Adventures in car buying, part 2

All right, so previously we left off with about 30 red flags as I purchased the car. And then with my car just sitting dead outside my apartment. And well, that’s sort of where it’s been since.

Lancer buried in snow

I tried fiddling around with it, but the battery refused to hold a charge, so there really wasn’t much I could do with it. Not to mention that I’d need a shovel to get to it. Tried getting my brother out a few times, but with the -25° windchill, wasn’t really worth having him come out. The one thing I actually could do, was fix the knob for the climate control. Found it in one of the compartments, broken in half. A little bit of superglue and it was all set to go.

Lancer dash

Now that it’s spring break, and a bit warmer, my brother finally agreed to come out and take a look at it. If you’ll remember, initially, when I was getting it home, we were sort of thinking that it might be the alternator. Battery just wouldn’t recharge. So I did what I could do, which was go online and look up every video possible about alternators.* Engine was a “no crank, no start” sort of thing, so a bad alternator was making sense. But ever since I got it, I was hoping it was something maybe a little simpler. When my brother finally came out, we tested the battery. It was barely registering a single volt — which is a bad thing. My brother hooked up his portable jumper (I’m sure this has a legit name, but whatevs), and we get the car started. It was struggling.

Lancer battery

My brother pops the old battery out, we take it to the auto shop. I tell the guy behind the counter what sort of car I have and as he’s typing away on the computer, we come to find out that it’s not even the right type of car battery for my make and model. Given all the other red flags from where I bought it, I’m really not surprised. We decided to go with the top tier battery solely because it’s not a huge price difference and it gives me a 3-year free replacement. I go to grab the battery from the counter and everyone (myself included) laughs. It completely makes since that these things are heavy, but yeah, attempted to grab it like it was nothing. My brother, however, was able to do just that.

We get home, put in the new, proper battery… and the car starts right up no problem. I’m trying to check it each time, but my brother’s not worried about it. And so now I’ve got a car that runs. Still need to put the new tires on, but it runs. Only… I can’t drive it anywhere.

Before all this went down, I headed over to the BMV to get the registration taken care of and get the temporary plates put on. Well, turns out there was an issue. Not, you know, “stolen car” huge, but still, nothing small. Apparently there’s still a lien on the car from the previous owner. I can’t register the car in my name until the person I bought it from takes care of that. And, frankly, he legally shouldn’t have been able to sell the car with the lien on it. Was hoping to get that cleared up on Saturday, even made arrangements with them and my brother… but the guy wasn’t there. Claims he was there earlier and waited for us… not sure how true that was. But yeah. Still gotta wait to figure out a ride to get this all taken care of.

Major lessons learned: if a place seems sketchy, it probably is. If I can get this title issue taken care of, now that it’s running, it seems like I might have a good little car on my hands. If not, I get my brother to help me make it right. (I may or may not have started marathoning Sons of Anarchy again for the 3rd or 4th time.)

Anyway. Stay tuned for part 3, in which I hope we get our happy ending.

*I highly recommend that site for anyone’s who is looking to learn a bit more about their car, or just cars in general. He knows what he’s talking about, makes it accessible, and doesn’t seem like a complete douche.

Edit: So the guy said Monday (today) would work for him to sort this out, but when I called he meant during the work day which obviously doesn’t work for me given that 1) I have class, and 2) my ride — aka my mom — has work. He claims Wednesday will work for him in the early evening/late afternoon that works for us… but we’ll see. If he flakes, then you’ll be seeing posts on adventures in lawsuits.