Monday, December 28, 2009

Hyundai Santa Fe

I loved my Honda CR-V. I used to drive Chrissi around in it and every time she was with mommy and would see a vehicle with a tire on the back she would say, "Shannon's car." She new my little Honda. She associated it with me. I drove that car to my first date with Jay. That car took me back and forth from Santa Maria to Camarillo. I would drive Grandma to the mall in the car and drive it to concerts and to visit friends and family. So many wonderful memories were made with that vehicle.

But alas, all good things must come to an end. I bought a Honda because of their reputed reliability. Around a year and a half ago, we started having problems with the head. Jay did some research online (he is so good at that) and discovered that there is a known problem with the Honda CR-V from 1999-2001. I happened to have a 2000 model. Honda of Santa Maria worked with us on the problems and eventually, ended up removing the head due to warpage and having it machined down and then reinstalled it. We found it peculiar that they did not charge us any labor (somewhere in the neighborhood of $1200), but were grateful that we caught such a break and didn't have to pay for such an expensive repair.

Fast forward to our move to CO. We towed the car on a trailer behind Jay's Nissan Titan and the car was running just fine for a couple of months. On the day I went for my job interview, the car would not start. I had Kendall in the car and we were headed to go to the bank to make a deposit and the car would not start! I was sure it was the alternator or battery and after 4 attempts, the engine turned over. I am 100% convinced that God started my car that morning because it should not have started. I took Kendall to the bank and left the car running in the parking lot. I know this is a big no-no, but I could not risk being stranded without a car with a job interview in 2 hours. We prayed and the car was still outside the bank and still running. We drove home and left the car running in the garage. Don't worry, I left the garage door open...but still, not a good idea. I came out and the car was still running, so I drove to my interview. I turned off the car, had my interview, and the car would not start. I was about to call AAA when my soon-to-be new boss offered to jump start my car for me. There I am, all dressed up in a suit, with the company owner outside jump starting my car for me. Talk about making a lasting impression! I promptly drove to the Honda dealership in Colorado Springs and they tested the battery and sure enough, it was dead. They installed a new battery and within 30 minutes, I was on my way home.

Job interview #1 lead to interview #2, which lead to interview #3 and an offer. One week before I was to start my new job, my check engine light came on. Not only did it come on, but it was flashing. I don't know much about cars, but I knew this was not good. I called the Honda dealership and they said to have the car towed in - do NOT drive it! So, I called AAA and they towed the car in. After several conversations with Front Range Honda, we discovered that the head needed to be replaced. Jay talked to them at length and after retrieving our records from Honda in Santa Maria, they informed us that the heads on that model can never be machined. Once they are warped, they are no good and cannot be repaired. Nice to know now! They negotiated for a couple of weeks with Honda of Santa Maria, and were completely unsuccessful. Out of the kindness of their hearts (and with the knowledge of the power of word of mouth), they agreed to replace the head ($4200 repair) for $1000.

While we were waiting for a resolution on the Honda, we decided it was time to get some reliable transportation for me. The Honda had 134,000 miles on it and with a new job and a harsh winter ahead of us, we decided to get a new vehicle. We read some extensive reviews online and found that the Hyundai Santa Fe was the best value for us. Both consumer and expert reviews were stellar and the price and standard warranty made this vehicle a really good value.

We went ahead and purchased the Hyundai and decided to have the Honda repaired and put it up for sale on Craig's List. We sold it within a week with full disclosure. The young woman that purchased the vehicle took it to a mechanic to have it looked at and we told her all about the head and the known issues with that model. The new head is under warranty, as is the new battery and the new tires that were purchased before we left CA. We felt that we were able to sell the vehicle in good conscience and hope that she is very happy with it and that it is a good car for her.

We are THRILLED with the Santa Fe! I can't say enough good about it. It came with all kinds of bells and whistles (like a compass in the rear view mirror, outside temperature, lighted drink holders, lumbar support, stereo controls on the steering wheel) and handles fantastic in the snow. Driving in the snow is an entirely new experience for me and I feel extremely safe in my new ride. It has all wheel drive and I can also switch to manual shifting to slow down on icy patches without applying the breaks.

We were not ready to purchase a new vehicle, but I am glad things worked out the way they did.
Below are pictures of my new baby. They were taken on a snowy day...these days the sunny days are few and far between and the car is so dirty when the sun does show itself that these are the best photos I have to offer until Spring ;)

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