Saturday, July 18, 2015

First Car

17 July 2015: Sarah and Chris hand over the keys.

Yesterday, Dylan got his first car! Yes, it's a hand-me-down and, yes, it needs a lot of work, but--hey-- it's transportation and it's his!

This 1996 Buick Century belonged to my second husband, Ed, but he gave it to Sarah and Chris as a wedding gift when they got married in July 2011 (almost exactly four years ago!). For three and a half years it provided semi-reliable transportation for them, but they decided it was finally time for a newer, more dependable vehicle in February, when they bought their 2008 Jeep Liberty Sport.

Then they parked the old Buick and de-insured it, and there it has sat in their yard for the past five months, collecting pine needles and cobwebs.

Chris removes their old license plate and installs Dylan's new one.

Fast forward to July 2015. I have four people living in my home, all with jobs on differing schedules, and only one car. Right now that's doable because I'm on summer break, so I'm available to drive everyone all over as needed. That all comes to a screeching halt on Wednesday, July 29, when school starts and both Dylan and I (the only licensed drivers of the four of us) will be locked in the classroom from 7:30 to 3:30 five days a week (four days, for Dylan). 

We needed a transportation solution, and fast!

I think Diego was happy to see Dylan. He knocked him over!

So Sarah and Chris agreed to sell the old Buick to Dylan for $100, and on Friday we spent an hour transferring the title from them to Dylan at the Motor Vehicle Division (that's right, in every other state it's the DMV, but Arizona has to be different and call it the MVD. We're such mavericks!). The good news was it only cost Dylan $20 for the title and registration. That's one way in which old cars are nice: cheap registration fees.

While $100 is a good deal for a car that runs (and the engine really is in great shape with just 114,000 miles in 19 years), Dylan will face more expenses sooner rather than later. The Buick needs new tires and a new battery. Also, the driver-side door won't open, so you have to slide across the bench seat from the passenger side; the front passenger door won't open from inside, so to get out of the car you must lower the window to reach the outer handle; and the driver seat leans back a bit wonky. Luckily, Dylan is young and flexible, and he has put away $900 since he started working (as well as paying his own insurance).

Dylan gets behind the wheel. It started right up!

From the MVD, we headed to Sarah and Chris's place to pick up the car, and then we drove straight to our State Farm agent's office to get the car insured. That took more than an hour, and Dylan got more bad news. The cost of insuring a car, even one that's a year older than Dylan, is pretty steep for an 18-year-old driver. It's good that he doesn't have any other expenses right now. On a brighter note, during the long drive from Sarah and Chris's house to State Farm, the Buick performed perfectly. Although one of the tires was already flat by the end of the day...

I love our State Farm agent's little car. Notice the license plate!
(Click on the picture if you need to enlarge it.)

The next step will be getting Dylan's friend Jake licensed. He was born and raised in the Bronx (New York City) and has lived in Pennsylvania since 2005. Many people in those metropolitan areas never have a license or own a car because it's too expensive to park them, and public transportation is readily available. Now that Jake is an Arizonan, though, he'll need to drive! He'll be practicing a lot during the next week.

Mark looks forward to having a license again, too, but he can't get one until his parole ends in February. So our plan is that, while Dylan and I are at school, we'll leave the Buick with Jake and let him drive both himself and Mark to and from work when they're scheduled between the hours of 7:30 and 3:30. If there are occasions when Jake needs to be at work substantially earlier than Mark, then we'll have to call upon Sarah, Jacob, or Danielle to help get Mark where he needs to be. We hope that everyone's work schedules will be cooperative.

Wish us luck!

We're now a two-car household!

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