After that truck talk, it is high time I proudly brag on our newest addition:
After extensive research, and looking at waaaay too many trucks, we decided on our “ideal” truck. First and foremost, it had to tow our trailer’s max weight of 14,500 lbs, and the max payload of 3770 lbs. (though we won’t be hauling that much most of the time). That narrowed our search to a Dodge Ram 3500, a Chevy Silverado 2500 or greater, or a Ford F-250 or greater. Secondly, it had to have a bed greater than 6′, so it could actually haul things in the bed and be useful. Thirdly, it had to fit in our garage. S has another rule–crazy as it seems–that garages are actually made for VEHICLES rather than storing household goods. I guess he has this notion that the garage protects the truck from hail, rain, rust, and such things as that. In any case, a longer bed that could still fit in our garage eliminated any crew-cab type option. That narrowed our choice to regular cab or extended cab. Then we discovered the height of our garage door entry was shorter than the average 3500/F-350 model, which narrowed our choices further. Fourth, it had to be a diesel. Fifth, we preferred used, as we were on a tight budget and didn’t want to take a loan.
At that point, it was just a matter of finding the right year model and engine to meet our needs. We would have preferred lower miles and a manual transmission, but those were areas we were willing to compromise on. Although an extended cab would have been nice during this up-coming, cross-country move, we realized that even an extended cab wouldn’t fit our entire family of 7 (they only have 6 seats) anyway, and after this move, the chances of more than 2 kiddos riding along with us would be a rarity. Thus, we decided that it had to have a middle front seat, rather than a console. The regular cab also gave us a longer bed with a bigger payload–something we definitely needed.
Then the fun happened. I originally found the truck on ebay, and discovered it was located at a used-car dealer about an hour away. Further research showed the ebay price was $1000 less than his actual dealership asking price (about a 13% difference, in this case), and that price was about $2000 less than Kelley Blue Book. The dealer, however, was not much of a negotiator, and expected his asking price for any vehicle he sold. I decided not to mention the ebay discrepency, lest he change it before I was ready to make an offer. When we investigated the VIN, everything looked too good to be true. So, we went and took it for a test drive. We asked if we could take it to an independent mechanic around the corner, and the dealer agreed. Later that week, after we gathered a great deal of info on the truck, I went back (with 5 kiddos in tow–one of which got carsick on the way!), and the dealer drove it to the mechanics for me. I took the dealer back to his dealership, and returned to the mechanic’s to have a deeper discussion. I handed him all the recall repair paperwork, history, and data I had collected from other sources, unbeknownst to the dealer. The dealer, in fact, was quite clueless about the truck. It hadn’t even been through the dealer’s shop at that point, and he had absolutely no history on it (which is probably why the price was so low). The kids and I went and hung out at a local park for several hours while the truck was given an in-depth check-up. We decided to go ahead and have the Chevy-specialist check out the critical diesel parts, do a pre-purchase inspection overall, and do a computer codes check. The truck is a 2001 model, and has over 250,000 miles after all, and we figured the $150 investment in all the tests could save us thousands if it was a lemon. In the end, the critical parts checked out, but there were a lot of little things that needed replacing, refilling, or repairing. With S’s blessing, I went back to the dealer at that point, and told him I wanted to move forward. I noticed that he had written his asking price on the document I was to fill out, and said simply, “Oh, I came prepared to pay the ebay price of $xxxx!” He looked at me stunned, obviously clueless that I had discovered the truck on ebay. He wasn’t even sure I was telling the truth, and asked me to wait while he went and checked his computer. He came back, and, clearly somewhat surprised, agreed to my lower offer. I paid up, picked up S, and we brought the truck home. Early this week, we took the truck into our local, trusted mechanic, and got all those little things repaired, refilled, and replaced. All total, we still wound up paying less than the dealer’s original asking price. A pretty good deal, if I may say so!
We are very excited, have since ordered our trailer–which will take about 6-8 weeks since it is being custom built. I look forward to hooking the whole thing up and seeing how it looks!! Now I’m really starting to feel like a farmer. Best of all, I don’t have to haul hay, stinky buck goats, or chickens in my minivan anymore!! (though the rabbits and dog will likely be hitching a ride in the van for our move). Things are coming along beautifully, and, Lord willing, I am thrilled that no more evenings–at least in the near future–will be spent researching trucks online!!