Saturday, August 25, 2012

Mission: Minivan

I try to keep the good readership informed about virtually everything that goes on here at el Camp so you should probably know that we are (still - since Thursday - so, you know, an eternity) on the hunt for a family friendly vehicle. Simon is working one of his super fun interminable shifts this weekend (I contributed by selflessly waking and dropping him off at the cervix station way before the cock even thought to crow this morn -- so you're aware of my saintly status today: above average to excellent according to my martyr meter reader) so I can only search from the safety of my computer screen and I have a few dumb questions.

1. When did it not become standard for cars manufactured after the year 2002 to come 'complete with AM/FM radio!' ?? Because that seems to be a very popular boasting point for many sellers.

2. How much do whole new transmissions costs? I've found a few pearls that claim to be in 'pristine condition' and 'run beautifully' but just 'need a new transmission!' ... because those sound like they might be a really great investment for about the first 12 minutes post purchase.

3. What exactly does "fully loaded" mean? Lots of vehicles seem to come full loaded with the exception of leather seats, DVD player, navigation system, CD player, remote entry, and A/C ... so I'm wondering if I can even count on a rear view mirror, seat belts, a steering wheel, and a trunk door when it comes, you know, "fully loaded with everything!!!"

4. And what are your unbiased thoughts on this one


Because I'm thinking it looks pretty bleeping promising. 



46 comments:

  1. Rebuilt transmission is roughly $2k and lasted my friend about a year. I bought her van on the cheap but we're probably going to save our imaginary 2k for the next paid for vehicle.

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    1. I meant to say the transmission needs work now, lol. Hard to type with a wiggly nursing baby and my non dominant hand.

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  2. We had to get a new transmission on my hubs car and it was around 4000 buckaroos...I kid you not! I still cry about it and this was like three years ago, haha...jk. I do dream about where that $ would have gone otherwise though...ugh. I would say Steer clear of those ads and also anyone who writes "ingin"!

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  3. We are in the same minivan buying boat and oh how I wish someone would just offer us a reasonable deal. I'm not a fan of the shopping around and I have no idea how to know if we're being swindled.

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  4. 163.00 miles?! I don't believe it... it must have at least 163.01 miles!

    Have you looked on eBay? My friend just bought a used car on auction on eBay from a dealership (so it was "certified used", whatever that means) and he got it for $5000! I kid you not. No one outbid him so he got it for the minimum bidding price!

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  5. I am concerned about Hussein's ability to properly form a sentence and spell words. We once tried to buy a car that was a goodish deal, pics included, seemed local--it was a scary scamo. They also had issues with sentences and words. Cautionary tale. . .I totally understand that not everyone needs a English lit minor to sell a car. 163000 seems like a lot of miles. A couple of thoughts on the used car front. . .this is from the "learned the hard way" department. Check for excessive rust underneath the car. Everything else can look pristine and the bottom may be on the verge of dragging the asphalt. When we needed an upgrade for childreny purposes, we found a super duper fab deal on an Explorer with a 3rd row, leather, "fully loaded" (which, as you have wisely noted, is translated differently), so we grabbed it. In a matter of months we had to have some major work done to keep the guts from falling out due to rust. Also, check NADA for comparable pricing. Transmission = $3000-$6000, depending on car and how much labor it takes to install. And, finally, when looking at something that seems to good to pass up, I recall a greeting card sent to me by my father while I was in college which read: "Do not go to Omaha with Paco. Paco can show you many things. But, do not go to Omaha with Paco."

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  6. lol at the last question...totally unbiased response here...but I'm pretty sure that entire entry was copied and pasted from babel fish translation...

    about the transmission...only experience we ever had with that was on day one of our honeymoon when the transmission blew in our 2005 chevy malibu and needed immediate repair. thankfully the tiny coastal town of arroyo grande, ca has an awesome chevy dealership that squared us away but it still cost a lovely 3000. not the best way to start one's honeymoon but certainly one of the most memorable.

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  7. Hahahaha, "perfect ingin" best ever. Definitely go for that one.

    We always checked the "Kelly Blue Book" value when we were looking, then again ours have given us a shit load of trouble so what do I know? Nothing. Except that yes, a transmission is pretty freakin expensive.

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  8. We just went through all this with my son, who was buying his first car on a VERY limited budget. We ended up finding a car through our mechanic. If you have a mechanic that you use there, I highly recommend talking with them. Also, don't buy anything that you don't have checked independently by a mechanic of your choosing. Depending on your budget, have you checked with Enterprise Rental Cars? They have a car selling department that sells off their used vehicles after they have owned them for a year or two. They are in pristine condition, because it's their business to maintain their fleet. We purchased our Suburban from them in 2004 and got a great deal. We have never had any problems with it and we've now got almost 200,000 miles on it. You basically call them, tell them what you are looking for, and they search their fleet for a vehicle for sale. Easy-peasy.

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  9. Buying a car? One of my least favorite parts of being an adult.

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  10. But Hussein has ANOTHER KEY! Why are you still looking? You've found a winner right there.

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  11. CERVIX STATION? Grace, sersly. You are not right, but incredibly funny.
    PS- Thanks for the shout out on twitter(3Lov)...don't see me getting much use out of it (although I did learn that if you bite down on a Wint-o-green lifesaver in the dark you see sparks).
    PPS-Jemily Mayholm happily spotted in clt this weekend. We're safe.

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  12. Hmm....I'm gonna say 163,000 is way too much for a 2006. Don't ask me though. I'm still in love with the Nissan Quest I only owned for two point five seconds...may God rest her beautiful soul. You guys will find something. We looked on Craigslist for the first one, even though we ended up at a dealership for the second van... still on the lookout for a new car for the husband. And now neither you nor I can drink away this predicament. Where's the justice???

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  13. I have a ford excursion, perfect for your growing family, AND, I can spell! Only problem is, I live in CA.

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    1. oh, you don't want to drive it out and babysit the monsters for a night or 10 for us?

      fine.

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  14. i only have answers for numbers 2 and 4. here goes:
    2. if you're looking at honda odyssey's, you should definitely buy newer than a 2001 (1999-2001 ish models have really crappy transmissions. anything older or newer is fine...my brother in law works in an honest japanese auto shop, so he gave us this advice when we went van shopping).
    4. definitely buy it. it's brand new, mileage is super low and the picture, well, so detailed! it's the right one for you. trust me ;)

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  15. I'm sorry. I was unable to get past the part where you talked about walking Simon to the cervix station and then something about a cock...?
    ...I thought this was a family friendly blog. I'm canceling my subscription and would like all my money back.

    Sincerely,
    Don't Drag Me Into Your Personal Gutter

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  16. My husband says look for an Odyssey or a Sienna. Not a Kia. He loves buying cars via Craigslist as he is a "car guy" and says don't be afraid.

    Laughed out loud, then spent serious time thinking about your comment "the cervix station". What a great tagline that would be for the hospital department with a sense of humor!

    If this was Facebook, I would totally "like" Cari's comment above with her "don't drag me into your personal gutter". What would I do without all of these funny comments each day??

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  17. I've heard that millige is delicious, so 163 of them would be awesome.

    We have an '05 Sienna that we bought new. It's never given us trouble and has only recently started doing a bit of a weird shaking thing at certain speeds, but I'm imagining you won't careen down gravel roads the way I do, so I think you'd be in the clear.

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  18. "cervix station"
    "martyr meter reader"

    I die.

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  19. Ha!! It looks like it's sitting on traintracks?! We've sold two cars on craigslist...MUCH easier than buying off craigslist. You will find the perfect fit! :)

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  20. I love my Honda Odyssey and so does my SIL. She bought hers used (about 6 years old) and it still runs like a dream and fits all of her brood. I was blessed enough to buy new, but it nearly sent me hyperventilating. Spending money on a car is one of my least favorite things to do as you never really feel good driving off the lot, no matter what you buy. Good luck in your search!

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    1. thank you! I think we may have found a winner from not-Hussein ... all appendages crossed.

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  21. I've sold one and purchased a couple here in STL on Craiglist. It is very difficult, and I can't imagine trying to do it with Simon's schedule and your two little ones. We spent more time trying to drive to see them, always up in north county, one was sold on our way there and one time as we were on our way they called and said someone bought it. It was kind of a nightmare but we did find a good deal and it's been good to us, we always go for the Hondas and Toyotas.
    I always took it to my shop and had them check it out for me too.
    As far as buying a used from Enterprise, I went with a friend to do that and we also stopped in at Lou Fusz Toyota on Lindbergh and Manchester and she got a better price on a new one than the used they were offering at Enterprise.
    Car shopping is the pits! Good luck! Let us know if you need help locally.

    T

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    1. Would you want to pick me and the kids up and take us to the grocery store, the post office, the pharmacy, and Target?

      small to medium joke.

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  22. Props on using cervix and cock in one tidy, run-on sentence. Truly gifted.

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  23. Consider the Not-A-Mini-Van Ford Freestyle. I love this thing and have put three adults and three kids in it often. Yes, the doors don't slide and you have to open them yourself, but its roomy, easy for carseats, and ours was used with about 20,000 miles on it from a dealer; now it has 125,000 miles on it (my husband drove it for work for two years, 30-40,000 miles per year).

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  24. We had to buy a van with the birth of our fourth child - 3 carseats fit just fine in the back of our Camry! In fact, my husband bought the car for us on the same day #4 was born. We gave up on the Craigslist search and bought our Sienna brand new. Our thoughts were: we know it hasn't been owned by someone who didn't maintain it, we could get it without any frills, and it had no interest (not sure if they're still offering that deal). It ended up being cheaper than buying one a couple of years old like we were planning to do. Of course, we had never had to make car payments before, so that has been somewhat painful. Good luck!

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    1. Wow. I'm impressed three seats fit in your car! Our kids must require extra wide car seats because there is no way three would fit in either of our cars -- at all.

      I'm so jealous you got a brand new van!

      Enjoy it!!

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  25. That ad is a gem. Good luck with your hunt. :)

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  26. Get a "certified pre-owned from a dealership. That way you get a used price but get a warranty too. Everyone I know with a Honda Oddessey raves about it.

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  27. We have an odyssey (LOVE) and a Prius, and the three carseats fit beautifully in the back of the Prius, don't rule out three carseats in the back of a non-minivan. Borrow someone's extra seat, and take it with you on test drives.

    I'd stay far far far away from anything that needs a new transmission AND from Hussein. Just a gut feeling....

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  28. Buying a used car can be stressful to say the least. First and foremost, if it doesn't feel right to you, or it seems to good to be true, it isn't and it is. DO NOT buy something that needs a transmission. If possible, try to find something with less than 50,000 miles. If you are purchasing from a private seller get a Carfax report, this is absolutely non-negotiable. Honda's and Toyota's are likely going to be your best bet if you are looking for longevity. If you do purchase a vehicle with higher mileage, research as to whether the vehicle requires a higher mileage tune-up, which is typically expensive but necessary (typically this is when things like a timing belt are replaced, which if not, can cause major damage down the road). If it does, and has been done, good, that means the previous owner probably took good care of the vehicle. If not, it is something you can use when negotiating on the price. Know the KBB value of any vehicle you are looking at, therefore you can know if the person is asking fair market value, too much, or too little. No matter how great a deal sounds, there will always be another one. Have you considered buying a new vehicle? Although it costs more, you have the piece of mind in not "getting someone else's problem," and car companies nowadays have really good warranties. Good luck!

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    1. I don't think buying a car with fewer than 50K miles or a brand new car will be in the cards until a year or 10 after residency but I think we may have found something that will totally work --- praise be.

      I'll keep you posted because I'm sure you're dying to know.

      Thanks for the tups!!

      aka --- tips. I'm letting Sebastian pound this out as I dictate.

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    2. *too good to be true

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  29. Any chance the vans with transmission problems were Odysseys? I hear so many good things about them, but I have heard that some of the older models are plagued with transmission problems. My MIL had the transmission on hers replaced twice.

    We're in the market for a minivan as well since numero 3 will be arriving in February. Unlike most, I'm ready to fully embrace it -- coolness be damned, bring on the automatic doors. We'll be looking at the Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna, and Nissan Quest. Hoping to pick up something used. Babycenter.com emailed me an offer from Chrysler to test drive their Town and Country in exchange for a $50 gift certificate to Amazon.com which I jumped on. Likely won't get one, especially since their discontinuing them, but I'm having fun deciding what to buy on Amazon! Maybe they'll discount them deeply so may be worth looking at.

    Good luck! I'll be following this thread closely.

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    1. Hi Ann! There were some older (01 and before) Odysseys that had transmission issues but my (not at all extensive) "research" all of the transmission ish was cleared up by 2004 -- I hope that is the case.

      I'm also ready to embrace the glorious spacious riding nerdy van. I had no idea they were discontinuing the T and C's ... hmm.

      Let me know what you guys settle on!!

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    2. OK, that makes sense since my MIL's Odyssey was a 2000 -- thanks for letting me piggyback off your research. Ha!

      Other considerations I'm making: leather vs cloth (leather is easy to clean, but it cracks and can either freeze or burn your hiney depending on the weather), automatic vs non-automatic doors (I know I cited automatic doors as a reason to embrace the mini-van, but it's one more thing to potentially break and manual doors aren't like they used to be -- the manual ones on the Nissan Quest we rented were super easy to close, but then, I didn't have an armful of kids), DVD vs. no-DVD (do I really want to fight that battle every.single.day, plus, if we're on a long road trip, there's always portable DVD's).

      One more thing to think about -- a lot of the newer minivans have a back-up camera. The T&C I test drove had one and boy was it nice especially since rear visibility was terrible. Just some more things to think about. Like you needed that.

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    3. Maybe I'm a dummy but I vote leather all the way. We got an 04 with leather and no cracking thus far ... and I will forever love anything that can be cleaned to almost perfection with a baby wipe.

      A back-up camera would've been nice. Next time --

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  30. We have a 2007 Dodge Caravan. Don't buy one. Don't even take one for free. They are a cheap piece of crap, but all we could afford at the time. We put a DVD player in it because we thought it would be great for trips. And then our not-carsick-ish kids all started getting carsick on trips. Never again. Anybody want to trade for a couple of Honda Civics? I have enough people with driver's licenses around here to do two cars and not one van now.

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  31. I love our new-to-us 2009 VW Routan! We bought it in March and I love it. The third row can be harder to get to though.

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  32. Funny you're writing about this... we just bought an odyssey. Mostly because the T&C's won't run as long (and their engines give out sooner, too). I did research on Consumer Reports, and the 2005 Odyssey was top rated - higher than the 2008,9,10,11!. We bought one, an old man crashed into it four days later (and totaled it) - and the next one we bought was a 2007 for $15k, and we plan to run IT into the ground. Something to think about... the local honda dealership in Wichita told us that they can put a DVD player into ANY odyseey for about $500 or so, so that's the route we plan to go, and in the mean time, I bought a travel DVD player (at Target for $70) for our long trips which sits perfectly on the middle console of the odyssey.

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  33. Curse you Grace! Just got a call from the nice man at the transmission shop who said our car's transmission is done for. Estimate to replace: $2500. Value of car if it had a working transmission: $2000. Ugh. With a husband in grad school and I'm about to go part time so he can spend more time with his research, this is not good timing for you to share your bad car luck! Take it back woman! (or give us your minivan :) )

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  34. So is this the jewel you ended up with? I love my van and couldn't imagine having anything smaller but some days I reminisce about the days I could get more than 23 miles to the gallon! Esp with gas topping $4! Congrats on the new wheels! http://hayshousemisadventures.blogspot.com/

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    1. ha!

      no --- it was oh so tempting though.

      I want to live in the van -- so in love.

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