Friday’s Weekend Column
Buying a New Vehicle

by James Glaser
November 17, 2006

They say buying a new car is the second largest purchase you will make, and that it can be stressful. I don't know if this one is my second largest purchase, but they did have that bit about stress right.

I started shopping about a month ago. After much research, I had my choices down to about ten cars, but after driving a few, I had to admit to myself that I have become a pickup man.

Cars are nice, some of them are great, but the feeling of safety and the practicality of a pickup won me over. Most cars get better mileage and some of them are less expensive, but I feel safer in a pickup. I think it has something to do with bumper height. I stopped in at a Ford dealer and asked what it would cost to replace my F 150, extended cab XLT four wheel drive with a new one. 44 grand is what we came up with and that is like buying a house in Northome, and I couldn't put out that kind of money for a truck.

I think I tried every pickup that is made and you know what, just about every car dealer will out and out lie to you. I think the only reason I finally found an honest one, was just luck. The salesman who finally helped me was pretty new at the game. He was still in the Marine Corps Reserves and had just returned from his second tour in Iraq four weeks ago. Before he went over seas, he had worked for the dealer three months and when he got home, they still had his old desk waiting for him.

I ended up buying an Isuzu extended cab pickup. No, I didn't know they made pickups either. One thing they have is pretty good mileage. 19 city and 23 on the highway. That is way better than my Ford got. They are also pretty cheap. With my truck as a trade in it coast right at 15K. I could have cot a stripped down model for eleven thousand and my truck, but that would have been a stick with hand crank windows.

The one I got is an I-280 with the luxury package. That means power everything, windows, door locks, 6 disc stereo, fog lamps, extra air bags, traction control, body molding, nicer seats and some leather, cruise, air, Mp-3 outlet, compass, outside temp, hidden storage boxes, and of course, cup holders.

I also got a seven year 75,000 mile warranty and seven years of roadside assistance. Today is my second day of driving it, and I have 80 miles on the truck. I also have my first call into the roadside assistance program. The truck wouldn't start tonight. I turned the key and all I heard was click click click. New truck, almost no miles, and it wouldn't start. That adds tons of stress to the new car adventure. I don't know how long the truck sat on the lot, maybe a year as it is a 2006. So I am hoping the battery was just run down and all I have been doing is short trips. The truck had sixty miles on it when I bought it, so I only drove it twenty miles. From home to the shop and back and to the store, so I am hoping it was a low battery thing. I will to take it in Monday and see if it is charging, as it only has and idiot light for the charging system. After I got it jumped tonight I drove it for about an hour and that should charge up a good battery if everything is working.

Of course now I won't trust the thing for at least a month if everything starts working like it should. Also I'll have to buy jumper cables and a locking tool box to keep them in. Now I am thinking I should have kept my old truck or bought a used one. New trucks are supposed to be trouble free.

If the truck starts in the morning, I am going up to Columbus, Georgia for the School of the Americas protest. The School of the Americas is at Fort Benning, an Army base. It is the school where the Unites States of America teaches military officers from South American countries how to torture their people. Yeah, I wish that wasn't true, but I believe it is. Every year some Priests and Nuns get arrested, and many of them serve time in federal prison for their "unlawful" actions.

Everything about the protest is non-violent, and I hope to report next week with photos about what went on. I don't plan on getting arrested, but then who does?

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