Once Upon a Time I Bought a Lemon of a Car

Mrs. Money’s recent post of how she bought a brand new car when she was 18 reminded me of the time I bought a real lemon of a car. I mentioned it once last year but I didn’t go into any details, and I thought you’d like to hear the story.

It was after my old 1983 Mercury Gran Marquis gave up the ghost.  I wasn’t sure what we were going to do without a car and my mom offered me $1000 to help me find a used car.

I found a 1984 Dodge 600 that looked very much like this one here, although it was more silver-blue, like this one.

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

My mom was pretty happy to be able to help me get a car and drove me and the boys over to meet the guy with the car. My mom’s husband came along to help decide if it would be a good choice.  He is a man, after all.

I guess the first clue was the guy wanted to meet at a gas station, and he wanted us to pay him in cash.

The second clue was when I drove it.  I noticed that the transmission was slipping as I went up a slight incline – I’d had to replace the transmission on my Mercury Gran Marquis and I knew what that felt like. I asked my stepfather if he noticed that slipping sound and he said the car just needed to be warmed up. He thought it was a good deal and advised me to buy the car.

Looking back on it, unfortunately my mom’s husband isn’t very knowledgable about cars and he probably wanted me to get the car so they could go back home.

With her husband’s blessing, my mom handed over the cash, took the title and while we were looking in the car checking it out, the guy disappeared.  Vanished into thin air. Well, actually he probably was parked in the grocery store parking lot next door. But he sure high tailed it out of there fast.

I was pretty happy with my little used car. At first.  The slipping problem became more noticeable as I drove it.  When I’d had it for about 8 weeks I asked Mr. A (we were at that time divorced) if he could change the fluids, and do a transmission fluid change.  He found foamy fluid and fairly large metal shavings in the transmission pan.  Not a good sign.

I was able to drive it a few more weeks and the transmission totally went out.  I didn’t have another $1000 to spend on getting it fixed, after all I’d given up my credit cards and had consolidated my credit card debt.

It ended up sitting in the driveway for probably a year or so and the management where I lived at finally complained about it.  By that time I’d lost the keys so when I called someone to come haul it away they said they would have to knock $50 off what they’d offered me since the keys were missing. I think I got maybe $75 for the car.

Eventually we found the keys, in the yard. The dog was digging in one corner and there they were.  But by then it had been months.  And you have already heard the rest of the story, we ended up going without a car for three years.

That’s my car regret story. Do you have one to share?

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7 thoughts on “Once Upon a Time I Bought a Lemon of a Car

  1. Always get an inspection before buying a used car and run CARFAX report. It doesn’t guarantee you won’t buy a dud but anyone who buys a used car without doing this is asking for trouble.


    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    her every cent counts: Good advice. AFTER that lemon, I did just that for other cars I have purchased. Great reminder, thanks!


  2. Oh my. That’s one of those live-and-learn stories!

    My lemon was purchased for me by my father–a brand-new 1967 Ford Fairlane. What a piece of junk! Fortunately, my young husband rented us an apartment about a block from the Ford dealership, because the junk spent more time in the dealer’s repair shop than it did in the carport. It was convenient to be able to walk back and forth to the Ford place.

    That vehicle is THE specific reason I will never own another piece of Detroit iron.


    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Funny: What a bummer! That must have stung your dad to know he bought such a crappy car for his daughter. Thanks for visiting and commenting! Mrs. A


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