Monday, August 10, 2009

Cash For Clunkers..What A Hassle

On a whim last week I went to a few car dealers to see what some new cars had to offer. (Being unemployed is dangerous, as you have lots of free time to get into trouble.) I knew the Jeep Grand Cherokee was unaffordable, but I wanted to see how much the smaller models were. They were not worth the money, as the interior was bare-bones and the ride not so good. I also didn't like the salesman.
We left and went back home to get on the internet. My husband suggested we use my old 1989 Mercury Cougar as a "clunker" to get some money towards the purchase of a new car. As I browsed the Honda website (and internally cringing for looking at a foreign car), the Honda Fit caught my eye. The dealer was close to us so off we went. The Fit was cute, but didn't grab me. As we strolled throughout the showroom, another car caught my eye...the Insight. It was interesting looking and the interior had a lot of amenities. A salesman saw me sitting in the car and asked if I wanted to test drive it. Of course I did!
When we returned to the dealer, he sat us down for the serious negotiations. I kept telling him we were just looking but the pressure was on. I really did like the Insight, a hybrid that boasts 40 mpg city. The negotiations got fast & furious, at one point I test drove the Fit to further cement my opinion of the Insight (it was lovely) and all of a sudden we were given a monthly payment we liked.
That was the easy part.
As Cash For Clunkers advertises, all you have to do is bring your old car to the dealer.

You need 2 years worth of insurance and registration papers to give the dealer. Sounds easy, right? Well, how many people keep their old insurance card & registration once the new ones come? I usually did, except last year my husband went on a cleaning kick and threw all the old ones out, saying that when you get stopped you have to search through all of them to find the right one.
WRONG! The new ones are always on top, and I have no problem finding them. Anyway, he tossed all the old ones. I had to go to the DMV to get a registration history. When I finally filled out the paperwork and talked to a clerk (after standing in 4 different lines and going to two different buildings) I was told that I could not get the printout the same day. I was livid. How long does it take to hit print screen and give someone a piece of paper? Apparently a few days if you are a government worker. Thus, I did not get my car that day.
The dealer called me later that day to say that others had gone to another DMV office and gotten their stuff right away. So Saturday I woke up at 7:45 am and went 45 minutes away to a DMV office that was clean, quiet and productive! I got my paperwork! I practically flew to the dealer. Of course, more roadblocks stood in my way...the dealer needed my original of the insurance card and registration for THIS year, which was home. I had already dropped my clunker off at the dealer the other day, so I just filed the papers. My poor husband drove home to get the documents while I filled out and signed millions of contracts. We were in the dealer's from 10 am to 2:30 pm. It was all worth it when I saw my car, however. She's a beauty!
Then I had to meet with the financial sales guy...who tried to up my monthly payment by offering extras like window etching, Lojack, gap insurance, extended warranty and something like road hazard insurance for the tires. My payment would have been more than 200 more!!!
I ended up taking the extended warranty after furious negotiations. My payment was only $8 more than I was promised. The warranty is great...I have no deductible and everything is covered for 8 years. My husband is happy, he doesn't have to work on the car at all!

I love driving around in my little hybrid....but the government sure didn't make it easy to get.


nighthawk said...

All I can say is I will never and I mean never buy an American car again. People want to know why they went into the toilet, it's because they suck. I bought a Toyota Corolla in 07 and it was one of the best things I ever did. I would probably only buy Toyota or Honda. Interesting story about the clunker. This is the same government that wants to give you healthcare!

Tara said...

lol, if it's a lease the gap insurance is ALREAdy included in the monthly payment of the car.. nice try finance guy! that was made mandatory when i bought my RED eclipse in 2001. lol
congrats on the purchase!