If you’re a woman, you are freaked out whenever something car-related happens in your life. If your car needs repairs because you’re hearing a weird noise every time you accelerate, then you get freaked out. If your lease is up, like mine was this past December, you freak out. Why? Because women routinely get taken advantage of by car mechanics or car salespeople. It’s a given if you’re a woman.
When I turned 16, my dad always made me call the car mechanic on my own if something was going wrong with my car. I was so scared at first, but I got used to it. I remember being in college and I took my car in for repairs. The car mechanic told me the cost would be $450. I called another car mechanic to confirm the price and they said it would only be $150 and the other place was lying to me. I called the original place back and confronted them and made them tow my car to the honest place. That felt good.
The Place that Lied to Me
So, I’m already freaked out this past year when the lease to my Rav 4 would be up soon. I tried to take advantage of the deals my Toyota dealership was offering first. I went in and spent over two hours looking at different vehicles and running numbers. I was only paying $290 on my lease of a Rav 4. The salesman said I could buy a new Corolla for $370 per month. That seemed high. I was paying almost $100 less on an SUV. I told them that. They came back with a better price: $340 a month. Still not a good deal. They didn’t tell me about the warranty and they said gap insurance would cost an additional $25 a month. Gap insurance is a good idea because if you total the car when it’s fairly new, the insurance won’t pay you the amount you still owe on the car loan. They’ll only cover the cost of the vehicle. Gap insurance will bridge that gap. I learned this the hard way one time, so I wanted the gap insurance. That day I just didn’t feel good about the “deals” Toyota was offering me. I ended up walking out. They wouldn’t get my business even though I have owned a Toyota since I was 16. They screwed up. They didn’t treat this woman with respect. I decided to go home and do a little research.
What I Found Out
I called my bank first and told them the price of the Corolla. How much would they quote me per month for a loan on this vehicle. They quoted me about $60 a month less than Toyota quoted me.
Then I called my auto insurance company and asked about gap insurance. They would give it to me for $75 a year. Total Saving: $225 a year. It pays to do a little homework.
The Place that was Honest with Me
Then I started researching cars. I found that 2019 Volkswagons have six year warranties. They also sold Jettas with leather seats and a cold weather package (heated seats and remote start…so essential in cold climates like mine). I wanted an SUV for the all wheel drive I needed on harsh winter days, but I couldn’t afford one. I went into the Volkswagon dealership and asked a lot of questions. I test drove the Jetta and liked it. When I asked about the loan, I said I wanted to finance through my bank. The sales guy said to finance through them first to get all the incentives (the car was marked $5000 down that week), and then refinance through my bank the next day to get the better interest rate. The sales guy told me that trick, instantly earning my trust. He also had the exact vehicle I wanted on the lot. It was August and my lease didn’t run out until December, so I was worried about having to pay two car payments for a few months. (But if I waited until December, the deal wouldn’t be as good and the 2019 would be gone. The 2020 models only had a three year warranty.) Volkswagon told me that if I refinance with my bank, that they might be able to start my first payment in November (they did), so I’d only have to make two car payments for one month. Also a great tip. I ended up signing the papers that day. My gut told me to trust the guy. He was giving me all kinds of tips and tricks. And I felt good about it.
Getting Back at Toyota
After I bought the car, I thought Toyota might want to buy my Rav 4 from me early because I wouldn’t be needing it. They could then sell it earlier when it was worth more. However, they told me they didn’t want my Rav early because I had hit a deer a year prior and the car wasn’t worth as much to them. So, what did I do? I drove my Rav from August until December, putting as many miles on it as I could and turning it in just 300 miles under my limit. I sort of did it to get back at Toyota. Don’t want my car back? I’ll just put more miles on it! Here’s a pic of my speedometer just before I turned it in:
I was able to park my Jetta in my garage for four months without driving it. I’m sort of disciplined like that. But I saved my Jetta some miles in the process. I had paid for the miles on the Rav anyway. Might as well use them.
I hope my story helps other women buy cars on their own. Take some of the lessons I learned and do some research on your own as well. I bought my Jetta all by myself. I walked out on the guys that lied to me. And I got a great deal and a pretty sweet vehicle. I’m now a Jetta girl. Take a look: