Thursday, August 12, 2010

One Used Car On The Cheap

So Tuesday I mentioned how I tried to relax while on vacay, despite the goings-on back home. Allow me to briefly elaborate, and then get to the point. There's always a point, right?

Instead of putting our adorable lab/shepherd mix in a kennel for the week while we sat on the beach sipping mixed drinks, we thought it would be more comfortable if my mother-in-law stayed at our house to dog-sit. We stocked the pantry, gave detailed instructions and let her use my car to get around (she uses mass transit, so doesn't have a need for a vehicle of her own).

One day into the trip, on her first outing in my '01 Ford Explorer Sport - a two door SUV that is only two-wheel drive… it may as well have been a Kia Rio with extra storage space and terrible gas mileage - she gets horrendously rear ended (but came out just shaken up).

Long story short, the rest of the week is spent on the phone with police, insurance people, parents, dog sitters, cat feeders and the like. Upon arrival home I find out the vehicle is a total loss.

So now, on to the point - I'm used car shopping! Yay! I need something economical, good on gas, four door, durable, fun and economical. Did I mention economical?

I really like the Nissan Versa Hatchback and have heard nothing but great things from owners who are friends, but I can't find one near me in my price range (lets say $10-$12K at this point). I'm pretty open-minded, so I could be persuaded to most brands. Any suggestions, thoughts, etc?

My last car-buying experience was at a place called Shultz Ford in Harmarville (western PA)… it was not a pleasant experience top to bottom. Aggressive salespeople, didn't get a great deal on the vehicle, had to take it back a day after we got it because it smelled funky, they told us it was four-wheel drive when it wasn't (found this out later obviously) and then, the icing on the cake, we got the Ford certification on it - a “thorough” inspection and repairs to make the car as like new as possible - and within one year we had to get new brakes and rotors. One year for new brakes before they poop the bed? Possible, but highly unlikely.

But I hear the Shultz Ford in Wexford is better. Ask for John H.

Has anyone had experience with Blue Knob Auto in central PA area? Google it man: The prices are outstanding and from what I understand it's a very no-nonsense place to buy a vehicle; no haggling and whatnot. I heard the way they keep prices low is by offering low returns on trade-ins, but since I won't have one I'll be in good shape there.

Like I said, I'm open to ideas, I just hope this experience is better than my last one. And hey, if there's any car dealers out there who want to cut a poor, lowly blogger a break on a great vehicle, I'll certainly be talking about my next car-buying experience right here, wink wink. Ha!

Hope to hear from ya'll with suggestions - Come back at 4 p.m. won't you?


  1. Half the guys I work with have bought cars from blue knob and love them, their prices are non-negotiable but they do have some great deals! If they would have had the car I wanted, I would have purchased my car from there as well

  2. We've also gotten a lot of recommendations to go to Blue Knob. Most of the guys the hubby works with (and he works at an auto body shop) have gotten their trucks there and have nothing but great things to say about the dealership.

  3. I'll third the Blue Knob comments. I've only heard great things.

    I love my Jetta. It is a 99 but still looks great. Such fun to drive.

  4. @Dawn - Right on. I'm all about not negotiating anyways. Maybe if I knew more about cars I would like it, but seeing as I'm not, I'd rather just be given the lowest price, period.

    @Mama - The fact that your man works at an auto body shop and recommends Blue Knob pretty much seals the deal. Rick on.

    @Mike - Regarding your Jetta recommendation, I love how they look but I understand it's sacriligious to drive a VW that's an automatic... and I'm unfortunately not manly enough to drive a stick.