Friday, March 23, 2012

Ode To My Stinkbug

Oh my car... my little Stinkbug. I had a roundabout way of buying this car. In 2005, I was searching for a new car. My old car, a beautiful 1966 Ford Mustang, just wasn't cutting it. I needed something reliable. I found a used 2004 Honda Civic 2-Door at a Dodge dealership in Valencia. It was my dream car. Absolutely wonderful. Until the air conditioning stopped working. No big deal... Take it to the local Honda dealer right? Wrong. The service department took one look at it and said this warranty is void because the car has been in an accident. WHAT??!?! I was crushed! The car looked perfect! But with a voided warranty it was too much of a risk.

I explained the situation to my mom and Erik. If you knew Erik, you would know EXACTLY how he reacted. Mr. Soap Box. I needed someone to stand up to the dealership. Frankly, I needed someone to be the asshole. And he was alllllllll kinds of ready to be that! We drove out to Valencia and the dealership didn't want to deal with it. They had no clue of an accident (no, it wasn't on the Car Fax report). They didn't agree with the Honda dealership in Thousand Oaks - they would honor the warranty. That's all fine and dandy if I lived in Valencia but at the time I was living in Thousand Oaks! Erik actually took it to the extreme and said that I was "going away to college in Pennsylvania" (love him~). At one point, they sent us and the car over to a Honda dealership close by that actually sold the car for them to verify our claims. We pull in and a service tech jots down the VIN, pulls the computer screen away from our view and checks to see who it was sold to.

At this point, I'm getting upset because I just want this to be done with... I notice Erik is acting awfully funny. He is talking to the service tech... pointing out this and that.. but craning his neck back. And then I notice his phone in his hand.... and he is punching in numbers.. without really looking at his phone. He was peeking at the tech's computer and typing in the phone number of the person who originally bought the car! Once we finished with Honda, we go back to the Dodge dealership. Erik gets on the phone and calls the person. He talks to them for a bit and they are really vague about it... He asks straight out if the car was in an accident and the person says "I think so..". That was all Erik needed to hear. He was all kinds of fired up now. Back at Dodge, he got into a heated argument with the manager. They argued for awhile and in the end the manager relents to investigating the car further and giving me a rental car until they decide what to do.

My mom should remember this.. I called her as I was driving back to Thousand Oaks in the rental car. I remember clear as day saying to her... "I don't know what they are going to do... but I know one thing... I'm NOT buying a Dodge Neon!!!". I hated it. I had the rental for about 3 days before they got back to us and I hated every second of it. The dealership had determined that it was in an accident... and that they would replace the car with........ you guessed it... a 2005 Dodge Neon SXT. I was super skeptical. Erik was happy as a clam... It's a "limited edition" in that it has a fancy stereo system and subwoofer, sunroof and 6 disc CD player (please remember it was 2005). I begrudgingly went ahead with it... It was a brand new car after all. Even though I was pretty grumpy about it, I am forever thankful that Erik helped me out.

The car has made a giant U-Turn across the US... going from California to Florida, Florida to Virginia and Virginia to California. It then made the trek from California to Virginia and Virginia to Canada. The first time Ian ever drove a car was on that trip, on I-40 with  big rigs FLYING past us.... white knuckled.. and me laughing and taking pictures in the passenger's seat. His first accident was... well, we'll not mention that again. The car has served me well.

Fast forward to this week... It has now reached 100,000 miles! (It also needed replacement of the air filter screws as they were stripped, the sunroof was stuck open and the radio and interior lights went out... but we're back to normal now!). Here is a blurry photo of that milestone.

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