When I moved to the boondocks last September, I knew I would need a second car, to get to work and to pick up and drop off my progeny at daycare. I needed it in a big rush, and did the unthinkable: I bought it at a used car dealer. Not one of those fancy ones with almost new cars. A ‘classic’ used car dealership. All in all, I could have done a lot worse. I set my heart – and my budget – on a slightly-used 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier, with only 111,000 kilometers, or about 70,000 miles.
I paid under 2 grand for it, and since then, I’m happy to say that I have not had to put in a penny except for gas, an oil change and the obligatory winter tires, which I also bought used, or previously enjoyed. I’m a glass half-full kind of guy.
So far, my Cavalier has been exceptionally reliable. It has started every single time I turned the key, except for once when I left the headlights on all day, and has not given me any trouble. The only issue I’ve had was with the rear right drum brake, which started making an ear-splitting grinding noise, but that went away on its own after a few days, so I’m crossing my fingers.
I know, I know, I should have it looked at because it’s going to cost a lot more to fix in the future that it would now if I don’t take care of it. I know the drill, but it works great right now and I don’t want to jinx it by taking it in when its working. I may be jinxing it right now by talking about it.
My wife was not too crazy about me getting a standard car – read manual transmission – as she hates driving them and that means we could not switch cars. My reasoning behind getting it that way is that if I’m getting a crappy old car, there might as well be one fun thing about it that gets me excited to drive it, every single time, and that’s what does it for me.
In terms of gas consumption, it’s actually quite good. I haven’t done the exact gas mileage calculation, but I can tell you that it costs me about 9.5 to 13 cents per kilometer driven. Obviously the most expensive figure is for winter. The most I’ve driven on a tank is 591 kilometers, and the least, 477. I drive mostly highway, so that’s a good thing.
Overall, I must say I’m very happy with my 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier. It doesn’t have too much rust and the engine is torquey and fun to drive. The interior is appalling, however. It feels like a car much older than it is, and in a dire indication of things to come, the driver’s side floor is always wet. Can’t have everything!