In the six years I lived on Maui, I bought and sold three cars and borrowed four cars in between. Had I known how difficult it was to find an affordable and reliable car, I would have kept my first car, a 1999 Toyota Tercel.
Without knowing anything about cars, I sold the silver surfer to save money on insurance and risk of roof leakage if parked for three months in rainy Haiku. I thought I could easily get another Maui cruiser when I returned after the first summer away.
When I returned to the island in August, I bought a new bicycle from Walmart and thought I could live without a car for awhile. My world shrank to the area between my second home and my office.
It’s hard to buy a car when you don’t have a car. I bought my second car without heeding advice. It smelled and looked clean and feminine, lavender-colored. I called it the “Purple Lemon Car” because it was such a scam. The wheels were of different sizes. Much later, I learned that some people enjoyed putting cars together out of scrap parts. No wonder there were so many cars parked in front of the owner’s home in Kahului. She had made up a story that she and her family were leaving town.
After putting a lot more money into fixing the lavender car than what I paid for it, which was far above the Blue Book value, I sold the Nissan Sentra and borrowed a colleague’s dark blue Acura, a new Volt, and a new Nissan LEAF for a while. As I couldn’t afford a new car much less lease an electric vehicle, my colleague sold his reconstructed shiny metallic blue Dodge Neon. He warned me that it was a temporary car, but I treated it as my final car. I wore out the battery from driving so little — less than 1,000 miles per year!
Had I bought the Miata I wanted in 2011, I probably wouldn’t have become such a damsel in distress. Thanks to AAA and UH Maui College auto shop who bailed me out on many occasions, I was able to function sporadically.
Moral of the story: get a new car that’s reliable, like the one above. Otherwise, be sure to become a member of AAA and sign up for the $35/hour rate at the college autoshop. There are so many stories about me and cars that I have to add a part two to this