Tuesday Stuff

Being Cavalier About It

See GD’s new car?

Blake's New Car

It’s a 1999 Chevy Cavalier and as you can see, the body is in pretty good shape. It runs pretty good – Kevin drove it to work today and said it did really well on the highway. It needs to be aligned and the back defroster doesn’t work (we can worry about that in the Fall) but other than that, it seems to be pretty solid.

After we picked it up last night, the guys ran it through a car wash, so the exterior looks pretty good, but it’s filthy on the inside. I’m going to give it a good inside washing later this week. The interior smells a bit like smoke and GD says he LIKES the smell – Hhmm … a little worried about that. 🙂 But I’m sure it’s nothing that a little Febreeze can’t fix.

Posing with Pa-pa

My father-in-law dropped by to pick up some tax forms that Kevin worked up for him and he left some high-duty car wax with us, so Kevin and GD are going to give it a good wax job this weekend. Kevin also showed GD how to check the oil and other things concerning the motor last night.

The previous owners replaced the brake drums in the back, but didn’t paint them, so they are rusted and nasty looking right now, the guys are also going to paint those this weekend, too.

GD and I took it for a short drive.

Excited to Take it Out for First Time

He was excited to drive it and he drove MUCH better this go-around. He was a lot more confident and his turning was much smoother this time around. I was amazed at the change in his attitude. He was fired up. And this car really seems to suit him – he loves it.

He’s been bitten by the driving bug.

God help us.

It has a moonroof. Here he is gloating at me because I just told him I was jealous.

Gloating through Moonroof

And I am. The stinker.

We teased him quite a bit about the moonroof.

“Think how romantic that will be when you’re on a date and you guys can sit back and admire the stars while holding hands.”

*snicker* We love teasing him about girls because he gets so embarrassed.

We do wish we had asked a few more questions initially though. For instance, we should have asked to take a look at the title so we could get the VIN number and look up the vehicle’s history on Carfax. (You may have to pay a small fee in order to see the full report on Carfax, but if you’re serious about buying the car, it’s a good idea to invest that money and take a look.)

After we got home and started looking at the title, we noticed two things:

— there’s an odometer discrepancy and
— there are beneficiaries

We put in the vehicle identification number at Carfax and it appears there’s an odometer discrepancy. The mileage is not it’s true mileage – and right now, it’s showing about 95,000 miles. This discrepancy could be one of two reasons: either it’s been tampered with, or it’s a vehicle with a 5 digit odometer and can’t accurately track mileage over 99,999.

So … we don’t really know. We’re hoping the mileage is not ACTUALLY 195,000 miles, but it’s sort of too late – we paid cash for the car, it’s our problem now.

But we’re not overly worried. It’s a Chevy, and Cavaliers are pretty common which means we shouldn’t have any problem getting parts for it and they should be fairly cheap to buy (this is always a factor whenever we buy a car – foreign cars are great, but if they break down, just HOW much is it going to cost in parts and labor? For example: one of my nephews used to drive a Jetta, which gave him problems all the time. And it cost him an insane amount of money to get it fixed each time. He finally traded it in because it was such a money pit).

Kevin is also pretty good with cars and in fact, enjoys working on them, so it’s likely he’ll be able to do most of any work that needs to be done on it.

Still though, it’s disappointing that the previous owners didn’t bring the odometer discrepancy to our attention. We certainly would, and will, when it comes time to sell this car. (I just hope it doesn’t hinder us from selling it). But ultimately, it’s our fault for not checking into things a bit more thoroughly before handing over the money and signing the Bill of Sale.

Though both sellers on the title signed off the title, there are some beneficiaries. I’m hoping this just means she put the car in her children’s names or something and doesn’t mean they have to sign the title. I don’t think it’ll be a problem, but again, we should have saved our star-struck enthusiasm for after we bought the car and asked a few more questions before proceeding with the transaction.

Learn from our mistakes, people.

Save for these little hiccups, we’re happy with the car and we certainly didn’t expect it to be perfect – it’s 10-years old, after all. We’ll deal with any problems that come up.

Now GD has plenty of time to get used to his car before taking his driver’s test. The procedures have changed since I was a teenager. He has to practice a minimum of six months and have logged in at least 40 hours of drive time (yes, we’re keeping a log). This INCLUDES 10 hours of night driving – I’m NOT looking forward to that. But that will be the last thing we attempt so he’ll be pretty confident by then.

I hope.

He can only have a licensed driver, over 21, in the car with him. This means little brother can not ride with him. GD wanted MK to ride along last night, but I said no, it wasn’t allowed and I didn’t want him to be distracted by MK. (Not to mention, he’s just not ready to have passengers yet, anyway).

So, six months from his permit issue date is September 25th. This means he should have his Intermediate license before his 17th birthday.

(I know this is probably boring for some of you, but just wait, driving becomes a BIG DEAL later. Especially with your first!)

After he passes his driver’s test, then he’ll receive an Intermediate license. This just means he can drive, but there are restrictions.

Such as:

— During the first six months, he can’t have more than one passenger, under 19-years old and who is not a member of the immediate family.

No problem with that. In fact, we’ve already told him that he is not allowed to have ANY passengers in the car with him until he’s had one solid year of driving experience under his belt.

— He can’t drive alone between 1:00 and 5:00 in the morning unless it’s to and from a school activity, a job, or an emergency.

No worries there. He shouldn’t be out at that time of night, anyway.

Then, when he turns 21 18, all he has to do is take another vision test and he can apply for a full license.

I’m really glad to see there are steps and restrictions on our young drivers, nowadays. It doesn’t seem like it was nearly this stringent when I was a kid and honestly, it needs to be. I sometimes think kids under 18 are too young to drive to begin with. But I suppose it depends on the kid.

The plan, as of now, is not to let him drive to school after he gets his license. We have a couple of reasons for that:

1. His high school is land-locked. So this means, not only is there a lot of traffic when coming and going to school, but that there isn’t a lot of room to maneuver: it’s like threading a needle sometimes and it’s nerve-wracking for me, I can’t imagine how GD would handle it.

And to top it off, his peers take risks and show off in front of each other so we’ve witnessed quite a few fender benders in just the two years he’s been going there. GD sees all of this and has told me he has no desire to drive in the middle of that. He might change his mind later, as he matures, and when that happens, we’ll re-evaluate the pros and cons of driving himself to school.

2. I don’t want to give him the opportunity to skip school. I’m not saying GD would ever do that, but it would be tempting. I should know, because I got myself into trouble, several times, for skipping school when I started driving. This way, I know he’s there and I don’t have to worry about him.

I wish ya’ll could have seen the way GD acted last night. He walked straighter, his shoulders were back, his head was held high and he just talked … differently. He took an active interest in his car and actually looked interested in what his dad was telling him about the car. We’ve turned a corner in GD’s life – he’s not a boy anymore, he’s a man.

And he’s embracing a man’s responsibility.

I’m suddenly finding it hard to breathe.


Heads or Tails is hosted by Barb a.k.a. Skittles. Thanks Barb!

This week’s prompt: Heads – See

3 thoughts on “Being Cavalier About It”

  1. Nice – looks like fun – it’s wonderful that he’s going to take to learning about cars. I cannot imagine letting a kid drive to school. I live near a couple of schools and it’s a scary thing to see the mix of testosterone and horsepower. Seems like kids take any opportunity to slip out for a couple of ‘short runs’. LOL I must be older than I thought.

  2. Oh this post made me remember when my oldest first learned to drive and got his license. Of course my other kids went through the same thing, but somehow the first makes more of an impact. I can still picture in my mind the first time he drove off alone. How I don’t know if I was more scared or proud.

    Your son looks good in the car. It really does suit him. Yay for buying American, too.

    Mileage is more important in trade in value I think. As long as the car has been well maintained, it should be ok. 🙂

  3. I think it makes sense that with the encouragement of a car that is HIS and a car that he loves because he chose it for himself, that his enthusiasm to drive would suddenly perk up – and that’s a good thing – it means he’ll WANT to practice more and in turn will become a better driver. Awesome.

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