Just got my car, with stick
I just got my 1995 Cavalier, which has a stick shift. Dad can’t drive stick, so I had to drive it home… I can’t drive stick either! But, I know how to drive stick, so I did it anyway. There’s a little thing about practice, though… that part where you actually do it a few times so you can do it right? I need that.
The car flashes the ABS light at me sometimes. It comes on eventually, then goes off. The brakes need fluid, possibly pads, possibly other work. The car needs a catalytic converter. I want to do a full fluid change, filter change, plugs, oxygen sensor, the works. Pretty much I paid $2000 for a car with a 25,000 mile engine and 170,000 miles on it, and now have to get it in workable shape. No big deal, right?
I have to shop for parts after the inspection. The auto shops charge a premium for basic parts; I have to go pick up after-market parts, probably Beck Arnley or something, for cheaper. Those OEM parts must come from who knows where, China maybe, air dropped, overnight; they cost $100 at the warehouse and $200 at the shop, plus labor to put them on! All this means I might spend $1000, $1500, maybe more to get the car in workable shape. I don’t have it, but it’ll come eventually, so I’ll try to keep the mechanics busy and bring in $800 or so a month. Maybe I need a weekend job….
Anyway the car has no tachometer, and I haven’t driven stick before. How do I change gears… somehow? It just comes naturally. Getting into first does not come naturally, however; I need a parking lot for this! Just gotta learn how to drive–again–that’s all. It’s a small car, I somewhat dislike the tinted windows, it could use a vacuum, and of course a little work. The stick shift makes me nervous, but just so.
I’d rather have a better car. After this I’m grabbing maybe a Miata or something cheap like that, when I have big cash reserves and can afford to go to school regularly. Actually the Cobalt isn’t a bad car, just I hate all the fancy electronic everything in it and the automatic transmission sucks dog balls. My Nissan had vents, you turn a knob and it moves a cover to change which vents give air; my Cobalt has a 24 way selector switch, and the computer reacts a second later to move the covers with a small motor or something. The automatic transmission reacts about as fast, which sucks for driving.
So, maybe, just maybe, I might decide on selling the Cavalier in a few years and buying a 2005 or so Pontiac G5 GT in manual. I can drive manual and that car (yes, the G5 is a rebranded cobalt) sucks in automatic. The G5 GT looks fine though, pretty much a Cobalt Coupe, especially nice in black. Other options include a nice AWD Nissan, or a sporty RWD car. I don’t want a Miata as my daily driver, but owning a small car like that would work for a secondary.
Overall, the Cavalier is a step up. It teaches me to drive stick, it costs less than the Cobalt, and I can rid myself of that huge debt and insurance payment. In a few years I can sell it and almost recoup costs, putting me in a better overall position and allowing me to move forward with another car, with stick or automatic (probably stick). I can also save money and go to school… so sweet.