The Day The Lexus Died

A Day in the Life1 Comment

We bought our ’99 Lexus RX300 in 1998. I was just finishing up college and was doing Orion nearly full-time. We wanted an SUV and that was the one for us. I bought the car over the phone, sight unseen, out of Chicago. We had to drive up and get it. Exciting times.

6 months later, we packed up the Lexus and moved to California. Upon arrival at the DMV, they told me I had to take my car and leave the state. Emissions. You can’t buy a new car out of state that doesn’t have CA emissions and try and register it new in the state — or something to that effect. We left the DMV in tears. We have to move back home or sell our car? Days later we settled it with the DMV after a manager called me at home and made an “exception” for us.

Some time after that, we took our Lexus in for its regular service at the Steven’s Creek Lexus. When we went to pick it up, they couldn’t find it. The guy said he just drove it up a few minutes ago. Left the keys in it. Well, somebody else hopped inside and took off. No more car for you! More tears. After a month or so of calls, letters, and sicking my dad on them, we finally got them to work a deal for a new car minus insurance money, etc. It wasn’t going to be terrible. It was like rolling the odometer back 10,000 miles I guess. But then they found the stolen car. Good news was that the deal was done and we were too far into it. So we got another car and they sold our old one that was found with all kinds of nasty stuff inside.

Then we drove that new Lexus for 96,000 miles — then last week, it started making noise in the afternoon and the check engine light was on by evening. The next morning we drove it to the dealership to see what was up. It barely made it there. Wouldn’t go over 20 miles an hour and sounded like hell.

They called us later in the day and told us we need a new transmission. Oof. That is not good news. $4600. Called around town to other shops. Couldn’t get under $4000 for equivalent work anywhere. Now what…

I tend to live a bit on the edge of zero liquidity in my life. That doesn’t bode well for major events like this. Plus, I don’t want to shell out that much money for a car that was getting close to 100K miles and my wife is nearly down with. What to do?

My wife has had her eye on a Mercedes R-class for about a year. Its a crossover – part station wagon, part SUV. All the rage these days. Its a mini-van for moms that don’t and won’t drive a mini-van. I told her to call the dealer and see what he could do. She came in smiling. They will take my broken car on trade. Financing is at 2.9% for 72 months and ends Monday. Mercedes rarely finances cars. Sounds interesting.

So we dropped everything and headed down to the dealer. Got there at 4 PM or so. Kim drove and looked and checked out the car. I glanced and tried to keep the 2 kids from killing each other. Kim finds out that they have a R320 that is diesel and is capable of running the 5% biodiesel stuff. Now, she feels “green”. So that is what she decided she wanted. So we sat down. An hour later, we committed to the car for a Monday pickup. They never even saw my trade-in. Sight unseen. They will go get it. Give them the keys and title and that was it.

Only snag was it came with a factory DVD thing that wasn’t good. We wanted the dealer installed one. So I had to buy both. Now, I have the factory one in a box. eBay or try to retrofit into my truck?

We went on Monday to pick it up. No issues other than a long set of paperwork that seemed to take forever. Now, we have had the car for about 48 hours and I haven’t been invited to ride in it yet. Guess I am not invited. The kids are watching movies and Kim is still messing with the iPod controls when she isn’t setting up her Sirius presets or answering her handsfree phone.

Suddenly, my H2 doesn’t seem so cool anymore. But I am attached. I just need to put some more crap into it but I might short out my truck!