Used…er, pre-owned…car blues

How do you trust someone you’ve never met? How do you make the decision to part with a chunk of money when you know the risk involved is so high, so incredibly unknown – so horribly uncertain?

How can people enjoy buying a used car?

For real! I don’t understand it. Some people get a rush from haggling, wheeling, and dealing. Kerrie, for instance, took the bull by the horns yesterday and talked the prospective price of a new Subaru down in an effort to save us money, if we decide to go that route, while I sat and watched it all go down.

I’m utterly useless when it comes to car buying. The only things I have to offer are a general distrust towards salespeople and a general distrust towards used cars. I just can’t wrap my mind around this, right now. And the worst part is, I’m going to be dealing with it for a few more weeks.

By nature, I’m not a confrontational person. I’m one of the people who, as they travel along life’s path, avoid every pothole – every breakdown and pebble and inconsistency, as well – in the road. I steer clear of anything that brings me face to face with a difficult decision. I prefer things safe. I prefer things easy. Without risk.

With the unknowns outweighing any conceivable positives, it’s difficult for me to consider a used car without flashing back to the number of cars I drove while growing up. My father had an innate ability to find vehicles that would last three months – just long enough to get me to college and back a few times with a fill-up of oil on every trip. I don’t trust strangers, especially when it comes to my money. I don’t trust strange cars either.

Regardless of our options – we could buy from family (a one-owner car with lots of highway miles and no hidden history) or we could save some money and get a reliable Subaru from a private party or used car dealership – I will always be wary of a used car’s prospects. I hate not knowing when problems could arise – our car lasted 94,000 miles, what can I expect out of a car with 150,000?

Maybe, more importantly: why can’t I just let go and allow myself to be comfortable in shopping for a used piece of machinery? I know why. It’s a distrust for anything that I haven’t been in control of for it’s entire existence, at least in terms of something that could end up costing $8000. If I were a gambling man, I’d probably have no problem with it. But I do.

I’m glad Kerrie can give some semblance of knowing what she’s doing. It’s going to help – we’ll go a long way with that. I trust her opinion and decision, and her mother has been a good help as well. Of course, we could just scrap it all and try to get by with carpooling.

Yeah, right. You’ve never had to ride to work with me in the morning.

This was lovingly handwritten on June 30th, 2006