Miata In The Beginning (7/2011)

So, here's the story.  For years I'd been thinking about buying a convertible, actually I kept telling my wife to get one cause she wasn't too keen on the motorcycle thing and she kept talking about wanting a trike.  I said there's no point, a trike doesn't handle like a motorcycle, you might as well get a convertible.  Guess I told her enough times that I actually started considering it.  In fact, this year was really the first year since I've been riding motorcycles that spring came and the bike excitement amounted to...  meh...  So, I started thinking it's time to move on.  The bikes were put up for sale and the research began. 

When it came to a convertible it looked like, bang for the buck, the Mazda MX-5 (unoficially, the Miata), didn't have much competition.  And, it's a consumer reports recommended best buy for overall satisfaction and reliability...  Ok, now how do I get to test drive one?  Well, the wife and I mozied over to a dealer in Oak Lawn, who let us drive one.  One thing for sure, the car is small...  my head is in the roof and my knees are in the dash.  I liked the car but I figured I needed to rent one for a few days and see if I could live with it.  So, I went online and filled out some information on the Mazda web site, looked around a bit at the vehicle specs, options, etc.. but didn't find anyone renting them.  Half hour later I get a call from The Autobarn Mazda in Countryside.  They noticed I was interested so they called.  I explained that I was looking to rent one and they said just come in and we'll give you one...  well, I'd like if for a couple days...  no problem they say...  they didn't have to ask me again.   Wife and I drive there and what's the guy got all ready to go...?  A band new 2011, with 5 miles on it... sign here... bring it back in a couple days... so after I was done pinching myself (it hurt), we drove off.

This car had it all.  Six speed manual, heated seats, leather, blah, blah, blah... By the time I brought it back two days later we had put over 250 miles on it.  That's what I call a test drive!  I handed the sales guy the keys.  He asked how I liked it and if I wanted to talk price.  I didn't really want to talk price and he was fine with that.  He did want me to meat the manager, which I did, and then we said thanks and bye.

I could definitely live with the car.  Was it tight?  Yes.  But the fun factor was way off the scale.  The car handles like a go cart... as Mazda says, Zoom-Zoom... There was only one problem with that 2011, it had all the bells and whistles and it was priced like it.  So, I needed to shop around and see what I could find.  I wasn't until several weeks later that the dealer got a 2008, with 31k miles on.  So, one thing lead to another.. and HELLO! Six speed manual, 6-CD changer, Zoom-Zoom.  Way fewer whistles, but basically the same car because there haven't been any major updates to the car since 2007 (the year they made them larger; good thing for me).

To back up a little, when I was first inspecting the car I found that the trunk had some moisture along the sides.  The excuse was that we had some heavy rain... Ya... how many cars have I owned (a bunch) and how many leaked (none).  So, as terms of the sale I said they had to fix the leak.  I got agreement from the manager in writing, and I was good to go.  For the time being I gave them the benefit of the doubt that maybe it was some sort of unusual circumstance.

When I got it home I started going over the car in detail and pulled out the trunk liner all together.  Well, it wasn't just some water along the upper area of the trunk.  The well had some paper in there that was totally soaked and there was actually a little surface rust staring in a few spots, so clearly it was a long term issue.  To make a really long story not so long:

This was a good thing, because it was Tuesday night when I pick up the car, and Wednesday morning I was leaving for vacation... in the car.  Ok, so I ask myself, should I do another leak test?  Would you?  The day before, when I brought the car back I left it partially apart so I could show them exactly where it was still leaking, and I told them to just fix it and leave it like I brought it to them.  So, yes, the leak zone was easy to see, so why not do a leak test...

@#@#^@#$&*(@#@$%@&*(*& !!!!!!  Yes, it still leaked...  At this point I got on the phone and gave the manager in charge several pieces of my mind.  To make another long story short, I brought the car back, told them I'm going on vacation in less than 12 hours, and I'm going in a Miata that doesn't leak, so they need to figure something out.  Bottom line is they gave me full credit on basically the same car with less miles on it, AND NO LEAKS!!!  I paid a bit more for it, but they also threw in a full bumper to bumper extended warranty for my trouble, gave me a better interest rate, so I drove away and went on vacation the next day. 

Oh, but that's not the end of that story... So, first day of vacation, my engine light comes on... At that point I'm thinking I don't care what's wrong with it, if it blows up, they're fixing it.  A few hours after that I actually get a call on my cell, it's one of the guys from the dealership, he said that there's a slight problem... Oh.. aha... Seems when the car went through inspection they found a defective oxygen sensor, so he wanted to inform me that my engine light may come on.  But the sensor was already ordered, so I just needed to bring the car in to have that replaced... Oh.. aha... 

Talk about a rocky start to car purchase.  The moral of the story... Don't buy a car with a crappy Carfax report, because the original car did have a crappy report.  Of course that's why it was a really good deal, so I gambled and it didn't pay off.  Couse at the time I bought it, they didn't have another car like it on the lot, so it cost me some grief but it worked out in the end. 

The kids and wife laugh about the night I called the dealership, and how they would have hated to be the guy on the other end of that phone.  I've laughed about the whole thing myself.  But it wasn't funny then...
















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