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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

PC: Reality check: Your cars are valuable, treat them that way


In our high school, kids don’t seem to appreciate the things they are given, especially when it comes to cars. For those of you who don’t know, I drive the classic “mommy van”—a 1999 teal Toyota Sienna. It’s my mom’s, and if she needs it, I’m out of luck. But personally, I’m thankful I even get a vehicle to drive.

For the past two years I have been on an mission to find a car that isn’t meant for soccer moms to drive her two kids and all their friends around (my van fits seven, by the way).

Using my “sob story” about my peers getting BMWs and Mercedes didn’t get me anywhere with my parents. Not even a budge when I would come home with stories of that kid that crashed his Beamer and got a brand new one soon thereafter. Nothing.

Nevertheless, I was determined. I decided to try negotiation. “If I do this, can I get a car?” “What if I save up?” “I’ll take care of it, I promise!” Again, nothing.

One fateful day, it worked out that my brother purchased my step-grandfather’s 2001 Ford Ranger with only 30,000 miles on it for $5,000. That’s an incredible deal.

I decided to try to find a similar deal that could maybe convince the parental units to help out with payment-wise. But I had too much trouble and gave up.

A few weeks back, one of my friends told me how they were most likely getting a new car. I was distraught, even a little jealous. But, like friends should, when he found out I wasn’t getting a car, he became determined to help me.

After two weeks, we had put together a massive spreadsheet with around 40 cars we found on Craigslist. It included year, model, price, specifications, Kelly Blue Book price (a site that you can insert all a cars specifications and it’ll tell you its worth), eBay price, Consumer Report price and all the Consumer Report reviews. It was beyond epic.

All the cars were $8,000 or less. Most were from 2003 or older, had been in an accident or had more than 120,000 miles on it. Some even had salvage titles.

To put the miles into perspective, consider a car having a life of 100 years. Roughly 100,000 miles is about 50 years, or a half-life. After 100,000 miles, the car starts experiencing more technical and mechanical problems.

I had to face the facts: These cars were too unsafe to be driving for longer than a few months. Maybe my swagger wagon wasn’t so bad. It runs relatively well and the after-market speakers I had installed are wonderful. But then again, doing all this work showed my parents I was responsible and committed, so my dreams are still thriving and I guess we’ll just wait and see.

I know I’m not the only one wishing they had something to call their own or at least something meant for a teenager to be driving, not a mom. But for those of you who have the BMW’s and the Mercedes, consider the cost of it and how much value it truly holds. With such valuable vehicles, they should be handled responsibly or at least appreciated. Also, it makes all of us with the mommy-vans and other less-than-ideal cars cringe when we think how well we would have treated your now-crashed, or dented, Beamer.

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