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The Car(max) Saga

Sorry I've been neglecting this place a bit, but I've been busy, what with my Japanese class, NaNoWriMo starting up again, and... well... all the stuff I'm going to tell you about right now.

So on Friday of last week, Sarah decided she was fed up with her '97 Saturn. It had about 110,000 miles on it and it'd been acting up for quite some time. She'd tried getting it repaired, but it just didn't seem to be helping matters much. The thing was starting to feel pretty dangerous and with her taking classes in the city and us working so far from home, she decided she needed something a little more reliable.

So we went to CarMax, where I'd had a pretty good experience when I'd gotten my 2000 Saturn in November of 2001. Sarah had seen a 1999 Jetta on their website that she was interested in, as she's always wanted a Jetta. She liked the look. So she'd called ahead to see if it was still there and it was. The salesguy we ended up with was really nice and everything. We test drove it and Sarah liked it, so we signed all the papers and drove home in her new car. And this is where the troubles started.

Shortly after leaving the CarMax parking lot, the check engine light came on. The engine didn't seem to be misbehaving, but we thought this was odd, since CarMax is supposed to check everything before they sell a car (their quality sticker was on the window of the car, but oddly, we found a checklist in the car that hadn't been filled out). CarMax was closing soon after we left and we knew the service department was definitely no longer open, so we decided to call the next day. Service isn't open on the weekends, so we just decided to call back on Monday. Sarah drove the car a little bit on Saturday and the check engine light had gone off, so we thought maybe things were O.K.

Monday morning, I get a call at work from Sarah. The car won't start. Apparently, it's the battery. So CarMax tells her she has to get AAA to take the car to CarMax. So she waits an hour and a half for AAA, who jumped the car, so she could take it there herself. When she got there, they told her they didn't do loaners. Which is odd since, when they finally gave her a loaner after she complained a lot, they actually had a loaner agreement form. They said they'd get to the car when they could.

So they call Sarah later on Monday and tell her that they're sending the car to the Volkswagen dealership. At this point, Sarah started considering returning the car and getting something else from CarMax, despite how she'd been treated about trying to get a car that they were responsible for repaired. She agonized over the decision. When she still didn't have the car back on Wednesday, she made up her mind to just return it. At one point during this period, they'd called her and told her that her car was in detailing and would be ready that night. When she got there, they told her they had called about the wrong car. And, actually, on Wednesday, they left a message saying that the car wouldn't be ready until today.

Also during this time, Sarah did some more research about the Jetta from this year and found numerous things to be concerned about. Many many people had reported weird mechanical and electrical problems that repeatedly plagued the car. Anything from the throttle body suddenly going bad to power windows going down and never coming back up. At that point, she was still considering CarMax, but I think hearing a couple other horror stories from other people soured her on the idea.

Wednesday afternoon after work, Sarah went up to Leesburg Honda to test drive a used Honda. She found a used 2001 Honda Accord LX there that had almost everything in it that she wanted. She loved the ride and, so far, we've had no problems at all with it. The warranty's great, it's a Honda certified used vehicle, and everyone there was really nice to us. Hondas are supposedly very reliable and last a long time, so this should be a good car for her, especially for when she takes trips to see her family in Ohio. The price was higher than the Jetta, obviously, but the monthly payments turned out to be only a little bit more and she got a better APR there. So it all worked out good in the end. It was just a very stressful few days.

Comments (1)

I think it was the Saturn demon wrecking her plans. Don't ever betray the family!

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