Wednesday, March 12, 2008

2003 Vibe

I bought the 2003 Vibe, used, from a young German couple who had recently moved to this country. They needed cash to finance a fledgling business and I needed a car. "Gretchen," petite and perky with a seductive smile, greeted me when we arrived to inspect the car. "Carl," her fiance, was away on business, she said. I took it for a test a drive and noticed a couple of things: The car pulled left when breaking, there was a vibration in the steering wheel, the air conditioning got warmer when the car came to a stop. Little things I knew could be corrected, especially since the Vibe's warranty followed whoever held the title.

Except for one little blip in the fine print.

I made an appointment at the local Pontiac dealer to have the early problems looked into. About an hour after I dropped it off, the head mechanic came looking for me and asked me what color title I had. I told him it was orange and he told me that meant the car had been salvaged.

I turned several shades of a primary color that, when mixed with yellow, became orange. I told the mechanic I had asked my wife if the state was issuing new titles when I first got it in the mail. No one I asked had ever dealt with a salvaged car. To everyone concerned, it was a new look for a new millennium. Unfortunately, it was an old method of issuing a title for a car that had seen better days.

So instead of having a creased AC coil and the wheels balanced for free, it was going to cost me. I drove it away from the dealer and took it to a local mechanic who I knew to be fair on price and trustworthy on service. I told him the story and he of coursed, squinted his right eye, cocked his head, clicked his tongue off the roof of his mouth, and laughed.

Reluctant to confront the heavy accented couple because I was never clear on what the business was they were attempting to run, and still in need of a car, I kept the Vibe. I liked the way it smelled inside it, at first deluding myself it was the linger scent of Gretchen's perfume; I discovered later it was an air freshener from a spritz bottle. Anyhow, Vibe's do get great mileage. I've kept a running journal of it since I first got the car. I will soon be posting the entries from it. I will also be sharing the further adventures of the Aught-Three Vibe.

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