Buying a car

I just recently bought a car and it was a fun experience as always. I ended up choosing a 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder convertible. I’ve never had a convertible and I have to say it is a blast to drive. Here is a pic of it:

While buying the car I had to put it through some tests to make sure it was worthy to be a vehicle of mine. The first test I did was to test the struts. Struts provide the smooth ride and if they aren’t in good shape the car will be bouncing a lot. A way to test the struts is to push down on the bumper and if it recovers right away, then that means the struts are good. If it bounces and then bounces again, that means the struts are most likely shot.

The next thing I checked were the tires to make sure they had enough wear on them along with making sure they weren’t wearing abnormally. This can point to an alignment issue, which is easily fixed. Next I look at the rotors to make sure they are in good shape and aren’t gouged. I check the strut boot to make sure it isn’t cracked and leaking at all.

I check under the hood and make sure there isn’t leaking any fluids, although it being an old car there is still the chance for the small leak. Then I run through all of the electrical to make sure it works. Check paint for dings or cover ups. This can be seen pretty easily. Take it for a test drive and make sure all of the components work along with ensuring that there aren’t any noises. I take a look under the car to check for rust (old habits from car buying in MN) and make sure that the exhaust pipes don’t have leaks/cracks. When you start the car, see if the exhaust is a blue’ish color, this means that the engine is burning oil and could be costly to fix, but at the same time is common in older/high mileage cars.

Check the age of the battery to see if it is the original. Check the brakes while driving to make sure they grab and that they aren’t squishy. Check the car on to ensure there aren’t any recalls or gotchas about the car that could cause more expenses down the road. Also you’ll be able to get an estimate as to the value of the car.

There are additional items I check, but this is a quick and dirty list for anyone buying a car to add to their check list. I hope this is helpful to anyone who reads this.

Midwest tour recap

I was fortunate enough to work remotely the past couple of weeks so that I could do a mini Midwest tour. I started off in Saint Paul, MN and connected with friends. It was great to play catch up. From there we went down to Winona for Pam’s cousin’s wedding. The wedding was beautiful and everyone had a great time.

Next stop was my sister’s place in Illinois. I hung out there for a couple of days and got to celebrate my nephew’s birthday through a fun visit to a mini golf and go cart center. I also helped my sister setup their new trampoline and got to bounce around on that a bit. It was good just having downtime with my sister and her family as usually we only get to connect around holidays or special events and there isn’t enough socializing time or even time just to hang out.

I went to my brother’s place in Indiana next. I lucked out to see my niece’s end of the year dance recital. It is crazy to see how fast they have grown and how talented they are. I also got to play video games with my nephews and brother. We made it to a couple of movies including Kung Fu Panda and Xmen, both were good. I also got to have downtime with my bro and weight lifted along with grabbing some breakfast.

I think moving forward I’m going to try and do one of these trips every year, except the next time I need to have Pam with me. I was away from her for about a week and a half and it was way too long. Also I missed Lucy and she missed me too. Pam said she waited outside of our bedroom door in the morning and whined as she was waiting for me to come out. Poor pups.

All in all it was a great break from routine and amazing bonding time. Thanks to all of the family that I saw and stayed with. Definitely a highlight of 2011.