Monday, December 5, 2011

Car Adventures

Some of my friends have been insisting that I do a blog post about my car, since it's guy stuff anyway, and guys like cars.

Okie. Here's the whole story.

Two weeks ago I was out getting Christmas stuff with my daughter. I noticed the heater wasn't working, and the check engine light was on. My first thought was that I'd blown a fuse in the heater, so I checked that. No problem, aside from a scraped knuckle that two days later looked like it had seen some action in a bar fight.

I'm ok with that.

The fuse was fine, but later I noticed some pink stuff on the driveway. It seems strange, but my first thought was please be the transmission.

See, I had the transmission replaced in March so it was still under warranty and would have been covered.

No such luck. I drove the car over to Canadian Tire to have it checked, and sure enough it was a blown head gasket. Not repairable.


Yup. turns out that on the '02 Camry, the bolts on the head are machined in such a way that they can't be remachined. Nice, huh? My only option then was to put a new engine in it.

Or get a new car.

Now, I've never owned a new car, but I have been turned down for financing quite a few times (the cross one bears as a musician). However, I'm working a normal job these days, so I figured i would give it a try.

Approved! Yay!

I of course tried out several cars in that same price range. Cruze, Corolla, Elantra. It was the 2012 Cruze that really got my attention. A week after my Camry died I drove off the lot at Bill Spencer GM in Cobourg with a brand new 2012 Chevy Cruze LT Turbo, complete with 3 months of XM Radio (meh...not thrilled with that) and 6 months of Onstar (much more thrilling so far).

Here it is:

Pretty, huh?

But what about that Camry?

Well, Chevy was only going to give me $500 for it on their "cash for clunkers" program. But I just sank four grand into that transmission in the spring. I figured I should at least get ten new car payments out of it.

First I called up a Toyora dealership, figuring their parts department would be interested in salvaging the usuables (everything but the block, in fact). No sale.

So I put it up on Kijiji as a car for parts. Listing it in the "Parts" category was a good idea. Within an hour I had four offers from wreckers, with the top offer just $500 short of what I was asking.

The day I picked up my Cruze--one week after my Camry bit it--this tow truck came out from Scarborough and hauled my Camry away. Done.

I liked that car.

And of course iI got cash. Enough for the ten payments I was looking for.

So, there's the whole saga. I'm upgraded to my first brand new car ever. My old car is likely in pieces somewhere in the GTA. And I have enough on hand to cover any seasonal downswing in my work year.

Some tips for selling a dead Camry:

  • List your dead car on Kijiji under "Parts";
  • Don't post your phone number...just your email (or expect phone calls at all hours of the night);
  • Ask for more than you hope to get. They will low ball you;
  • Only accept cash;
  • Get to the MTO and get the seller's (UVIP) package before you list your car. It's twenty bucks, and is a legal requirement;
  • Have a bill of sale. Make sure it indicates the car is being sold as is, without warranty;
  • If the buyer sends a third party tower to pick up the car, make sure they sign a form stating they are responsible for it once it's hooked to their truck. You don't want the buyer calling you up asking where their car is and demanding their money back if there's an accident or theft.


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