Driving A Lemon To Something New: The Stress Of Buying A Car

Flickr / Lars Plougmann
Flickr / Lars Plougmann

My dad got me my first car, and at the time, I thought it was the coolest thing; it was a 1995 Chevy Camaro Z28. I didn’t know any better and I wasn’t thinking about the future with this car. I just thought it was an awesome car. Not only did it sound fantastic when I would turn it on in the morning, it rode pretty nicely. The miles on it were low (this year it is only around 135,000), and although I couldn’t always be the designated driver for my friends when we would go places, since it barely had a back seat, I still loved it. Well, that was of course until the first snowfall and I realize I wouldn’t be leaving the spot where I was parked. Yes, driving in the rain was pretty annoying, but I couldn’t even move anywhere in the snow. I remember one day when there was leftover snow on the ground and I only had to make it to the clear main roads, I got stuck at the base of my driveway. I then continued to go to a college up in the mountains where it snowed pretty often and I was yet again, trapped. Once graduated and employed, I planned on purchasing a newer car, and to my surprise that happened much earlier than I planned.

While getting ready to drive my half hour commute home one Friday my anti-lock brakes decided to stop working and although I could have driven home, I didn’t feel safe and called a family member to “save” me. The next day, after work in the morning, I called my mom (because every girl needs her mom’s help) and told I told her that we are going car shopping. She did it on her own, and was previously worked for an insurance company so I knew she would ask all of the right questions.

Walking into the car dealership, I had no idea what to expect; was I going to find a car today or if I do find a car, can I even afford it? Well, after getting inside the dealership and seeing the new cars and realizing they would NEVER fit into my price range, I looked outside to the pre-owned cars and basically ran out there, into the rain by the way, and began looking.

Many people think used cars are totally out of the picture, but in reality, they aren’t all bad. As long as you check the history of the car, in the dealership itself and also online prior to your car shopping visit, you should be ok.

While car shopping many things are racing through your head, but it is important to stay calm. Getting too flustered will result in too much stress and higher chances that you won’t be able to settle on one make or model. I knew I wanted to upgrade from my sports car to an SUV; I grew up in a family of bigger cars and I wanted something higher off the ground. The first car I noticed was a Ford Escape and oddly enough I have always said that is one of my dream cars. I quickly wiped the rain droplets off of the window to read the sticker with the trucks information; 2012, in my price range, and most importantly … just under 17,000 miles! I couldn’t find another used car out there with that little mileage. Although I was already sold on the car, I needed to hear about the details from the salesman and test drive it.

I can’t stress enough the importance of test driving a car; I was once in love with a sedan, from the outside, and once I got in, I realized it wasn’t for me. Although it is more time you will have to spend at the dealership, it is worth it because you get a true feel of the vehicle.

After my test drive, I realized that the Ford Escape was the car for me; so it was time to head inside and talk business where the real stress began. If you thought picking out the right car was stressful, sitting down and talking about the business side of things is even worse.

I could feel my face grow redder by the minute as I realized I was coming closer to purchasing a car – this is no hand bag that you spend a little money on, this is a CAR!

As my salesman began pulling paper work and running financial information to difference departments, it all became very real and my hands began to shake. You don’t think it is going to be as nerve-racking as it really is when buying your first car. Sometime later, the paper work was spread across my salesman’s desk and awaiting my signature – let’s just say my hand hurt from the amount of papers I had to sign. After getting through those papers, I then had to go to financing and chose my monthly rate and sign MORE papers; it was never ending.

On a side note as this was happening, another salesman came to us and asked for the set of keys because another couple was outside looking at the car before they brought it back to clean up for me. To say my stress level hit the fan would be an understatement; I thought I was going to lose the car that I just fell in love with. Luckily it doesn’t work like that, and my keys weren’t handed over because it was determined that it was mine to purchase.

My biggest piece of advice to those looking into buying a car is to go in with plenty of time; we were there for two whole hours! However, driving off the lot in your new car is one of the best feelings; although the car payments aren’t going to be very nice, you have to remember that it is all worth it in the end. I now have a safe, snow capable and roomy car that I can’t stop looking at outside my house.

The stress leading up to looking and during initial purchasing is worth it in the end. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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