I want a car!

I really wish we had a car.  I’ve always done well using transit and for the most part it really has worked for us over the years.  When we lived in Coal Harbour it wasn’t that much of an issue because we lived so close to everything we needed that I only took the bus when travelling to visit my parents or whatever.  When we lived in Burnaby years ago going to SFU, we lived at the base of the mountain, and while we DID do a fair bit of bussing around places, we were also sans child, which makes bus trips a whole lot easier.

Lately I’m finding it increasingly difficult not having a car for the convenience factor.  Of course I can take the bus, but sometimes it’s challenging getting Andrew to cooperate and be ready for bus-specific times.  Sometimes I think it would be SO NICE to just be able to hop in the car on a whim and go somewhere with him.  I actually think we’d go out WAY more than we do, for the simple reason that we could always just hop back in the car and go home if need be – whereas if we’re going to spend an hour or so on the bus, I want to make damn sure that we’re going to be happy being wherever we’re going for a decent length of time, to make it worth our while.

When I was pregnant with baby#2, I started finding myself increasingly tired and not really up to carrying a bag full of stuff for the boy PLUS the boy Himself because he doesn’t like to be in the confines of a stroller.  So essentially I’m packing an extra 35 or so pounds everywhere I go. 

Now I don’t have the ‘excuse’ that I’m pregnant, but for some reason I HAVE been feeling more tired than usual.  I used to be so full of energy in comparison to now.  I don’t know what’s wrong with me.  Maybe my emotional state factors in?  I just get tired quickly and I don’t have the get up and go to be dealing with transit all the time.

Something I’m particularly concerned about is if/when I do become pregnant again – I want to be extra careful, and while I’m still anticipating carrying my boy around at times, I don’t think it’s going to be a good idea for me to be carrying his heft quite as much as I tend to.  I want to be extra careful, let’s face it – whether I want to be this way or not, I’m going to be paranoid-careful!  I won’t be able to help it.  So walking around with a bag on my back and a boy on my shoulders for half an hour or more stretches is probably not going to be tops on my list of things to do.

I’m not sure what the solution is.  James IS getting a raise next month, but he’s also being incorporated and we don’t yet know all the potential hidden costs associated with that, that we might need to factor in.  I know that not only are cars themselves expensive (we’d have to buy cheap second-hand, obviously!) but the gas can be insanely expensive too.

Anyone have any tips if we WERE to explore the option of getting a car? 

We’ll probably continue to hold off as long as we can, but I can’t see us NEVER having a car, either.  It just doesn’t make sense – especially given we now live in a neighbourhood where you literally HAVE to bus (if you don’t have a car) if you want to go pretty much ANYWHERE…


Lojo said…
Based on your needs, I'd go for a basic 4-door, family car with good gas mileage, like a Honda or a Hyundai. From what I know, the Ford Focus gets good gas mileage, too. You could either do a private sale, or go through a dealership. If you get to the point where you want to start shopping, I'd scour used car ads through Auto Trader or even Kijiji, and if you see one you think might be reasonable, research the stats on the vehicle (including the model and year) and see what it's reputation is. If you go through a dealership, they'll be able to offer you this information and guide you through a bit, although make sure to research and compare prices so you don't get ripped off. Those car salesmen can be like vultures, especially if they sniff out that you're inexperienced with buying vehicles.

- Cars still covered under warranty are a plus (my car was bought used through a dealership and it's still covered under Ford's warranty).
- Lower the kilometers, the better. Higher the kms, higher the risk that something is going to flame out on you, and you definitely don't want that. I'd definitely stay below 100,000 kms.
- See if you can get an accident/ service history report. Try to ensure that regular oil changes were done, etc. Some people don't track this stuff, while other people are meticulous about it.
- If you're serious about a private sale, but a little wary, get an inspection (I think it's about $150 around here), especially if it's a vehicle that is over 5 years old
- You'll obviously pay more for automatic windows, etc., and leather, so dodge those. Leather is nice for spills, but with cloth you can always put on seat covers.
- Check out the paint when the sun is hitting it. You may get a better deal on a vehicle that has paint issues, but cars are so expensive that you'll want to maintain the re-sale value, so watch out for rust issues and visible swirls. Rock chips can be easily touched up with touch up paint from Canadian Tire (will stop it from rusting), but swirls means it wasn't washed properly and the paint job was wrecked (will devalue the vehicle for later sale).

P.S.: Andrew's cheeks are too cute!
Elizabeth said…
Thank you so much for this info! Stuff I would have never even thought of, definitely great tips that I will use when we do eventually purchase a car.


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