Desperately need some advice. Bear with me, the back=story is a bit of an auto-themed soap opera:
I’m still driving a 2007 Civic that was a college graduation gift. It isn’t flashy, just a 4-cylinder automatic, but I’ve kept up the maintenance and haven’t had a single problem with it for 90k miles. It’s clean, it’s reliable, and I love it. My husband on the other hand… I love him very much, he’s a hard worker and provides well, given difficult circumstances… but he doesn’t have the best track record with cars. He doesn’t wash them, he doesn’t maintain them, and his judgment is… not the best when it comes to buying them
In spite of my best efforts, I’ve been under-or-unemployed for the last few years and money is very, very tight. My mister manages keep us afloat thanks to his decent, recession-proof job. It’s a good job, but requires a lot of travel. When his 2003, 120k mile Scion xB had to be replaced, he thought to replace it with a used car we could buy outright since our credit isn’t great and we need a car payment like a hole in the head. That meant an old car with high mileage, so I thought we should go for something with a reputation for being dependable- a Honda, or maybe a Toyota- and have our trusty, honest mechanic check it out before purchase. That didn’t happen.
He decided to buy a 1994 Mustang from a Ford dealer for $5k: a 6-cylinder manual transmission with 89k miles. Now once upon a time I had a 1993 Ford Tempo that, in spite of religious maintenance, was a steaming pile of unreliable car. So I voiced my concerns about 90s era Fords. Hubby assured me he’d done the research and that 94 was a good year for Mustangs. It did have a clean Carfax. I decided to trust his judgement and hoped for the best.
This was eight weeks ago and the car has blown up three times. The first time, the dealer replaced the head gasket- covered by the warranty. It blew up again. Then the dealer replaced the engine- not covered by warranty- and replaced the worn clutch while they were at it- also not under warranty, but they did that repair at cost. We just got it back yesterday and it lasted two hours on the road and blew up again.
I was unenthusiastic about the purchase to begin with and after the second blow up, I wanted to eat the loss and get rid of the car. I told my husband, if this happens again, maybe we shouldn’t tow it to the dealer again (which is over an hour away, takes forever on repairs, doesn’t return calls promptly, and generally has given us terrible service). Maybe, I suggested, we should just eat the loss, junk it, and figure something else out. However, he did end up towing it back to the dealer. Then he called a lawyer- although he had called two lawyers after the second blow up and both told him he had no case.
Now, friends, excepting the few days the Mustang actually ran, he’s been using (and trashing) my Civic since the beginning of summer. Pre-Mustang, because his xB was unreliable and had no functional air conditioning. Post-Mustang, because the dealer took forever to complete each repair. Now I’m not unreasonable, he IS the breadwinner and has to work. I can smile through my teeth and wash my baby, clean the trash out of her, and do the maintenance on the weekends. Heck, I even suggested I use the “new” used car once he bought it, given how much more driving he has to do (which didn’t happen because he chose the Mustang because he wanted to drive it). But now I’m without wheels at all, 5-6 days a week. My city has no public transportation to speak of, so my life has effectively stopped. I can’t look for work, go to the grocery store, or even drive the kid back and forth to school. I’m about ready to fall out of my tree.
So what do I need here? First, tell me if the 94 Mustang was indeed any good. I know I’d feel much better if I knew if the purchase wasn’t as foolish as it initially seemed. Second, if someone is familiar with California law, do we have any kind of case, or is contacting an attorney a waste of time? Lastly, I’ve been looking into alternative ways to get a decent second car in the short-term. We need a relatively low monthly payment, have less-than-stellar credit, and not a lot to put down. I’m researching the possibility of taking over someone’s lease. I’m looking at LeaseTrader.com and Swapalease.com. Anybody have any experience with that, or know someone who has? Is it worth it?
Thanks and apologies to anyone that managed to get through this long post. I’m in a real pickle and open to suggestions.