geekchick: (squirrel!)
My 2006 Mazda3 had recently developed a most unfortunate case of rod knock, and the rock bottom lowest repair quote was $5000+ for a short block replacement, $5400 for a used engine with 60k miles, or $7500 for a new engine. I'd been hoping to keep the car at least ten years and enjoy more than a single year without a car payment, but those repair bills were near or over blue book for the car. Given that and the fear that even after an engine swap, something else was going to fail catastrophically and expensively, I decided to suck it up and go car shopping.

We were supposed to go to "Can't Stop the Serenity" on Saturday with some friends, but on the way up to Annapolis to the dealer, my engine finally blew. I suppose that "on the way to the dealer to get a new car" is not the worst time you can have your current car die, but I would've still preferred not to have to have it towed from the College Park Ikea to the dealer. They gave me $100 in trade-in for it, and to be honest, that was about $100 more than I expected to get for a car with one accident and a blown engine, so I consider it a win. :)

In return for the old car and a not-unreasonable chunk of change, they gave me this:



2012 Mazda3 i Grand Touring, the version with the new Skyactiv engine promising 40 MPG highway, heated leather seats, a moonroof, the upgraded sound system, navigation system, Bluetooth, and a few more bells and whistles. It doesn't feel quite as zippy as my old one, but I like it so far.

Also, if you're in the DMV and in the market for a new Mazda, Cameron Christian at Fitzgerald in Annapolis gets two thumbs up. He sold Chris his car, and the transaction seemed so painless that I went back the next weekend to let him sell me a car too. It didn't hurt at all that he was the only salesman from several dealers who both honored my "don't call me, email me" request and gave me an out-the-door price on exactly the car that I wanted)
geekchick: (mopey)
(Well, maybe not the worst, but right up in the top three, certainly.)

So not the week to be out of Zoloft.
geekchick: (stabbytime)
As Otto would say: "Aaaaaassssshooooooooooooooole!"

Somebody ripped off my driver's side mirror last night while my car was parked on the street (in front of my neighbor's house, the one who works for the police department).  Didn't hit the car and break it off accidentally--there was no other damage to the car that wasn't there already; they ripped the entire housing off, kept the exterior, the glass, and the mechanical parts and threw the remainder under my car.  To say I'm pissed off would be an understatement.  I guess it's easier to steal parts of someone else's car than it is to go to the f'ing  junkyard.

Cool, Fairfax County lets you file reports online.  I doubt it's worth me calling the insurance company about it to file a claim though, given that my deductible is higher than I suspect the repair bill will be and I'm looking to switch agents in the very near future anyway since AIG are also jerks.

Yeah, so that's how my day started.  Hope yours is better.

Jerks =P on TwitPic
geekchick: (weather)
Rainfall total for the entire month of May at National Airport: 2.21 inches
Unofficial rainfall total for the 24 hours ending at 7 AM this morning: 7.09 inches
At the time I started writing this, Warrenton was in the middle of another torrential downpour lasting about 20 minutes.

This morning, I'm reminded strongly of Kim Stanley Robinson's Forty Signs of Rain: at one point in the book Rock Creek floods (which isn't all that unusual, but not to the extent it does in the book) and the Potomac overflows its banks and floods the Mall and downtown because of large amounts of rainfall locally and an even larger amount upstream. We do need the rain, we were five inches below normal, but getting it all at once was...non-optimal. Two Three Four people that I know of on my f-list have flooded basements. Luckily for us, the roof repair done earlier this year seems to have held up so far.

[livejournal.com profile] nminusone and I got caught in last night's torrential downpour, which started right around the time we left Ikea at 8. Our dinner plans changed abruptly from "Let's stop at Busara" to "Let's go someplace that has a parking garage". It took about an hour to get from College Park to Tyson's on the Beltway, with average speed being somewhere around 25 MPH. I already have a hard time with vision when driving at night in the rain, but at night in the rain where the rain is coming down at around 2 inches an hour on average and in a new car I'm not entirely accustomed to yet is a whole honkin' lot of fun. Not as stressful as it could've been (the new car seems to have pretty good tires), but the beer at dinner sure was a welcome sight.

Other stuff from the weekend:

[livejournal.com profile] brian1789 is in Atlanta for his sister-in-law's funeral, if you could spare some good thoughts or prayers for him and [livejournal.com profile] patgreene and the rest of the family, I'm sure it would be appreciated.

Bought new car on Friday, which took about an hour longer than I expected thanks to the person in line ahead of me for the finance guy doing a sight-unseen trade-in without their current car's VIN handy. It took them a bit over an hour I think, it took me all of ten minutes since I already had my eLoan check in hand, didn't need financing and wasn't trading anything in. The finance guy bore a disturbing resemblance to a younger Christopher Walken, and got points for having a Demotivator poster on his office wall. New car is v. pretty: it's this in strato blue, with a moonroof. The color on my monitor looks much lighter than it does in person, it's a very dark, almost purple-tinted blue.

After finally getting out of the dealership, picked up [livejournal.com profile] nminusone and hauled butt over to the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse for the completely-sold-out charity showing of "Serenity" with some friends. Jayne hats galore, and one woman came dressed in Inara's gold and black outfit. As other folks have said, it was fun to see it in a theater full of fans. Came >this< close to meeting [livejournal.com profile] jessicamelusine finally, but we all missed each other in part because our group was sitting in the very front row of the theater, down below the wall, and it was hard to see/be seen.
geekchick: (retail therapy)
[livejournal.com profile] nminusone and I test drove a car last night, and the dealer came back with a perfectly acceptable out-the-door price. Given that there was zero argument about matching the number we gave him last night, I suspect I *could* get it down a little bit lower if I wanted to spend time and energy on it, but the number is well within the range I wanted to pay and lower than any other quotes. So. This looks like it'll be mine. Eee!!
geekchick: (retail therapy)
If I could shop for and purchase a car completely over the internet and have someone deliver it to my house, I'd be totally happy. At least I've gotten a quote from one of the local dealers for something slightly less than what they claim invoice is, and about $400 less than what Edmunds claimed was their local average. I have requests out to a couple of other dealers, so we'll see how that stacks up. I also have two "come test drive it tomorrow, I'll be here all day" notes, which I'm ignoring for right now. I may well go test drive tomorrow anyway, but I'm not going to commit to it. This is what I'm looking at, with the automatic transmission, side airbags and moonroof. I can live without the moonroof, but I really like the one in my Protege and figure if I'm going to shell out for a new car I might as well look for what I want; the first two are absolute requirements though. I've decided to be sensible and not commit myself right now to the payments that a Mini would require. Perhaps for my next car.

Part of the reason this is only the second time in my life that I've gone car shopping is because I truly, truly suck at price negotiations. A halfway decent car salesman could (and would) walk right over me. That's why I'm taking [livejournal.com profile] nminusone with me; any of you who've ever argued with him will know exactly what I mean. ;) I will sit down, shut up, and sign the check when it's all done. Last time, I took Don with me and he kindly did all the arguing negotiating. I know it's a skill I should learn (and should grow a backbone while I'm at it), but I'd really prefer not to start practicing with a car salesman.
geekchick: (retail therapy)
As of probably Tuesday evening, I will have a blank check in hand specifically for the purpose of finding a car where more than one of the four cylinders passes a compression test. We who are about to face pushy car salesmen salute you.
geekchick: (lilacs)
Time for a new engine in my car, to the tune of more than the car is actually worth at this point. My decision now is: 1) drop the money to replace the engine and fix the leaking exhaust manifold into this car and keep driving it; 2) buy a beater for about an equivalent amount of money; or 3) suck it up and just go hunting for a new car and hope to get $250 or so for trade-in on my poor little Protege.

It's not completely unexpected news, but I was hoping that wasn't going to be the answer.

On the positive side, after the last couple of days I can recommend Ferris Automotive. You wouldn't think a mechanic would recommend buying a new car rather than giving them a several-thousand dollar job. I wouldn't anyway, not based on previous experience with different mechanics. Now I'm kicking myself for not having gone to them first.
geekchick: (Default)
For those of you who are stumped for birthday present ideas: ;)

http://www.miniusa.com/link/ourcars/jcw_gp_kit

Speaking of cars, time for a new mechanic. The timing belt/water pump/valve cover gaskets were replaced, then not two hours later the spark plug wires went kablooey, which is why it wouldn't start on Friday night. They replaced the spark plugs and wires and things seemed to be okay, but this morning when I started the car up I heard a disturbing noise coming from under the hood and the world disappeared in a huge cloud of smoke that smelled like oil. Screw it, I'm going to find the closest Mazda dealer and let them take a look at it.
geekchick: (Default)
Car's been sitting in the office parking lot all weekend because when I went to leave Friday night, it wouldn't start. Chris -- Hero of the Revolution -- brought out a new battery since the jumpstart approach didn't work, and spent an hour or so under the hood of my car in the pouring rain. When that didn't work, we bailed and came home, and he went with me over to the mechanic this morning to talk to them about it. At the moment, current working theory is that the timing belt is fine, but the ignition coil might be burned out. =/ They're going to come back and tow it over to the shop to check it out at some point.

Ah well. Nine years with very few mechanical problems in spite of my benign neglect. Guess it's time for things to start going wrong finally.

I did write something about this on Friday, but I went back and made two or three recent posts that talked about financial stuff, even indirectly, private. The reason why is a post all on its own, but that's for later.
geekchick: (Default)
Cracked radiator. They may be able to get the part today; if not, not sure what I'm going to do. Timing belt ought to've been replaced 30K miles ago too, but that's not happening today. Oh yeah, and the valve stem seals are definitely leaking. Cha-ching. [Edit: Valve cover gaskets, I misheard what was said. Much cheaper, and will be done with the timing belt.]

Happy Friday. :-P

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