My First Car: 2 Engines, 2 Loans, 4 Years of Trauma

Car buying is not my strong suit. My love of shiny things, combined with lack of patience and an acutely tuned BS meter combine for a volatile concoction that has no business being anywhere near an automobile dealership. Or maybe it has to do with the trauma of my first experience.

As a naive 23-year-old, totally on my own, I found myself in need of reliable transportation with little in the way of disposable income. I walked onto a lot, just to browse. Let the horror begin.

A fine upstanding gent greeted me with a toothy smile and a firm handshake and I just knew we’d be best buds forever. As he led me down rows of vehicles, I was amazed at how nearly all of them were “practically new” with “low, low, miles.” I was convinced that divine providence had led me to automotive utopia.

The adroit sales rep quickly assessed my ways and means, and led me to the “back lot,” where I was presented with a handful of not-so-new and not-so-low-mileage cars. Before I knew it, I was back in the office, and he was “checking with his manager” to see what he could do to put me into a ’78 Civic with more miles than the oldest Kardashian.

After several trips to an unseen manager in an unseen office, he came back with an incredibly long and confusing purchase contract.

That Civic shook and shuttered, drank oil like a sailor on a three-day leave, and a few weeks after the 90-day warranty expired, the engine blew. I took another loan to replace it, and that one blew up a few months later. Six months after stepping foot on the lot, I was back to riding my bike. I spent the next three-plus years paying off two loans at 21 percent interest for the “crap-mobile” I no longer had.

My advice: Marry an accountant and give her your wallet. Worked for me!


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Chris Prickett
Former contractor, former home inspector and funny guy, Chris Prickett is owner and designated broker of Prickett Realty. A New Jersey native, Prickett has been a top-producing REALTOR® in North Phoenix over the last 10 years. He has been a columnist for 13 years. Over the Prickett Fence is published weekly by In&Out Publications.
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Chris Prickett

Former contractor, former home inspector and funny guy, Chris Prickett is owner and designated broker of Prickett Realty. A New Jersey native, Prickett has been a top-producing REALTOR® in North Phoenix over the last 10 years. He has been a columnist for 13 years. Over the Prickett Fence is published weekly by In&Out Publications.

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