Luckily, or unluckily (depending on how you look at it), my car died just north of Pittsburgh on my way out of town. After getting my 1999 Camry towed to a Toyota dealer in the north hills, (after first finding out that the Cranberry dealer couldn't look at my car that same day), I found out that the waterpump and timing belt had died and needed to be replaced. Luckily, the parts were in stock, and the dealer was able to get it fixed that day.
Given that my car isn't exactly old (1999 Toyota Camry), or extensively used (43,000 miles total) I wasn't amused. The work was under warranty, but I'm definitely considering replacing it in a year once I get close to the end of the 60,000 mile powertrain warranty. I need to have a working vehicle 24/7 and can't afford to waste time sitting at my dealer (especially on my days off from work). I've always taken care of it with the regular oil changes, did the 30,000 mile service, am on my 3rd set of tires, have already replaced the brakes twice and have replaced the rotors once (putting in a total of $1,000 in 3.5 years).
Despite this, a few other problems have appeared (all under warranty) including:
- Power windows falling out of track,
- Light illuminating in my A/C display dying,
- and my side rear taillight burning out.
I know that a certain amount of wear and failure is normal, and the accident a friend had 2 years ago probably knocked a few things out of track, but this is unacceptable.
Although I probably won't replace the car for another year (likely in fall 2003 as sort of an early graduation present), I've started looking at what is out there.
I don't want to shell out more than $20K cash, and am considering more mid-sized cars. Really, all I'm looking for is a smooth, quiet ride, enough room to comfortably fit 4 adults, and a fuel efficiency I won't feel guilty about. Style and luxury are definitly optional, but I do drive my car hard, and could use some good handling.
So far, my list of candidate cars include:
- Another Camry (cause I'm a glutton for punishment, and it is damn quiet)
- Subaru WRX (okay, it'll be closer to $26K, but the sport handling is nice)
- Honda Civic Hybrid
- Honda accord
- BMW 740i (man, paying cash on that would really mindfuck the dealer... still, I'd get more utility from blowing my savings on a house and have too many problems with the fuel efficiency on the 740)
I guess I'll have to do some research. Also, I'll need to figure out how to sell my car (since dealer trade-ins aren't exactly optimal).