Anxiety And The Purchase Of A Vehicle

Nothing disrupts my inner peace quite like automobiles. I don’t mind driving them, but dealing with the purchase, the maintenance, and the repair of them (salesmen and mechanics have long been a source of distrust with me, due to multiple events of unethical behavior from both in my life), is more than my simple mind desires to handle. Add to the economic impact of financing… scary, anxious times.

Not being a man blessed with wealth and with my fourth child on the way, my family’s budget is not ready for this, yet we must force it through somehow. My car incurred some engine damage (blown head gasket most likely as oil has taken residence in my coolant reservoir) on the way home from work Tuesday afternoon. When taken in to a big chain auto repair place (we’ll call them “Tires Addition” to veil their actual but sinisterly similar identity), their tech wanted to perform only a full Tune Up (with no mention of at very least a coolant flush). What knowledge I possess about cars lets me know that if oil is in my coolant I need waaaaaaay more than a $700 tune up…

RIP 1999 Nissan Sentra (with only 106,000 miles), you were a fantastic car for the 4 years we were together…

1999 Green Nissan Sentra GXE

As is sometimes the case with unexpected emergencies, we didn’t have much at all to put down on the car, thus securing an auto loan from (place I tried to purchase used car from) proved problematic even with our good credit rating. Mainly because the car I was looking at was over 10 years old (with only 98,000 miles) and our down payment was closer to my body weight than the weight of the car I just said good bye to. However, we did secure a personal loan from the bank and once that hits our account we will have the capacity to go shopping for something. My anxiety (besides the obvious economic toll – remember, new baby within the next 3 weeks) is mostly due to the fact that I CANNOT GET THIS WRONG! I cannot guess incorrectly. I have learned a little how to diagnose car issues the last decade or so (although being born with basically two left hands, I lack the ability to work on cars mechanically), but I am not confident enough in myself to ensure that I get a car that won’t break down in the next few days, weeks, months… That would be catastrophic on many levels. Honestly, if I didn’t have kids, I wouldn’t own a car, but I certainly would NOT trade my kids for the inner peace of carnothavingness (should be a word). I had a friend who was super mechanically inclined that I trusted to fly with me on these kinds of decisions, but he is in the Army and away now. As overwhelmed and out-of-body as I have felt lately, I know a good, solid choice within my budget would at least steer me back toward a little tranquility. Folks, cross your fingers for me. I could definitely use the good vibes.

(Below is the 2003 Toyota Highlander I was checking out before the auto loan situation fell through)

2003 Toyota Highlander

Can anyone else relate with this panic/paranoia/anxiety? Am I a pathetic pussy? Is pork superior to beef? Did I leave my lights on?