute you drive off the lot!" Now, I sing a different tune. Seeing as how I'm not a person to trade cars every couple of years (provided the car runs), I am not really so concerned about resale value. By the time I get rid of a car, it's usually a "fishing" car, at best. So, for my money, I'd rather be paying a monthly note for a car that's going to run well than paying a monthly mechanic bill for a car that's not worth the cost of repairs.

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