Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Conference Weekend Adventure

Wanting to join the club of others whose blogs I read, Chris and I bought a car. Everyone else was doing it and we didn't want to feel left out!

Well, maybe that's not the real reason...

With another baby on the way and a car headed towards the land of expensive repairs, we started looking into the possibility of a replacement car. We currently drive a 1995 Ford Taurus. It's been working well for us the last two and a half years, minus the not working intermittent windshield wipers (either off, really really fast, or manual turning the knob every few moments). That said, we have already received quotes from a few different mechanics on parts that are going to have to be replaced in the near future. I don't know what most of them are, I only know that there is a crack in the oil pan that's probably getting bigger and one of the engine mounts needs to be replaced--we already replaced three.

Anyway, we went to Salt Lake on Friday to look at a car we'd seen on That particular car didn't suit our tastes, but we did find one at another dealership. And we drove away happy.

1999 Mercury Mountaineer
"Merc" for short

Features we enjoy:

Leather Seats

Back seat big enough for two car seats

Ample Storage Space

Back Seats fold down completely flat

I don't know if this would be called an "onboard computer" or what, but it tells us all kinds of stuff--average and instantaneous gas mileage, gallons to empty, gallons used, miles traveled, oil life left...

Stereo with CD, radio, and cassette--in addition to the cd in the stereo itself, there is a 6-disc cd changer built into the center console

Option of opening entire hatch or just the window half

I don't know the technical terms (sorry, Dad) but it has the option of towing. Chris informed me that he wants a trailer hitch (ball?) for father's day.

Retractable Sun Roof--this slightly ambiguous picture was taken by Chris while I was driving, hence the reflection.

Slightly Less Thrilling Features:

~Unamazing gas mileage. As the picture shows, we average 15-16 miles per gallon. Not the best, but not terrible. It was worth it to us for the price and other features.

~Driver's side door. The lock doesn't work very well, and the power lock button in that door doesn't work at all. You either have to reach around and unlock the doors manually, or turn off the car and hit the button on the remote. This probably wouldn't matter too much except the doors automatically lock when you start driving, so you have to work some magic once the car is off to get everyone out again.

~Occasionally possessed power locks. Every now and again, when you hit the lock or unlock buttons on either the passenger side door or the remote, the Lock Ghost appears to torment us all. Instead of just locking, the locks will repeatedly pop up and down, up and down, up and down, rather quickly. The only way to make it stop is to walk around to each door individually, get it unlocked manually (pull the little bar up) and open the door. Once the door is open, it will stop. That is annoying, but it has only happened a couple of times. So far.

~Crappy tires. The dealership had to replace one tire in order for the car to pass safety inspection, but the one they put on, though better than the original tire, is still pretty bad. We have to buy two new tires. Not the end of the world, no, but one more thing to spend money on.

All in all, we are pleased with our purchase. We had hoped to buy a foreign car with less than 100,000 miles, but we ended up with a Mercury (Ahhh! another Ford!) with 140,000. In the end, it came down mostly to money. We were able to buy this for $3400, plus another $900 in fees, taxes, and registration. All of that we paid in cash. So, for avoiding debt and still getting a car better than what we have, it was worth the few quirks of owning an older American-made car.

As for the Taurus, it's still up for debate. We have come to the conclusion that our family needs two cars (we both work, almost two kids, and Chris is in school--transportation can get complicated). The debate is whether to keep the Taurus or trade it with my mom/brother for a 1993 Geo Metro. Tiny, but it gets 40 miles to the gallon. Not a family car, but a good scoot-around-town vehicle for whoever doesn't have the kids that day. I'll let you know what happens...I think Saturday is the day a decision will be made?


Molly said...

Getting a new car is joyous.
Lucky us, my inlaws gave us their old car (97 mercery sable) and we sold our car and were able to pay off debt and buy a new puter. ours crashed. yay! congrats!

Tannie Datwyler said...

Hooray for a new car!! :) That's exciting. Bigger has got to help - we are still on the small car side. My "van" in HS (yes, I drove a van, it is what was available) used to do the lock, and unlock thing.... kind of possessed.

Liz, Karl and Madison said...

How exciting! I want a bigger car so bad but... will live with what we have for now because we can't afford a new car. BUT I'm excited that you got a new car.