Friday, March 20, 2009

Hello Mountaineer, good bye mini van!

Well a two weeks ago, I was driving home from dropping the kids at the school. I looked down at the gauges in the car and the tempature gauge was in the HOT zone. So I pulled over, called Tim, and waited for it to cool down. We took the car into the shop and found out that the car needed a new water pump, head gasket, and radiator work... $1800.. yikes! So the big question became: Fix a car that isn't worth as much as the cost of repairs, or buy a car for at least 5 times as much as the repairs?
My Mom and Dad were on the way to visit us from Idaho the next day. Well it just so happens that my Dad LOVES to shop for a good used car. So we set him to work looking for a vehicle. We decided that we needed a car that would hold 7 people since I am always hauling kids and their friends around, BUT we really didn't want another mini van. I loved my van, don't get me wrong, but I was ready to move out of the "stroller mom" car.

We set about looking for a big SUV. We found a 2001 Ford Excursion in great shape for $8200... pretty good price... downside, it had 100,400 miles already. We thought about it... but couldn't see buying a car with that many miles.. especially since Fords need a new transmission before 120,000 miles (most times anyway).
We looked at all the car lots in town. We found some, but they were either too high mileage or they were not in great shape. We looked on car for SUV's within 100 miles of us. We found a 2002 Toyota Sequoia 2 hours south of here with 70,000 miles for $10,800. We tried to set up a time to go see it. We couldn't get together with the seller until Sunday. We also found a 2003 Tahoe 1 hour north of here. Saturday, We drove up to see it. Didn't like the Tahoe, but found a 2003 Mercury Mountaineer. This car is an step up from a ford explorer. It was CLEAN! And I mean REALLY CLEAN! It had leather, power everything, and a third seat for the teenagers I am always carting around. It had 66,000 miles. AND it was lower than $10000 which was our upper budget limit.
So now the hard part... do we leave and go see the Sequoia on Sunday.. and hope that ,if the Sequoia turns out not to be our car, that the Mountaineer would still be there on Monday? Or do we buy the Mountaineer and just not look at the Sequoia? Is "A bird in the hand" really "worth 2 in the bush"?
So we stood there and talked it all out.

1. The Mountaineer has leather, the Sequoia cloth

2. The Mountaineer is CLEAN, the Sequoia might be.. might not tho too.

3. The Mountaineer is under our budget, the Sequoia is over.

4. The Mountaineer is a bit smaller than the Sequoia, but they both hold 7 passengers.

5. The Carfax report shows the Mountaineer has never been in an accident.. the Sequoia has been in one accident where the police were called... the owner said it was just a superficial bumper ding..

6. The Mountaineer had one owner, the Sequoia had been a lease that the present owner bought from a dealer when it had 12,000 miles.

7. The Mountaineer is a known quantity, the Sequoia looks good on paper.

8. Toyota's are known to run forever... Mercury's are "Ford Products".

9. Gas Mileage is about the same in each.

10. The Mountaineer had running boards, the Sequoia didn't.. we would have had to have some installed or I wouldn't be able to get in the car! So add another $400 to the price.

We finally decided that the sole reason we were hesitating was because the Sequoia was a Toyota and NOT a ford product that might need a new tranny at 120,000 miles. My dad pointed out that the price difference was the cost of a new tranny... so even if we needed to replace it, we weren't really out more money than buying the Toyota.

SO, we signed the papers, paid the man and drove it home!

Now what to do with the Caravan? We didn't trade it in, because we didn't want to drive it an hour and possibly not buy a car and have to drive it an hour home (needs a water pump...)

We were told by the car dealer and our mechanic to list it on So Wednesday at noon I placed the ad on Craigslist. At 12:10 a guy called to look at it (it had only been listed for 10 minutes!) and another at 12:15! By 1pm, I had sold the van and removed the listing! Wow! That was FAST! So, good bye mini van... we have enjoyed driving you these past 115,o00 miles!