Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Adventures in car shopping

After caring for mom and dad today, Mrs ERJ and I drove to Allendale to do some car shopping with Belladonna.

We went to the car lot that was within walking distance of where Belladonna lived. The lot was packed. Cars and trucks were parked in every possible square foot of the lot.

I found a place to park in the shade and was promptly, and politely asked to move. I did.

Bella gave the pertinent data on the vehicle she wanted to look at. The sales-lady brought out a portable jump-starter as the vehicle had been there a long time.

The vehicle was covered with sap and bugs. There was more corrosion than I expected for a 2008. Belladonna started the vehicle and said "This is not the right car."

A short conversation happened where the sales-lady avowed that it WAS the right car.

Bella said that the description on the internet specified that the vehicle had 93,000 miles and the odometer of the vehicle registered 160k when it was powered up.

The vehicle was the right one but somebody had fat-fingered the mileage.

I am extremely proud of Bella for catching that first thing. Using the correct mileage changed the estimated $/mile from 4.7 cents to over 12 cents a mile, the worst on the list.

I have no doubt that the sales-person would have taken a fifteen hundred less than the asking price but the price would have to drop by three grand before it would be in the hunt.

Belladonna was bummed. I considered it a rousing success. We visited a car lot. Belladonna double-checked the information that could be verified. Belladonna did not fall in love with a vehicle. Bella did not get steamrollered by a sale-person. Belladonna was able to walk away.

While we were driving back to Eaton Rapids, Belladonna sent me a list of vehicles to check out in the Lansing area. One of them is a 2013 with 90k miles that is in her price range. I will look at it tomorrow.


  1. Huzzah! She's learning to walk away from bullshit!

    Once I realized that dealers get their used cars from individuals and mark them up so most of the profit comes from used cars, I quot going to car lots.

    Craigs list and any other Michigan online want-ads are the place to look. Buying from an individual, you see what you are buying and how it was treated. Joe average is not a skilled liar like the used car sellers, so the BS detector goes off faster.

    I actually drive south with cash in hand to but cars with less corrosion for the same price.

    Amazing what an offer of $600 less with hundred dollar bills flashing will do for the deal.

  2. Apparently Belladonna has learned some good life lessons from her parents. She is a sharp young lady!

  3. Ever thought about buying a southern car? I live in east texas.used to live in the northeast. Road salt kills cars. A few weeks ago I picked up a 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee with a pristine interior and almost pristine exterior for $700. Southern cars are usually pretty well maintained because they last longer. People hang on to them longer. The jeep has 242k on the clock and runs really well. some brands that are hugely popular in the snow belt are cheaper than dirt down here due to fewer dealers. Subaru is one.Just for giggles n grins, do some comparison shopping over the internet. Might be worth trailing or home. One important caveat, they sell a lot more 2 wheel drive SUVs down here. So something you would expect to be 4x4 might not be.

    1. I agree about southern cars being MUCH cleaner for rust and corrosion. I had a 2000 Cavalier that had spent most of its life in Tennessee.

      We found ourselves behind the curve on the car situation. Time is more critical for Belladonna than finding the perfect car. From a process standpoint, it is harder to have the vehicle inspected by a known, trusted mechanic when it is way out of town.

  4. Being able to walk away from a less then ideal deal is an important asset to life.


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