Sunday, February 04, 2007

We bought a car! For nearly twenty-four hours!

So. My husband has been looking for a car. His old car still runs pretty well, except for the thing where it has to be parked correctly or it won't start, and the thing where it doesn't go into gear and won't start, and the thing were it slips mysteriously into gear if you leave it running, and the thing where the driver's door doesn't close all the way and wind and rain tend to blow onto the driver. You know, small stuff.

His dream car is a Chevy Aveo hatchback, one of the reasons for the word "subcompact" to be coined. He wants a manual transmission, manual locks, manual windows, low mileage, and, oh yeah, air conditioning. (The last thing is important.) He also wants all this for as close to under $10K as can be managed, which is actually pretty darn close.

For the last few months, Al has been searching Carmax for such a car. He thought he'd found one in New Hampshire, but it turns out that that particular car had become famous in Carmax lore for:

  • Having no air conditioning
  • Having a black interior

  • Trying to be sold from a lot in Miami

    The car had been in the system for eighteen months before the Miami dealership persuaded someone to take the car to New Hampshire.

    Last week, however, he found another one in Virginia. It wasn't listed as having A/C, so he called the local Carmax and they called the one in Virginia and had someone walk out and look at the car. "Yep," said Virginia Carmax, "the car has A/C." "Yay," said Al and I. We paid the $450 transfer fee, and the car arrived in Nashville Thursday. We looked at it, were assured once again that it had A/C, and bought it. They even agreed to give us $50 for Albert's old Taurus, which for us was a step up from having to pay someone else to take it off our hands. Since each of us thought that the other one was supposed to have brought the title to the Taurus, we agreed to come by the next day and sign it over.

    The next day, Al is looking through the manual to the Aveo and discovers that the A/C works on a separate system from the heat. In order to turn on the cooling system, one has to push a little button on the console...which wasn't there. He drove to the Carmax lot to meet me to sign over the Taurus, and the salespeople looked at the car, and the manual, and finally someone opened the hood and looked for an air compressor. The verdict? No A/C.

    Carmax took the car back without a fuss, and also refunded the transfer fee because the lot in Virginia had assured them in writing that the car had A/C. (This, by the way, is why we're so going to continue to deal with Carmax.) They'll be sending us a refund check in the mail, and the guy who sold us the car is now motivated to find a replacement. We have also succeeded in educating at least half a dozen people, including ourselves, on what doesn't constitute "A/C included" in a Chevy Aveo.

    Somewhere out there is a manual-everything Chevy Aveo hatchback with A/C, and we're going to find it. Someday.

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