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Bad Purchasing Decisions: Share Your Stories



  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 27,687
    The car is hers..

    The only reasonable course of action.. is to learn to live with it..

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  • jaserbjaserb Posts: 858
    I finally talked to my sister about their new SUV. It's a Pathfinder, not a 4Runner, and a pretty nice rig. They're aware of the mileage limit but plan on just buying it at lease end. When I pointed out that they were going to have to pay the buyout amount (almost $19k) at lease end even if the market price is much less than that, my BIL said "oh, that doesn't bother me." Well, OK. As long as that doesn't bother you...

    I'm just amazed that they would so blithely plan on making payments for the next 8+ years on this thing. Their buyout (on a 3 year old, likely 60k+ mile vehicle) is more than I paid for our MPV brand new.

  • paul138paul138 Posts: 31
    Yes the car is hers..But you could write a letter to the actual owner
    of the dealerhsip explaining the situtation, and in this letter maybe
    drop a sutle hint that you are the person in your family people come
    to for advice and you have brothers sisters,cousins,etc as well as many friends
    that you could refer to this dealership if they step up and help your friend.
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    Were any small cars not tinny pieces of junk in 1980?

    At least Rabbits were fun to drive in comparison to their competitors.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 27,687
    All tinny? yes...

    All junk? nope..

    Corollas, Civics and Accords were all reliable, fuel-efficient cars, even in '80... Of course, they would eventually rust away, but they didn't have all of the problems and glitches of a VW..

    But, 1980 was a dark time overall for the car industry and enthusiast...

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,607
    The newly imposed restrictive emission requirements caused a LOT of troubles too.

    And, kyfdx is correct. VW had major problems back then compared to other makes. To a degree, this is still true today.
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    I know you guys are right, but I still liked VWs back then. Part of the problem (or excuse) is that VWs were a little more complex than other similar cars. VW was offering fuel injection and 5-speed manuals, where Hondas mainly had carbs and 4-speeds. Honda also had that wonderful shift it yourself 2 speed automatic - just what a 60 horsepower car needs. VWs also had rear independent suspension when most of their competitors had a beam axle, so on and so forth.

    VWs also got great gas mileage and would outhandle pretty much anything other than a sports car.

    And yes, I had VW of the era, and it was one of the least reliable cars I have ever owned.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 27,687
    ...that VWs were cool then... and, I think they are cool now.. I just can't bring myself to own one...

    Heck.. even Consumer Reports thought that the Rabbit was the greatest thing since sliced bread... until the repair surveys started coming in...

    It is too bad.... they make neat cars...

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,607
    Nice cars to look and to drive but the nagging problems are enough to cause me to steer people away from them.

    Heck, I grew up with old bugs and buses and I still have a soft spot for them.
  • bolivarbolivar Posts: 2,316
    I drove and compared new a 1981 Rabbit and Chevette.

    The Rabbit was somewhat 'peppier', handled better, and my 'World Advisor' Consumer Reports thought they were the sub-compact to end all sub-compacts.

    The Rabbit was about $1,800 more than the Chevette. Trying to 'deal', the salesman acted like he was selling a Mercedes.

    I just couldn't see giving that much more for the Rabitt.

    I bought the Chevette. It was a commute-to-work car. Just a few miles a day. It got a clutch at about 40,000 miles (in-town driving took its tole). The relay for the rear window deicer went bad. It leaked a little oil. The seats were great. I still think this seat was about as good as any car I've owned. I didn't work at all on the highway. The tire and wind noise was so bad you couldn't hear the radio. And, I think for a little 4-banger 4-speed, its highway milage of 23mpg was horrible.We had another car, a 1979 Malibu, then a 1984 Toronado for the road. But when the reports of valve oil seal leaking, oil burning and electrical horror Rabbits started to come in, it made that little white Chevette shine even more.

    Kept it for about 6 or seven years. Traded it in on a used Corvette.
  • smittynycsmittynyc Posts: 291
    If it weren't for the reliability problems, I'd be a chronic VW buyer. I love their exterior and interior designs, and the cars are usually exceptionally fun to drive and functional.

    If only they could follow through and make problem-free cars. What is preventing them from doing that, anyway? Is it the designs themselves, is it the labor, the engineering . . . ?

    Sandwiched around that 1980 VW, my folks had a 1976 Rabbit (a true stripper model, bright orange with black interior) and a used 1984 (?) Rabbit Diesel. Both of those cars were outstanding -- the 1976 was t-boned in an ice storm by a guy driving a huge domestic who slid through a stop sign. The car was totalled (badly), but my dad walked away from the accident.
  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653
    My father-in-law had a 1977 Rabbit, which was also an orange stripper. I think '77 was the first year for fuel injection. It was a great little car... made in Germany.

  • danf1danf1 Posts: 935
    was buying an automatic. Nothing wrong with the car other than the fact that I coulnd't shift my own gears. That car lasted me six months until I traded for the same car with a six speed. I'm much happier now.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 27,687
    Come on, Paul Harvey.. tell us the rest of the story..

    You are leaving out all of the details...

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  • danf1danf1 Posts: 935
    Oh, you want the long version.....

    My wife was pregnant with our third child. Because of the new addition to the family, I needed to trade in my Audi TT. It is really difficult to get five people in a four seater. I still miss that car, but I digress.

    I looked around at many cars. After about 2 weeks of shopping, I decided that it was best to buy from my dealership, so I landed on the Cadillac CTS. At the time there were no six speeds available, and the sales manager told me that he couldn't get one. With that in mind I bought the automatic.

    After about 3 days, I decided that I hated letting the car shift for me. Unfortunately I was in a 48 month lease and we all know how hard it is to get out of a lease early. So I stuck with it for a few months. Last month I couldn't take it anymore. The straw that broke the camels back was when I was driving rather spiritedly having some fun when I saw my father-in-law. He has a 2003 Z06. We were driving at more than legal speeds on a nice windy road and I realized that it was absolutely no fun.

    The next day I came into work, found a nice black six speed CTS, and traded in. The beauty of the whole situation is that I actually lowered my monthly payment on the same term lease. You've gotta love GM incentives.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 27,687
    Just so everyone understands... Dan traded in an '05 automatic for an '05 6-speed... Thereby cementing his CCBA status...

    I just didn't want the story to come off as ordinary... ;)

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,607
    People buy a stick and end up hating it when they get stuck in Seattle traffic day after day.
  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    Just found this topic. Here's my tale of woe....

    Summer of 1985, final semester of college. I had, unfortunately, totalled my 1979 Pontiac Sunbird coupe (3 months before graduation!) and had a check for $2000 in hand. Needed wheels, fast.

    Was thinking of buying something new and using the insurance check as my down payment. Lookeed at a Ford Escort diesel (I can hear the collective NO! from the crowd already). My parents talked me out of it, explaining patiently that I had no job after college and shouldn't be putting myself into a position of making payments with no income.

    OK, so off to the classified ads I go. Lessee, something cheap and reliable ... the plan was to either trade it in or sell it outright when I graduated. I found a '77 Olds Omega (Chevy Nova clone) for, I think, $1200. Looked at it, drove it briefly and bought it .. hey, I was 21, what did I know? It was repainted a bright blue, had a white vinyl roof, wire wheels and a 350 V8.

    First sign of trouble was when I went to get it smogged. Failed the first test, cost me $100-150 to get it "tuned' (yeah, right) to pass. I suspect the mechanic leaned out the throttle or carb quite a bit. So, I got the coveted sticker.

    Next, I notice this odd sound coming from the engine compartment, like a cylinder missing. Had it checked out, and discovered that one of the cylinders isn't firing at all! I've now got a 7 cylinder car, which I used to limp around town ... home to school to work ... for the next several months. It never completely broke down, but I did have to put two new tires on it ... guess what? It's a bad idea to mix bias-ply and radial tires on the same car. Every time I switched lanes I thought the back end was going to break loose on me, Smokey and the Bandit style. Eerie.

    I ended up selling it the day I graduated college for, I think, $250. Enough to cover the cost of the car I rented to move back to CA from AZ.

  • My 2004 Dodge SRT 4. Not a bad car really, except the service people at dodge just woke up from a nap in the cave and havent exactly gotten down the "customer service thing". Out of service for 13 days for spark plugs, wires and some electrical connectors AT 4800 MILES. This is after the two previous attempts to fix the same problem, both times improperly diagnosed. Yeah, I will buy American again.........NOT.
  • wibblewibble Posts: 569
    The tales of woe that this topic recalls.

    1. 1983 VW Polo. Bought it a year old with 3,000 miles on the clock. I soon found out why it was so low. In the first 2 months the gearbox disintegrated, 2 clutches packed up, the electrical system decided that shuffling electrons around was too much effort and finally the engine block cracked. Owned it for 18 months during which it was off the road for 14 months. Just to add insult to injury, the advertising catchphrase of VW in England at the time was "If only everything in life was as reliable as a Volkswagen".

    2. 1983 Yugo 311. This was the revenge of the place that sold me the VW - a loaner car for people they didn't like. I took it on a 250 mile drive to see my girlfriend and her parents at Christmas. By the time I got there only 1 light was working, 3 hubcaps had fallen off and the final straw was when I pulled on the parking brake and it came off in my hand. My better half took one look at the thing and decided she was taking the train back home!

    3. 1988 Renault 18. Total brake failure at 70 mph (it was a motorway). Luckily I was able to pull over and coast to a stop. Unfortunately, it gave me grey hair at 30.

    4. 1987 Skoda. The amazing exploding Skoda. I thought I'd smelt petrol. Turned out to be a leaking filter that dumped flammable liquid all over a hot engine. Pretty impressive looking in the rear view mirror and seeing a miniture towering inferno. Got off the road and out of the rolling bonfire just as the flames reached the gas tank. Another 5 years off my life (I have a feeling I'm living on borrowed time).

    5. 1992 Lada Samara - Yeah, I know but when you're poor. This pup managed to break 3 cam belts in the space of 4 months. The only good news was I sold it for far more than I paid for it to a Russian sailor who was re-patriating it back to his homeland.

    Sadly, since I actually started making a decent living and buying sensible cars, life has become a little more dull.
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