...with an epilogue I'm sure I'll laugh about someday. Maybe.
I had my appointment to turn in my Elantra on Friday morning, to complete the buyback. Everything with that went well – even better than I expected. They did an inspection to make sure it didn't have anything beyond normal wear and tear (it didn't) and I had to sign about a zillion forms and then I was done.
So phase I went pretty well. Phase II was to buy a new Mazda 3. I had that all arranged with the dealer – they had the one I wanted (titanium silver, five-speed, hatchback) located at another dealer, and they went to get it Thursday night.
I found out, though, that the car they had gone to get had damage when they arrived at the other dealer, and they told the other dealer they didn't want it. Fortunately, the dealer did have one with the same specs in lighter silver (the other color I said I liked...obviously I like it since my last two cars have been that color). It also had a pinstripe, which was ugly. It seriously looked like somebody had taken a Sharpie and run it down the side of the car. Why mar that pretty little car like that? Fortunately pinstripe removal is easy enough (peel and rip, in case anyone was wondering).
The dealer suggested I take it for a quick drive, just to make sure everything was okay with the car. Turns out, everything wasn't okay. The check engine light was on, and I thought maybe it was just the gas cap. So I pulled into a parking lot and it was indeed loose, so I tightened it. Check engine light was still on.
I drove back from the dealer and refrained from screaming, "I JUST TURNED IN A LEMON AND THE CHECK ENGINE LIGHT IS ON OMG CAN I JUST CATCH A BREAK ON THE FREAKING CARS ALREADY!!!!"
Turns out the old gas-cap-check-engine thing is pretty common and the light needs to be reset by service. So we drop the car off there and go do all the paperwork.
I sign a zillion more forms. It's a wonder I didn't have a hand cramp. Also, I discovered in all of this that my signature scrawl doesn't really account for needing to sign my middle initial.
Back to service, and turns out that the gas cap code wasn't the only one that the computer (oh, I know SO MUCH about these computers now) stored. There is an air leak somewhere that is affecting the mix of air and gasoline, which the car can't run at its optimum self without. They found the source of the leak pretty quick, but getting the part to replace it was another issue.
I needed to get to work, but they got me a rental car (there is a rental car place right in the service bay, which makes so many oodles of sense I wonder why I haven't seen that before), so I drove that in to work. Didn't hear anything on the car that night, and I needed to drive up to Akron for Mother's Day on Saturday, so I stopped in first thing Saturday morning.
No luck on getting that most important combo of the part and somebody who could install it. So I was going to have to wait until Monday. But they said it was no problem to take the rental to Akron, so I made it home for Mother's Day, which was really my main concern. It's important to note that the dealer was absolutely stellar throughout all of this, which was....refreshing, to say the least.
They called Monday, and had the new part in, but they wanted to keep it overnight for tests. Like, they had a nurse check on it every hour or something. Hee. But the idea was that I should never have to bring it back in again. WHICH I AM ALL FOR.
So Tuesday afternoon, I finally went to go pick up my little 3.
SO WORTH THE WAIT. Even when I test drove it, this car really amazed me in that I got in and instantly felt comfortable. With everything — the pickup, the handling, the seat, the interior. There was absolutely no adjustment period. I thought I'd drive awhile without the radio just to concentrate, but within a couple minutes I was busting out new Red Hot Chili Peppers (how I managed to love-love-love the first two tracks and not give a crap about the rest of a double album is probably for another blog post that probably won't ever get posted) and rocking out, flipping lanes, cruising right along. The pickup is great, but it's the suspension that really gets me with this car. It handles amazingly well. That and the Mazda seats. Oh, how I missed Mazda seats.
So, yeah, it took a little while, but I finally got my awesome little car. And while yes, you ordinarily want to drive the car off the lot the day you buy it, the whole lemon thing has given me some perspective:
The car never put me in danger. I never had to sit on the side of the interstate while semis blew past and made the whole thing shake. I never had to beg anyone for a ride to work. No one ever said, "Well, unless we can recreate the problem..." They told me exactly what the problem was, and I didn't have to dig to find out what had been done to the car. The writeup was extremely detailed. They even had the exact error codes.
My old Mazda Protege had a problem within the first 30 days, too. Granted, it was the power window getting stuck, and I drove it off the lot the day it arrived. But I know that these things happen. The difference between the Protege and the Elantra is that the Protege was nearly perfect after that. To the point where in the midst of all the problems with the Hyundai, I was kicking myself for ever giving that Protege up.
And that's why I'm glad to be back with Mazda. There's something to be said for brand loyalty.
And/or Japanese car companies whose names end with "a".
I'm really amazed that this all happened, and worked out the way it did. The people at the dealership got a big kick out of doing the paperwork and informing they have to do for Lemon Law. Like when you have to sign a form saying you're aware of it. Uh, yeah, I'm aware of it. Heh. But while I'm sure I signed that when I bought the Elantra, I never thought that it (buying a lemon) was something that would happen to me. Even now, I think of the Hyundai and go, "did that really happen?"
But now it's finally over. And yes, when I drove that 3 in to work, I used whatever damn lane I wanted. I'm thinking about maybe driving it over the Brent Spence Bridge, just for kicks.
Maybe not. Nobody drives the Brent Spence for kicks.