Thursday, July 03, 2003

Water, Water Everywhere

The car replacement project can wait no longer. So TS Bill passed/is passing through yesterday/last night/today and we've been getting on and off rain, none of it too heavy, but it is generally damp and icky. Since about last autumn, the car has had leaking problems, most of them associated with the sunroof. (Just as an aside of the four cars I've had in my life, three had sunroofs; every damn one of them ended up leaking at some point. I like the idea of sunroofs; I hate the leaking.) The worst used to be after a heavy rain there would be a half inch or so of water on the driver's side of the floor -- more a nuisance than a serious problem (okay, it is a serious problem, bad enough to make me grumble but not so bad to make me rush out and buy a new car). The other common problem would be a small stream of water that would leak out onto my head or shoulder when the car first moves.

This morning came the deluge. A good chunk of the roof, mostly on the driver's side, is damp to dripping and a good pint of water poured out onto me as we came up the hill from the house. Grrrrrrrrr ...

Okay, so maybe there will be good Fourth of July specials this weekend at the dealerships. The main problem is deciding which way to go: cheap used car, cheap new car, or something better like a new Honda Civic Hybrid or a used Civic. The one car of mine without a sunroof was a Honda Civic DX (bottom of the barrel with no extras besides air conditioning); if we go the Civic route again, Evelin would like power locks and I'd like a CD player, so a midline LX might be the way to go, but looking at the price ($16,000 or so), I start thinking we should spend the extra $5,000 or so and get the Hybrid version. At least half of that money would be returned through tax credits and I really want to encourage these companies to pursue HEV technology. The other thing is that if we look for a used Civic, we'll still end up spending $12,000 to $16,000 at Carmax, and at that price it might make sense to get a new one instead.

The other option is to look for a non-Civic used car (and at that point, I'm still not sure what to look for -- I want good to great gas mileage, decent handling, and a quieter ride) or maybe a new Kia -- the Spectra LS would be $13,750 or so; $1,000 more for the hatchback version.

I guess I'll be poking around at a few auto websites during lunch today ...

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