Hand to God, I have absolutely nothing against minivans. In fact, I love them, but there’s something about actually purchasing one for yourself that says to the world, “Yep, I have a car full of small children, and I’m not afraid to show it.”
When I first bought mine, I was on cloud nine. I never imagined that, aside from air conditioning and my iPhone, any “thing” could impact my daily life in such a positive way. Amazingly, my kids were getting in and out of the car, and their seats, without my help, which was enough to make this super-pregnant mama squeal with delight.
I had sliding “magic” doors, interior space for days, and a trunk that could hold a stroller plus a week’s worth of groceries. Life was good until I made the mistake of thinking I no longer needed it.
I looked around at other moms and got jealous, then, foolishly, I traded in my beloved van for an SUV, and I regretted it almost immediately. It didn’t take long before the novelty wore off and I was missing my van in a big way. Graciously, my husband agreed to trade in his slightly older ride, to take the burden off of my hands, and get the family back into the van we loved.
After reading tons of reviews (because research is my middle name) I settled on a different manufacturer, and we went for it. The entire family was thrilled to make the switch, especially the kids and when we drove off the lot, we felt great about the decision we made.
Unfortunately, our Cinderella story took a sour turn the very next day. Within the first 36 of owning the van we noticed significant alignment and electrical issues. The car couldn’t drive straight, and major electrical system failures were happening at the same time. At first, we weren’t too concerned, but after having it in the shop for nearly a week, the dealer’s service department was unable to fix the issues … and we were getting seriously worried. During the next month, the car was in the service department for half of the time we owned it, and nothing was resolved.
Unknowingly, we bought a lemon.
I didn’t even think it was possible for a car to be a lemon in this day and age, but there we were with only two options: One, hire a lawyer and start the lengthy “lemon law” proceedings, or, two, do what it takes to get out of this one and into another … gulp. My husband and I looked at each other while the kids ran around the playroom of the dealership. We had one of those non-verbal, telepathic, long stares and we both knew that we could not in good conscience drive around in this van any longer … we had to make a change.
At the end of that very, very long day we drove home in an older model van with a higher monthly payment. The dealership knew they had us, and, while it could have been worse, we felt sick about it. All of the equity we put into the new car was gone, right out of the window along with our excitement. I felt like it was entirely my fault. After all, if I had hung on to the first one, we wouldn’t be in this mess. I felt guilty for letting my family down and naive for being duped by the dealership.
I couldn’t shake all of these feelings, so I prayed … please, God, help me understand and help me find peace. Thankfully “ask, and you shall receive” is still applicable in 2018.
Now, I still don’t know how a defective vehicle can make it to market with today’s machining capabilities and testing, and I don’t understand why we drew the short straw. What I do understand is that there’s a reason for it, and, in time, we’ll learn from this. In the meantime, I’m satisfied with peace. Peace of mind knowing my family is safe and happy in our new microbus, I mean … hallelujah for a DVD player with an hour and a half worth of carpool lines twice a day!
Jordan Schupbach is a mother of three living in the Fulshear area. She blogs at www.lattesandliving.com - sharing the good, the bad and the frenzied.