Eas­i­est way to change the oil is just to change the whole car

North Penn Life - - Accent -

How does this hap­pen? My wife took her car in for an oil change last week . . . and came home with a new car.

Really? When I get the oil changed in my car, I come home with a bill for A35 if I’m lucky. If I’m not lucky, I come home with a bill for A175 af­ter the 15-minute oil change guy up­sells me for new wLSHU EODGHs, DLU fiOWHUs and tire ro­ta­tions that I seem to need ev­ery 16 miles or so.

lb­vi­ously, The Blonde Ac­coun­tant and I shop dif­fer­ently for our cars. She likes to lease, I like to buy. There’s some­thing about not hav­ing a car pay­ment af­ter fivH yHDUs WKDW DSSHDOs WR PH. Paying off a car ac­tu­ally makes me feel like I’ve ac­com­plished some­thing. With leas­ing, one has a car pay­ment un­til the end of time.

We also have dif­fer­ent ex­pec­ta­tions for our cars. I don’t give a rat’s tail what color my car is, if it has leather seats or how many bells and whis­tles are on it. The only thing I care about is when I get in the car and turn the key, it starts up and then gets me to where I want to go.

In fact, I don’t much like the car-buy­ing ex­pe­ri­ence at all. There is noth­ing about it that is fun for me. It’s a chore and one that I try to have only ev­ery six years or so.

Back in the mid-1990s, I was driv­ing a small car. The kids were young, and one was still in a car seat. We were out­grow­ing the car as a fam­ily, and be­sides, it had a big crack in the wind­shield that I was too much of a cheap­skate to have fixHG. ,W’s HDsy WR EH D FKHDSsNDWH on a jour­nal­ist’s salary be­cause, well, we usu­ally have no other choice.

So we were on our way home from hansas City, Mo., to Spring­fiHOG, ,OO., DERuW D fivH-KRuU GULvH, af­ter hav­ing vis­ited friends one week­end. I had been eye­ing what was then a new Dodge In­trepid, which I thought was a cool-look­ing car, one of the only times I’ve ever even cared what a car looked like. And I was aware that just west of St. Louis on In­ter­state 70 was an area that was home to sev­eral car deal­er­ships.

, GHFLGHG WR sWRS DW WKH fiUsW Dodge deal­er­ship I saw, left the fam­ily in the car and the en­gine run­ning, and went in­side. I wDONHG uS WR WKH fiUsW sDOHsPDn I saw and said, “I want a brand new In­trepid, I don’t want to pay a penny more than A325 a month and I want to be out of here in two hours. If you can make that deal, I’ll shut the car off, bring the fam­ily in and buy a car. If not, I’ll go right to the dealer next door and make the same of­fer for what­ever car is com­pa­ra­ble to the In­trepid. And I’ll work my wDy GRwn WKH sWUHHW unWLO , finG the deal I want or run out of car deal­ers.”

To the sales­man’s credit, he said he could make that deal. Two hours later, I was driv­ing a brand new In­trepid home to Illi­nois. And in what I thought was a won­der­ful bit of show­man­ship by the deal­er­ship, my pay­ment wasn’t a penny over A325 a month. It was A324.99 a month. A penny un­der. Beau­ti­mous.

lb­vi­ously, that’s not the way The Blonde Ac­coun­tant shops for cars. In fact, she would have never got­ten the new car with­out a co­in­ci­den­tal se­ries of events.

The change oil light was on in her car, and she had lol­ly­gagged for a few weeks on tak­ing it in for the oil change, no doubt hop­ing that I would get fed up of look­ing at the lit­tle light on the dash­board and just take the car to be ser­viced my­self. Well that didn’t hap­pen. What did hap­pen was that one day last week the power went RuW DURunG nRRnWLPH DW KHU RI­fiFH build­ing in Spring House. With no prospect of get­ting the power re­stored any­time soon, her boss said she could work from home where there was elec­tric­ity.

ln the way home — and with the kids still in school — she de­cided to take the op­por­tu­nity to get the oil changed. While wait­ing for the ser­vice, she wan­dered over to the show­room and started nos­ing around the new cars. Her cur­rent lease wasn’t due to ex­pire un­til lcto­ber.

That’s when I started get­ting the text mes­sages on my phone.

“I am look­ing at cars. This is a PLsWDNH,” UHDG WKH fiUsW RnH, IROlowed in short or­der by: “duy says he doesn’t think it’s gonna work for me.” “lh, now he says I will be pleas­antly sur­prised.” “Holy (heart at­tack, Bat­man) I am get­ting a new car!” “I can’t be­lieve I am do­ing this!” “He will be happy to make you a deal, too.”

I’m sure he would. The bot­tom line: The Blonde Ac­coun­tant walked out with a new car, a new lease and a monthly car pay­ment that’s A40 lower a month than what she was paying.

Sheesh. lb­vi­ously, I have been go­ing about get­ting an oil change all wrong for years. I think I’m go­ing to have her take my car in next time it needs ser­vice.

Mike Morsch is ex­ec­u­tive ed­i­tor of Mont­gomery Me­dia and au­thor of the book, “aanc­ing in My rn­der­wear: The pound­track of My iife.” ee can be reached by call­ing 215-542-0200, ext. 415 or by email at msquared35@ya­hoo.com. This col­umn can also be found at www.mont­gomerynews.com.

Outta Left­field Mike Morsch

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