That new car smell…

I love my little Tiburon.  It is still awfully cute and its mileage is fairly low (only 75k), but it is getting older (it will celebrate its eighth birthday in 2012).  In the past couple of years I have been increasingly thinking about the day when I will have to move on to a new car.  It has been a long while since I have experienced that new car smell.  

Unfortunately, Hyundai stopped making the Tiburon which removed what would be my first option for a new car.  I have loved my Tiburon and I am a huge fan of Hyundai and its warranty and I would have jumped back into a new Tiburon long ago had that been an option.  Alas, someone thought it prudent to discontinue the Tiburon a few years back.  So I am pondering what my next vehicle will be when finally I take the new car plunge again.

I spent the morning at the Hyundai dealership yesterday having my oil changed and a cosmetic replacement done (a new bright and shiny shift knob) and I had a somewhat startling realization.  I realized that buying a new vehicle – a non-Hyundai vehicle – will affect the place I go for service.  This realization was disconcerting to me – disconcerting because I have spent many years getting used to and getting to know my go-to guy at Hyundai Service and it is not easy for a girl like me to trust an automobile service guy. 

Over my years dealing with Hyundai I have queried, questioned, interrogated and sometimes acquiesced to almost exclusively the same fellow – Ryan.   And over those years I have come to trust him to tell me the truth about my car and what it needs.  This is saying a lot as I have historically ranked car service folks high in the “not always trustworthy” pecking order along with sales people and lawyers (my apologies to all the service folks, sales people and lawyers who I may have just unfairly smeared – I am not saying you are all untrustworthy – but you know as well as I do that there are some out there that bring your collective reputations down).  Anyway, the point is I am not an easy sell when it comes to service recommendations.  I am known to ask a lot of questions, examine the service person’s testimony for inconsistencies, do a little research on my own, ask more questions and only then reluctantly agree to things with a skeptical look on my face.  Ryan spent many years under fire before I started to ease up a bit.  Interestingly, my easing up had less to do with an increasing trust of service professionals and whole lot more to do with me getting to know more about Ryan.

It was an interesting process learning about Ryan.  It started when I discovered one of my students  (Justin) worked at Gateway.  I was excited when I heard he worked there as I thought that once and for all I would be able to confirm my sneaking suspicion that the automobile service industry wasn’t always on the up-and-up.  I knew I could count on Justin to tell me the truth so I asked for the lowdown on Ryan.  I was sure I was going to learn about all kinds of seedy nefarious dealings, incidences of little old lady high repair cost abuse and other made up parts and services that cost an arm and leg (okay, so I may have gone into it as a bit of a conspiracy theorist).  What I learned from Justin did not support any of my grand theories of customer exploitation – indeed, from Justin I learned that Ryan was a good guy.  It was a revelation to be sure. 

The next time I saw Ryan after that I started talking to him differently. In the past I had talked to him as if I was sure he would happily take the very underwear I was wearing in service and repair fees if I wasn’t careful.   After my conversation with Justin I talked to Ryan like a regular person not an adversary.  It is amazing the way things change when you change the way you look at them (and yes, that is a paraphrase of a Wayne Dyer quotation).  I came to know more about Ryan.  I learned that Ryan is a single dad and that he is raising two of his kids on his own after their mother left them and headed off to parts unknown in California.  He is just a hard working guy trying to the right thing and despite all the grief I have given him over the years he has always be courteous and polite. After learning about what a nice guy Ryan was I concluded I was going to probably go to hell for ever doubting his integrity.  I have been saying Hail Marys ever since and now spend time being thankful that I have someone I can trust to give me the real story about my car.

But my car is getting older and their is no new model Tiburon to be had.  I have reviewed the other Hyundai options and find none tittilating enough to make me want to pay car payments for four years.  The dealership is Hyundai/Nissan so I surmise I could get a Nissan and still be able to keep Ryan.  I do so love the Nissan Z, but Ryan tells me it is a rear-wheel drive and I think my winter driving skills (or lack thereof) when coupled with rear wheel drive pretty much spells D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R (and not the kind I have the professional expertise to manage).

So I have a dilemma…get a new car and lose the service guy I like and trust or keep my old car and the service guy I like and trust.  For the time being I cannot even imagine letting my steady service guy go – of course that is cemented by the fact that my little Tiburon has tended to be relatively problem free and still has roughly 25,000 miles left on its 100,000 mile warranty. 

Some day though – in the not too distant future – I will likely have to face the reality of parting ways with my now favorite service guy – Ryan.  I gather I have another couple of years until my warranty runs out on the Tiburon.  Perhaps during that time Hyundai will bring back the Tiburon or Nissan will change the Z to either a front-wheel or all-wheel drive.  If not it will be a really ugly situation…I would hate to have to see Ryan change dealerships with all those years in at Gateway; but hey, good service guys are hard to find and while I may trade-in my car, I am keeping Ryan. ;-)

So get busy Hyundai so you can roll out the new improved Tiburon for 2014.  You can put my order in now – black exterior and interior, V6 engine, sunroof, spoiler and all the other options that scream, “Carol’s second mid-life crisis car!”  Ship it to Gateway Hyundai in Fargo and have Ryan call me when it arrives.  Oh and while you are at it, give my boy Ryan some kind of customer service award as I can tell you on firsthand knowledge that he has earned it.

Day eight hundred and one of the new forty – obla di obla da

Ms. C

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About Ms. C

I teach at NDSU...but I remain a student of life with all the enthusiasm that entails. My favorite saying is, "Sometimes you have to take the leap and build your wings on the way down." In the new forty that is what I am doing...building my wings.
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4 Responses to That new car smell…

  1. There is a car called a Tiburon? I just finished reading THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES and Tiburon was the town in one of the Carolina’s where the main character fled..from her cruel father! (maybe the town is not spelled the same as the car but it is SO close!)

  2. Barbara says:

    Cheers to you, Ms. C, for your appreciation of Ryan! Every child should grow up in a home where they hear accolades for good mechanics, plumbers, electricians, garbage men, etc. Those kids will probably not respond to the question “what do you want to be when you grow up” with that vapor-brained answer: “Famous.”

  3. Katherine says:

    My ’93 Buick is going strong — thanks to the service team at Gateway Service Center. Good service is worth every cent. Think of all the years without car payments and balance that with the good service that can keep your car going.

  4. Pingback: Brittany is the new Ryan. | The New Forty

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