Tips, Tricks & Trends

If You’re Still Buying a Car Like This Get Ready for Misery

People say the darndest things. They often mean it at the point in time that they say it. But, for most people, after cooling off, they eventually relent on their position and think more constructively through it. For example, a statement like this is what I’m talking about, “I’m not going to buy anything from (insert manufacturer) because I had one of their cars before, and it was awful.” The same could be said for the other side of the argument, “I’m only going to buy this brand because that is all I’ve had.” If you are car shopping for vehicles like this, please stop. Otherwise, you could be headed for misery.

There are no perfect manufacturers

The 2021 Honda Accord is the brand's midsize sedan.
2021 Honda Accord | Honda

Let me explain. There isn’t a manufacturer on Earth that holds a perfect record. Most just cycle through good quality times and less-than-good quality times. If you decide you’re going to only go car shopping for Hondas because that is all you’ve had and they are the cat’s meow to you, then be grateful for the good ones you’ve had. But, sooner or later something related to a Honda is going to let you down.

Please understand that I’m not spreading hate on Honda. It could be any manufacturer. What I’m saying is that sooner or later there is going to be a surprise that is going to cost you more money or hassle than the ownership experience is worth. For example, if the value of Japanese currency were to change to an exorbitant amount per US dollar, then it will cost you more for that same Honda than a comparable Dodge or Ford. Another example is those people who purchased Hyundais when they first arrived in the US. The quality of those cars was not the greatest. So, there were many who said they would never go car shopping for a Hyundai. Fast forward to 2020, however, and Hyundai’s quality and product offering are putting other manufacturers to shame.

What am I saying about car shopping?

What am I saying about car shopping? I’m saying use today’s research for today’s purchase. Set aside biases and really dive into what you want and what you expect. Find two or three possibilities that meet what you want and then check the research to decide if they will provide you the quality, features, or performance you need. Do not use research from an older generation of the same vehicle. Don’t use personal biases. Don’t use family tradition. Use the facts generate from as close to today as possible. To do otherwise is to set yourself up for passing up on a good deal or perpetuating a bias for a brand that could be going through a downward quality slump at the time.

To discount an entire model line because they are made by a particular manufacturer for the rest of your life is like refusing Kraft because you once had a bad bowl of macaroni and cheese from the place down the street. Kraft is involved in making a lot more than macaroni and cheese. I think the expression is, throwing out the baby with the bathwater. As an aside, I love Kraft Mac and Cheese and have never thrown a baby anywhere.

Get ready for misery?

A computer screen shows a Lamborghini at an online auction website
A computer screen shows a Lamborghini available on an online shopping website | Photo by Simon Song / South China Morning Post via Getty Images

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Get ready for misery? Yup, If you’re still buying cars this way, you’re in for a surprise. Sooner or later, your favorite manufacturer is going to misstep. It happens. And, your hero bias will come crashing down. Some people even feel betrayed when this happens because they were proponents of the brand to all their friends. Yet, here it is, the brand has lost its luster for whatever reason. It’s a miserable feeling when this happens. Trust me. I’ve been there. It was part of me growing up to understand that car shopping must be done with an open mind and the newest research possible. I’ve also been on the other end of the spectrum that said I would never buy this other brand because of x,y, or z. But, I wouldn’t mind sitting in a new one today.

My encouragement to you is this, shop without bias, shop with research, and enjoy the drive. New cars today are made much better in quality than 10 or 15 years ago. They also come with decent warranties. So, choose wisely, put the seatbelt on, crank up the tunes, and roll out.

In the meantime, if somebody gives you a car that you hate for a multitude of reasons, be grateful they thought of you, and then drive the snot out of it. It’s a gift. Enjoy flogging it! Who knows, maybe it will surprise you and bring your biases down. Maybe you’ll even go car shopping for another one when you’re done.