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Wolfville, Nova Scotia


Time For a New Car

Chris Campbell

The Car Before the TripIt's funny how things all seem to happen with impeccable timing. Yesterday while driving home a deer ran across the highway in front of me and I slammed on the brakes to slow down and the deer just made it across. But when I started accelerating the car felt sluggish and then the "check engine" light came on as well as the overheating warning. Luckily I was close to a gas station, so I pulled over, checked the oil on the coolant, and then went home. The car was still sluggish and I had a regular checkup and motor vehicle inspection scheduled for this morning, so I knew that someone would be looking at the car this morning.
The car is a 2001 Toyota Echo, which we started leasing 8 years ago (I thought it was less than that, but the model years don't always reflect the calendar years), and now it has over 400,000 kms on it, so it's both the years and the miles. There is a REJECTED sticker on the car as it needs some repairs to the exhaust system and one of the cylinders is misfiring (so it's a bit louder and feels like it's going to stall when the car is idling). Luckily there are some more temporary repairs that can be done to get the car through a few more months, but it's probably the last bit of money that I'll put into the Echo.
A lot has changed over the past few years, and the most remarkable thing is how many things that I was able to quickly figure out today without going into a dealership. With anything that I get, from a camera, to a phone, software, gadgets, food or even a car, I usually will research it. Eight years ago in researching the Echo and then test-driving it, I knew that I loved the design which was built from the inside out. It's been a reliable car, so I'm going to stick with Toyota.
What I'll probably end up with is a Yaris Hatchback, which has a similar design as the Echo, and great fuel economy. I'd love to get a hybrid, but the cost difference isn't worth it. If I lived in a more progressive province I could get a $5000 tax credit for buying a hybrid, but I should be able to get a $1000 federal incentive for buying a more fuel-efficient vehicle. The great thing about the car manufacturer web sites now is that it's quite easy to see the options, configure vehicles and check the pricing. You can find out what people think of their cars and be very prepared before you even walk in. I was hoping to get through the summer since I have less than two weeks before my summer vacation starts, but now it looks as though a new car is in the immediate future.