Easiest way to change the oil is just to change the whole car
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 email@example.com. This column can also be found at www.montgomerynews.com.
Outta Leftfield Mike Morsch