Car shopping not easy

Monday, May 6, 2013 - 11:05

Alaska doesn’t seem to like the vehicles we brought into the state. After less than a year of living here, our van was totaled after two rear-end collisions. At the same time our car decided to begin falling apart. We’ve been nursing her along for the past year and a half. When the transmission went out, the car had gone from spare vehicle to my main transportation. So, we replaced the transmission. Since then we keep fixing things knowing the transmission is still good. But when the brakes went out again on Monday, we decided it was time for that car to be put out to pasture. We just have to find a replacement.

My husband and I started the process online. The goal was to compile a list of possible vehicles from the comfort of our home before we began driving all over town. While looking for a van, we started the search in Anchorage. The thing is we were picky. It had to be the right color, with the right interior, alloy wheels, and a sun roof. A van with all those options that we could afford was hard to find in Anchorage, so my husband expanded our search. Finally we found it, perfect color, all the right options, and a great price: in Bellingham. When we bought our first van, driving across state lines was no big deal. In fact, our search for exactly what we wanted covered four states. It was only a couple of hours and worth it to find our van. In Alaska, the state line is a couple days away and more difficult to cross. No matter how many perfect looking vans were in Washington, we decided to wait the months it took for our van to show up at the Lithia Kia lot.

This time, we are looking for a truck, and Anchorage has plenty of those. We got off our computer and headed for the car lots. The first truck we looked at was an immediate disappointment. We asked the dealer to pull the Car Fax and found that that truck had been in an accident. Then we found the most beautiful truck I’ve ever seen: silver and chrome with a beautiful gray interior. I was sold and ready to buy right away. Fortunately, my more practical husband was able to remain level-headed and asked to take the truck to our mechanic before we bought. He informed us that while the previous owner had worked hard to keep the truck looking her very best, that owner had also neglected regular maintenance. No matter how beautiful the exterior was, we took his advice and didn’t buy the truck. When we have the time we will check out the next truck on our wish list. Here’s hoping the third time’s a charm.

With all these vehicles to check out and a car to maintain, it’s good to know that we have a mechanic we can trust over at S&P in Eagle River. In the military we haven’t been able to find a good local mechanic for each move. They’re not paying me to say this. It’s just nice having them around with the vehicular challenges we have faced over the last year. Here’s hoping our next ride is more Alaska-compatible.

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