By on December 3, 2009

Let the rampage begin! (courtesy:newcarsales.org)

I’m not the ‘new’ guy at TTAC. When someone starts talking to me about their 2010 C-Class or A8, my instinct is to find some darts, get a beer, and ignore the conversation. Most new cars really take the fun out of driving, and they cost way too much compared with almost everything else on the road. But there is one time during the year where ‘new’ makes me smile. That would be Black Friday. Here’s what I got.

Two well reviewed tires for Mom. Cost? $110. Tires Plus had a $100 deduct if you spent $200 or more and my purchase barely tipped over that threshold. They were ‘quiet’ tires and given that my mom now drives a novacaine inspired Camry 3000 miles a year in West Palm Beach, it was the right buy at the right price. Then there was a 10′ x 20′ car canopy that I got for $50. This is right along a Craigslist price level, which is what I really use to compare all my ‘nice to have’ purchases. That I got from Pep Boys along with a nice line of extra ‘supplies’.

Champion Platinum Spark Plugs were $1.49 for 16. I bought all 16. The trick for a car guy is to buy what you drive at the moment. If you end up buying something else during the year, then just exchange the parts for those that serve your new ride. 4 gallons of antifreeze were $2.98 each, which is absolutely perfect for the de-clunkered and rarely driven Jersey Lincoln that will need an extra couple of flushes between now and weekend driving. Then of course are the brakes.

Pep Boys screwed up on this one. The add mentioned the brand instead of the type. This enabled me to get the high end OEM equivalents instead of the ‘Value’ brand for $10.99. Bought two of those. A chintzy $10 tool set for any potential car issues, a jumper box for $13, and a $9 tire repair kit from Northern Tool pretty much eliminated the need for AAA or calling the shop for a tow. Oh, I also found out that Pep Boys will now tow within a 20 mile radius for $40 which is a pretty neat service for those who don’t have their own hauler.

Finally there was motor oil. 5 quarts of Castrol and a Puralator filter for $4.99. I got two of those. What surprises me this year is that the ‘cheap’ tires are no longer. The $12.99 deal I saw on the 40k mile tires is now $27. Tack that one up to a trade-war and the dollar’s devaluation. All told my purchases were less than $250. It’s not nearly as good as 2007 when I got $300 worth of auto stuff at O’Reilly’s for the cost of taxes and stamps. But for those car nuts that are also frugal zealots, a good Black Friday is always a festive occasion.

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8 Comments on “Hammer Time: Black Friday...”


  • avatar
    jkross22

    Most new cars really take the fun out of driving, and they cost way too much compared with almost everything else on the road.

    AMEN! 

     
    Even with additional upkeep and reconditioning, you just get a lot more used.

  • avatar
    educatordan

    Can I hear another AMEN, brothers and sisters!

    AMEN! 

    You’ll have to forgive me, I’ve never owned a new car.  And the used stuff is much more interesting, even with the headaches and not being in warranty.  I really love used cars that are rare, not becuase the manufacturer intended it that way but because it was an unloved body style or an unloved engine/transmission/options combo, those are usually dirt cheap.  (I’m looking at you Cutlass Salon slantback sedan.) 

  • avatar
    86er

    As one “cheapskate” to another, let me just say, good on you, you frugal bastard!

  • avatar
    obbop

    On the other foot…
    When low price is not the sole objective, such as when product longevity and quality and a burning lust for safety trickles into one’s thought processes, different parameters guide one’s buying behaviors.
    Yes, it is exhilarating to attain a giddy-with-glee sense of purchasing Nirvana when accumulating massive amounts of goodies for minimal money.
    But credence must compel one to spend more than the absolute minimum necessary at times; such as when I, the Old Disgruntled One, acquired a new hydraulic bottle jack that would be used to defy gravity at one corner of four (or possibly  two of four) of a 5,280 pound minimum-weight pick-up truck.  More if loaded with more goods then when weighed upon the semi-truck scale.
    The possibility of catastrophic failure causing a quick collapse and damage to the vehicle nullified any desire for an inexpensive lifting device.
    For forty bucks more than the Made-in-China offering the Made-in-the-USA device was obviously of superior quality and whispered gentle hints of a lengthy useful life via the use of superior materials, design, engineering, materials and assembly.
    I would also not be shocked if that USA-made jack is operating 50 to 100 years from now with possibly the only care required is the replacement of a flexible o-ring of a common size that should be available for pert-near forever.
    Admittedly, if the vehicle to be vertically lofted was a light-weight econo-car of 2,500 pounds then an el cheapo China-slopped-together hunk of future rust at minimal cost would likely be adequate.
    Unless the jack from Mao-land is akin to the typical China-made zipper wherein the garment is barely broke in when the zipper fails early.
    Cruddy zippers. The bane of our times.
    Carry on.

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    Those of us who stick to the older stuff have the benefit of hindsight and of the rest of the world test-driving everything automotive for years just for our benefit.  We know exactly what we are getting.  In 1996, a Windstar probably looked like a lot better value than a 4 cyl Odyssey.  Now we all know better. 

    Steven, I admire your chase of the deal.  

  • avatar
    ajla

    Most new cars really take the fun out of driving, and they cost way too much compared with almost everything else on the road.

     
    Just today I was thinking about how the G8 is the dullest vehicle I’ve ever owned.  I got the old Diplomat around the same time, and I find myself much more enamored by the Mopar than the newer, vastly superior Pontiac.  I’m also often finding myself missing the Grand Prix GTP I traded in.  I don’t think I’ll be buying anymore new cars.

  • avatar
    davey49

    Why didn’t you buy 4 tires for mom?

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Mom only needed two. The other two were Michelins with plenty of tread.
    Points well served. But it’s really not a matter of being ‘cheap’.
    There are things that don’t really contribute much at all to my daily life. If I can reduce or eliminate that cost… great!
    If a motor oil passes API standards, I really don’t care about anything but the price. I do upgrade the filters with substitutes that usually add a dollar or two to the sales price. To me that’s worth it.
    A good brand spark plug sold at a loss? I’m in!
    A battery jumper that will be used infrequently? Fine by me. Add that to my usual emergency kit and I’m good for all the unusual issues I can get when picking up vehicles at the auctions.
    I’m the type of guy who puts the repair costs of a vehicle at the back of the loan with no interest, and then gets two to three new customers as a result of it.
    The goal isn’t to be ‘cheap’. It’s to be helpful, nice, and smart. I only go retail if I have no choice and the price makes it an easy decision.
    Otherwise I go to the Internet.


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