Saturday, October 18, 2008

Car news

I traded in Ron’s Explorer and my van because I decided that he may never drive again and if he does, we can still just use one car. If he ever needs the car he can either take me to work or I can ride in with Amy (if she still lives here) and he can pick me up. But honestly, I don’t see him ever behind the wheel again – safely, that is. His reflexes are bad, he can’t feel his feet at all, and his hands don’t work well enough to master hand controls. Why pay for a car payment, insurance, upkeep, tags, etc. on a car that is parked 75% of the time?

So, I decided to look into trading them both in. I was surprised at how much they gave us for the Explorer – and how much they didn’t give us for the van. Yikes! I was way upside down but Chrysler had an incentive program that gave me $4,000 extra to put towards the car so that helped. All told, it will save us $500 per month right now, which is very important. That takes into consideration Ron’s car payment being gone, insurance being nearly cut in half, and the warranty on his car that we got to cancel. My car payment went up $33. Another good thing about it is our tags were due in November and I was only going to be able to tag one car (the Explorer since it hauled the scooter) so now I only have to tag one.

After figuring everything up (except the cost of tagging the extra vehicle), over the life of this car loan it will cost us an extra $617. If I took into consideration the cost of the vehicle tags, I’m sure we’re still coming out ahead. Our interest rate on this is better than the interest we had on either of the other two loans. I hate the thought of being in debt but really felt that this was what we needed to do so we made it through this financial patch we’re currently in.

The new car has quite a bit of pep, which is nice but something I'll have to watch. My van did not have the fast acceleration that this has. I looked down as I was just breezing along and saw that I was approaching 70 mph. The speed limit on that stretch of road is 60 mph so I definitely needed to slow down. I set the cruise control instead.

I almost forgot to say… I got a Plymouth Pacifica Touring. It’s got cloth seats (which I wanted), no sunroof (which I’m glad for), but it’s missing the hands-free Bluetooth that’s factory installed (UConnect). I had UConnect in the van and loved it. I will have to get an after-market system because I can’t drive and hold a phone. I ordered something through Verizon that was supposed to work with the Pacifica but when I got it, I discovered that you have to drill a hole in the dash and I wasn’t having any part of that. Plus, the system didn’t say it supported my telephone model. I sent it back. I have to wait until my account is credited back the money before I try to buy anything else. Circuit City has one that’s gotten pretty good reviews so I may go check it out.

I have to send the car back to the dealership on Monday though. They had a company transfer the scooter ramp from the Explorer to the Pacifica and install it. It cost $600 to do this but I’ll get it back from Chrysler’s Adaptive Equipment plan. It reimburses up to $1000 on adaptive equipment additions to new vehicles if done within 30 days of purchase. The platform sits too low to the ground and I’m afraid that I’ll drag once the scooter is on it. I was going to give it a try this afternoon but when I tried to lock the ramp in the upright position, the bolt didn’t even come close to meeting the hole it was supposed to go through. Somehow they’ve warped the platform in such a way that the two pieces no longer meet.

I called our salesman, a man who has been a personal friend for about 15 years, back and explained the problem. He’s going to come to my work on Monday and see about getting the existing ramp fixed, getting the hitch put up higher, and if they can’t fix the ramp they’ll get us a new one.

For now though, it means that Ron can’t go anywhere I’d need to take his scooter. Bummer for us all.

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