Author Topic: Buying a " newer " car with a comfortable headrest  (Read 29366 times)

Sphinx

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Buying a " newer " car with a comfortable headrest
« on: June 20, 2014, 03:57:59 PM »
I know most here favour riding your bike, and I used to enjoy that, but I am a senior with some health problems now, and need to travel in a car.  I have a 1999 Ford Taurus Stationwagon, that has served me well, but has some rust problems -- mainly the rocker panels. I should have kept up the rust proofing every Fall, and will now that I have found a good place locally.  I thought I would replace it with maybe a Honda or a Ford hatchback, but I have found the shape and position of the new headrests impossible for me.  My Grandaughter who is a teenager complained about them too. I read online this is a very common problem. I have some neck arthritis, and my neck hurt all afternoon after just sitting in a Honda CRV for a few minutes at the dealership.  Any ideas ?  The standard adjustments they try did not work for me.  If you turn them around, they may not work in case of whiplash.  My old car is so comfortable, and has 155,000 Km. on it, so I may go ahead and do the bodywork for about $2500.  Does anyone know of a good, comfortable hatchback made in the last few years ?

gimp

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Re: Buying a " newer " car with a comfortable headrest
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2014, 04:25:42 PM »
Not exactly what you're looking for, but I found that adjusting my seat made a huge difference - height, inclination, and distance from the wheel. I drove a rental once, hated it at first, then was shocked by how good it felt. Went from getting a stiff neck after 12 hours of driving to being comfortable finishing even 21, my current record.

Now, your post is a bit vague in that - what shape and position do you currently have that you like? One man's comfort is another man's pain.

Sphinx

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Re: Buying a " newer " car with a comfortable headrest
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2014, 04:40:33 PM »
My current headrest goes straight up and down. I have it quite high, but it is comfortable in either position.  It does not push my neck forward the way the new ones do.  I tried adjusting the seat in the Hondas -- nothing worked, and there is absolutely no adjustment on the headrests.  Someone told me the Toyota Corollas up until 2014 are better.  I may investigate those.  I agree that the right seat position is a very individual thing, but many people are complaining about the new hard headrests that push people's necks forward and down. Thanks for your comments.

gimp

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Re: Buying a " newer " car with a comfortable headrest
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2014, 05:06:23 PM »
Oh, those headrests! Yeah, they're pretty much the worst thing ever. Why the hell do they exist?

Have you considered just using different headrests? They tend to attach with two metal poles; I have no idea if the size and distance of the poles is standard or semi-standard but it can definitely be hacked up with a little doing.

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Buying a " newer " car with a comfortable headrest
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2014, 05:12:23 PM »
OMG I'm only 26 with no health problems and I TOTALLY know what you mean about headrests pushing your head/neck too far forward! (at least I think I do) I end up just inclining my seat back more than is probably normal. I guess it didn't work in the cars you tried, but maybe there is some combo out there that will work? (for the record I drive a Nissan Versa hatchback)

mc6

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Re: Buying a " newer " car with a comfortable headrest
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2014, 05:15:36 PM »
Does anyone know of a good, comfortable hatchback made in the last few years ?

You're definitely not alone.  Maybe try out some hatchback Scions? Good luck with your search. 

Sphinx

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Re: Buying a " newer " car with a comfortable headrest
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2014, 05:18:48 PM »
I wondered if they could take the headrests off my Ford Taurus and put them on the Honda, but I bet different makes and models -- it would not work.  I just talked on the phone to a Honda salesman rec. by a friend.  He suggested a used Toyota Corolla 2010 they have on the lot. He said they did not change the headrests until 2014. I have been reading reviews online, and this car may have other problems.  I will check my Consumer Reports too.  I plan to visit a nearby used car lot, and just look at a wide variety of makes and models, but apparently almost all the new cars have these terrible headrests.  My neck was hurting after sitting in the Honda CRV for only about 5 min.  I cannot stand having it pushed forward, and down.  I could not even see to drive properly.  The Toyota Corolla has been on the lot for at least 2 wks.  He mentioned it to me last time I talked with him, so I maybe there is something wrong with it. It only has 25,000 K, and they are asking $14,800.  Anyone care to comment on Toyota Corollas ?  I really don't know anything about them.  I have always driven a Ford, and tried the Ford Escape, but don't like them much either.  My mechanic said the Hondas are in his garage the least of any car.  It is shame they are so uncomfortable. 

electriceagle

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Re: Buying a " newer " car with a comfortable headrest
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2014, 05:28:45 PM »
Shouldn't it be cheaper to overpay a craftsman to make a custom headrest for you than to buy a new car?


CarDude

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Re: Buying a " newer " car with a comfortable headrest
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2014, 07:49:31 PM »
The reason new headrests are uncomfortable is because they're designed to significantly reduce risks of whiplash in collisions. That basically requires the neck to be held straight in line with the spine with close rear support.

Sphinx

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Re: Buying a " newer " car with a comfortable headrest
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2014, 08:33:58 PM »
Shouldn't it be cheaper to overpay a craftsman to make a custom headrest for you than to buy a new car?

I think maybe you misunderstood.  The old car is fine as far as the headrest goes.  I need to buy a new car because the old one has rusted out underneath.  The new cars are the ones with the very uncomfortable headrests.

bogart

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Re: Buying a " newer " car with a comfortable headrest
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2014, 09:51:24 PM »
As I understand it, basically all 2009 or newer cars have this, er, feature, and I feel your pain.  You can read more about why here: 
http://m.automedia.com/Head_Restraints_Comfort_Vs_Safety/dsm20090701hr/1 .

My solution was to buy older headrests from a pontiac vibe (via ebay and hoping they'd fit, but not too expensive) for my 2009 Pontiac vibe.  They are much more comfortable and still quite close to the back of my head (not as close, but quite close).  I'm willing to take the extra risk (if any) over the discomfort.  They don't "clip in" right so I can't adust the height and if the car ever flips (!) they will fall out, so I'm not 100% thrilled with this, but still prefer it to ongoing discomfort.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2014, 09:56:17 PM by bogart »

Rural

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Re: Buying a " newer " car with a comfortable headrest
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2014, 07:59:42 AM »
My mother turns hers backward for this reason. There's a chance of pain and injury from whiplash that way, but otherwise she's guaranteed constant pain and injury, so...

Joggernot

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Re: Buying a " newer " car with a comfortable headrest
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2014, 09:45:49 AM »
I've noticed that in the new cars I've rented, they have the headrests locked in so you can't turn them backward.  I beat on a couple for a while before I learned this.

My two cars have the headrests turned backward for the same reason.  Arthritis of the spine...:(  I'll probably have to keep these cars until I die just because of the headrests.

Sphinx

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Re: Buying a " newer " car with a comfortable headrest
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2014, 03:53:05 PM »
The reason new headrests are uncomfortable is because they're designed to significantly reduce risks of whiplash in collisions. That basically requires the neck to be held straight in line with the spine with close rear support.

It seems to me they are making the cars for car crash dummies, and not human beings !  We should be able to be safe and comfortable.  I went through a bad accident in my old station wagon, and even had to replace the whole car with the same make and model.  My old headrests worked just fine -- no whiplash.  I had bad seat belt injuries, but the car did what it was supposed to do, and saved my life.  I had a great deal of respect for the Ford engineers after that, but now they have trouble making seats that fold down properly in the Escape.  What is it with these guys ????  Henry Ford would not approve of them.  Honda can make a good car too, but not comfortable ????  There is a great opportunity for some engineers to make a safe, comfortable, and reasonably priced car.  We really need that.

Lilac

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Re: Buying a " newer " car with a comfortable headrest
« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2014, 09:37:28 AM »
Try a Chrysler.  I rented a Chrysler 200 recently and it's the only car I've been in that doesn't have those kind of head restraints, they go straight up from the seat rather than leaning forward and therefore pushing your head down or making it where you cannot put your upper back on the seat if you sit up straight.  You can adjust the angle as well as the height so that they are positioned properly.  I've noticed that the head restraints in other Chrysler models look like they are the same. 

pagoconcheques

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Re: Buying a " newer " car with a comfortable headrest
« Reply #15 on: September 30, 2014, 09:57:09 AM »
Some of the cars you're looking at like the Honda CR-V and Fit are designed around a more upright seating position than a sedan like the Ford Taurus.  If you adjust the seat so you are sitting more like in a church pew or a dining chair than a couch or easy chair, the headrest should be in the right place.  This can take a while to get used to, but once you do you'll likely prefer sitting tall to the artificially relaxed seating position of many older cars. 

FWIW, I have a Subaru Forester and the headrests cant forward as well as moving up and down--one of my favorite features. 

Timmmy

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Re: Buying a " newer " car with a comfortable headrest
« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2014, 09:57:55 AM »
Cars don't stop operating because they get rusty.  Keep driving the car you have. 

Lilac

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Re: Buying a " newer " car with a comfortable headrest
« Reply #17 on: September 30, 2014, 11:16:36 AM »
Good to know about the Subaru Forester!  I just looked at the interior photos online and they look to have the same kind as the Chryslers.  I tried a Honda CRV and it was still too forward leaning at the top for me to be comfortable, made my upper back not able to rest on the seat, although the tilt may have been adjustable and I didn't know.  I found out by pulling on the Chrysler rental.  I think that style of head restraint should work for people (like me) who drive like they are sitting on a dining chair. 

Eric

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Re: Buying a " newer " car with a comfortable headrest
« Reply #18 on: September 30, 2014, 01:06:50 PM »
This whole thread is strange to me.  I've been countless number of types of cars in my life.  I cannot remember sitting in a single one of them where any part of me touched the headrest at any point.  The headrest is a misnomer.  It's designed to stop your head from continuing backwards past the seatback in the instance of a crash.  If you're resting your head on it while driving, I have to say I think you're doing it wrong.

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Buying a " newer " car with a comfortable headrest
« Reply #19 on: September 30, 2014, 02:44:08 PM »
This whole thread is strange to me.  I've been countless number of types of cars in my life.  I cannot remember sitting in a single one of them where any part of me touched the headrest at any point.  The headrest is a misnomer.  It's designed to stop your head from continuing backwards past the seatback in the instance of a crash.  If you're resting your head on it while driving, I have to say I think you're doing it wrong.

I think part of the problem may be that I have long hair and I usually wear it in a bun or ponytail on the back of my head, and then the headrest is touching my head/hair. if it's down or in a braid or something, the head rest isn't annoying. it's not that I'm tilting my head back and really "resting" it or anything, but I totally know what the OP means.

Sphinx

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Re: Buying a " newer " car with a comfortable headrest
« Reply #20 on: September 30, 2014, 05:00:59 PM »
I started this thread, and have finally purchased a good used car.  It is a 2010 Ford Escape Limited, with low mileage, and it has been rust proofed over the years.  My mechanic checked it all over and says it is a keeper.  After months of searching online, and at local car dealerships, I found a place that only sells used cars, and they were willing to search for me.  They buy their cars in many locations, and have a good reputation in town.  They found 2 great suv's for me -- a Honda CRV EXL 2011, and a Ford Escape Limited 2010. Both were about 200 miles from where I live, and in different directions. They even found the colour combination I wanted. The dealership purchased both cars in online auctions, and said that when they arrived I would have first refusal, but was not obligated to purchase either one.  I adjusted the seats in the Honda, and finally found a comfortable position for me, but my teenage Grandaughter just could not get comfortable in the passenger seat.  The salesman did everything he could to adjust it for her, but after a 20 min. test drive, her neck was hurting.  She spends a good deal of time with me, and I want her to be comfortable.  She is also not one to complain, and is the sweetest girl ever ! Well, she is my Grandaughter !  We then drove the Ford Escape LTD, over the same roads, and we both agreed it was the more comfortable SUV. We could both adjust the seats so that the headrests did not bother us. It is also quite a bit less expensive than the Honda, so we chose that one.  I just ordered some Weatherteck mats to protect the floor, and the cargo area.  I am a gardener, and always hauling plants, or gardening supplies in the summer.  The pattern is made by a laser, and they fit your car perfectly.  Also, they have a good upper ridge which comes up high on the car to protect the carpet. 

I did drive my old Ford Taurus Stationwagon for years with some rust, but the rocker panels are now gone underneath, and there is a hole in the floor near the front passenger seat.  The heater is also gone.  This alone is a $600.00 repair. The bodywork would be about $2500. The car is 15 years old.  I got it used too, and it has served me well for 12 years.  The bodywork and the heater repair just are not worth it to me, when something else may soon go on my old car.  I need to have a good dependable car, and am happy with this deal.  They gave me a good trade in value, a bit off the list price, and a whole new set of tires.  I saved half the price of a new Ford Escape, and it is $10,000 less than the Honda CRV.  I have leather heated seats, as well as a sunroof, and the Ford Escape  LTD looks like new.  I am quite happy so far.  Let's hope my great mechanic, whom I have trusted for 11 years is right, and I have no trouble getting another 10 years out of it, the way I drive.  I do not put as many miles on a car as some people, since I am retired, and live in a small town, where everything is convenient, within short distances.

Thank you everyone for all your good suggestions, and comments.  My search has finally ended !  I hope this thread helps someone else.

guitar_stitch

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Re: Buying a " newer " car with a comfortable headrest
« Reply #21 on: October 01, 2014, 09:25:51 AM »
I did drive my old Ford Taurus Stationwagon for years with some rust, but the rocker panels are now gone underneath, and there is a hole in the floor near the front passenger seat.  The heater is also gone.  This alone is a $600.00 repair. The bodywork would be about $2500. The car is 15 years old.

Not for the self enabled do-it-yourselfer.  I bet the issues could have been fixed, including a budget repaint for $500.  Fear is a very expensive drug.  In your case, fear of something maybe failing.

bogart

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Re: Buying a " newer " car with a comfortable headrest
« Reply #22 on: October 01, 2014, 10:15:25 AM »
Not for the self enabled do-it-yourselfer.  I bet the issues could have been fixed, including a budget repaint for $500.  Fear is a very expensive drug.  In your case, fear of something maybe failing.

Eh.  If Mustachianism means that someone old enough to have a teenage granddaughter (the OP) should be reluctant to replace a 15-year old car with a 4-year old car (or, if, as in my case, they haven't yet reached the having-a-teenage-granddaughter stage, to organize their life with the expectation that they might reasonably want to do so once they do), then you can count me out.

OP -- glad you found a car you like!

Lilac

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Re: Buying a " newer " car with a comfortable headrest
« Reply #23 on: October 01, 2014, 10:46:16 AM »
I'm glad you found something that works for you! 

I found this thread and group because I have been needing a newer vehicle for a few years and have similar issues with the head restraints (and the resulting headaches, back and neck spasms that won't go away until a few days of not being in the car - not fun to spend your vacation that way!) and wondered if anyone with similar problems had actually found anything that works.  I've heard many complaints but few real solutions.  I've also noticed luxury vehicles don't seem to have those sort of extreme head restraints, usually they are the worst in more compact vehicles that get good gas mileage.  I got an older vehicle for cash a few years ago when my car died to get me to work (bike is not an option for that), but it's reached the point that I'm putting much more money into it to keeping it running than it's worth, so it's time.

You mentioned in an earlier post that the Ford Escape didn't work for you, but the 2010 Limited edition did. Any idea what makes it different? 

« Last Edit: October 01, 2014, 10:50:19 AM by Lilac »

Sphinx

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Re: Buying a " newer " car with a comfortable headrest
« Reply #24 on: October 01, 2014, 11:30:41 AM »
Hi Lilac,
  I think if you search long enough, you will find a good used car right for you.

 You are correct that at first I did not think an Escape would work either.  The Limited seems to be more comfortable in general than the less expensive different Escape models.  The Limited has motorized controls for fine seat adjustments.  This really helps. (The luxury Honda had them too, but we still could not make it work.)  In the Escape my Grandaughter and I could adjust our seats so that the headrest was not pushing against the back of our heads.  I just moved the back of my seat, where your shoulders rest, back a bit, and I tilted the part one sits on slightly.  The armrest was also an issue.  In the 2011 Honda CRV EXL they were small,  hard,and split with space between the driver and passenger side. There was not enough room for either of us to comfortably rest an arm.  I was finding air space under mine, and I am not a large person. When you moved the seat up or down, the arm rest moved too.  I need to have both arms at the same level, or my neck hurts. Sometimes my left arm, near the elbow rests partially on the arm rest on the driver's side door.  This and the arm rest on the right are perfectly even at all times.  We measured it with a yardstick.  Even though my hands are on the wheel, my elbow is partially resting on the arm rest.  In the 2010 Escape Limited, the armrest is wide, and padded.  It does not move when you adjust the seat.  Some of these things do not show up in a short test drive, but a 20 min. ride will give you a pretty good idea what will work, and what won't.  I really sympathize with you about having neck and back problems. 
  I did not look at Chryslers, but perhaps you could give that a try.  If you can find an older car in really good condition, with low mileage, that might be the most comfortable design for you. I think the new headrests only really caused problems from 2009 on.  A friend of mine just bought a 1992 Pontiac that has been in a garage for a long time.  It only has 41,000 miles on it.  It belonged to an elderly lady who bought it at age 76, and her family sold it when she passed away at age 93.  There are no power windows, but she says it is very comfortable. It has just been rustproofed, and it will be interesting to see how long it lasts as a second car for her to take the children short distances to school, and for shopping etc.  They paid $2500. for it.  She said they always have 3 cars, so that when one of the old ones dies, they are not stranded, since her husband needs one for work.  Since they live on a farm, they have a barn where they can store the extra car if need be.  She says her other car is headed for the wreckers soon.  I would not have bought one that old -- but it is like having a Classic Car !  I hope to treat mine well, and get at least 10 years out of it. 

  Good luck with your search, and don't give up.  If you go to a used car lot, they have all kinds of makes and models that you can try.  A good used car dealership will search for what you want, with low mileage, and let you try it when it comes in.  The car should be good enough that if you do not like it, they can easily sell it to someone else.  That is the way my deal worked.  Ask your friends where they shop.  Word of mouth is usually the best reference, especially in a small town, like where I live. 

Sphinx

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Re: Buying a " newer " car with a comfortable headrest
« Reply #25 on: October 01, 2014, 11:44:09 AM »
Not for the self enabled do-it-yourselfer.  I bet the issues could have been fixed, including a budget repaint for $500.  Fear is a very expensive drug.  In your case, fear of something maybe failing.

Eh.  If Mustachianism means that someone old enough to have a teenage granddaughter (the OP) should be reluctant to replace a 15-year old car with a 4-year old car (or, if, as in my case, they haven't yet reached the having-a-teenage-granddaughter stage, to organize their life with the expectation that they might reasonably want to do so once they do), then you can count me out.

OP -- glad you found a car you like!



I agree.  Being frugal is not an end in itself.  I am careful with my money so that when I want something nice of quality, that I need, I can buy it, and enjoy it.  Money can't buy love, but it certainly can buy some happiness, and we should let ourselves enjoy life.  By the way, My fifteen yr. old Grandaughter offered to vaccuum out my old car with my little shop vac to help me out, and also to get any money I might have dropped in the car.  She did find a bit, which made her happy, and then I took her out for ice cream at her favourite place, and we made plans for a small trip together in the new car. We will likely go to our favourite thrift store in a nearby town.  My Grandaughter gets most of her clothes there, and so do I.  She looks like a million dollars in new, or almost new designer clothes, and I love my comfortable Ralph Lauren casuals etc.  Life is frugal, and life is good !

guitar_stitch

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Re: Buying a " newer " car with a comfortable headrest
« Reply #26 on: October 01, 2014, 12:13:09 PM »

I agree.  Being frugal is not an end in itself.  I am careful with my money so that when I want something nice of quality, that I need, I can buy it, and enjoy it.  Money can't buy love, but it certainly can buy some happiness, and we should let ourselves enjoy life.  By the way, My fifteen yr. old Grandaughter offered to vaccuum out my old car with my little shop vac to help me out, and also to get any money I might have dropped in the car.  She did find a bit, which made her happy, and then I took her out for ice cream at her favourite place, and we made plans for a small trip together in the new car. We will likely go to our favourite thrift store in a nearby town.  My Grandaughter gets most of her clothes there, and so do I.  She looks like a million dollars in new, or almost new designer clothes, and I love my comfortable Ralph Lauren casuals etc.  Life is frugal, and life is good !

Then again, I'm the kind of person that takes genuine pleasure in making something last just a little bit longer.  Even if it's not mine...  lol

bogart

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Re: Buying a " newer " car with a comfortable headrest
« Reply #27 on: October 01, 2014, 12:32:41 PM »
Then again, I'm the kind of person that takes genuine pleasure in making something last just a little bit longer.  Even if it's not mine...  lol

Sure, but the OP didn't say, "... and now we're going to park the older car down by the river and fling stones at it until it falls in!"  I'll admit I'll assume (she may have posted this somewhere, but, tl;dr) that the OP is selling the original car or otherwise providing it to someone who will use/fix it (or get it fixed), but just because something is still usable doesn't mean the original (or current) owner has to be the one to get the use out of it.

caseyzee

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Re: Buying a " newer " car with a comfortable headrest
« Reply #28 on: October 01, 2014, 12:38:47 PM »
This thread makes me chuckle a bit because the things brought up here really are very individual.

I rented an Escape to take to the beach for a week with my kids about a month ago - and my neck still hurts!  I found the headrests so very uncomfortable.  Worse with a ponytail, for sure, but still bad without one.

My cars are older - a 2000 and a 2004 - so I had never had this issue before.  My sister recently switched from a 2000 Echo to a 2012 Hyundai and she says it's unbearable!  I wonder if it's mostly a woman thing?

Anyway, good luck with your new car and now I know that I really need to get out there and drive some before I purchase my next car.

Sphinx

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Re: Buying a " newer " car with a comfortable headrest
« Reply #29 on: October 01, 2014, 01:06:14 PM »





Then again, I'm the kind of person that takes genuine pleasure in making something last just a little bit longer.  Even if it's not mine...  lol

Sure, but the OP didn't say, "... and now we're going to park the older car down by the river and fling stones at it until it falls in!"  I'll admit I'll assume (she may have posted this somewhere, but, tl;dr) that the OP is selling the original car or otherwise providing it to someone who will use/fix it (or get it fixed), but just because something is still usable doesn't mean the original (or current) owner has to be the one to get the use out of it.

The dealership offered me a fair trade in -- more than I expected, since other dealerships said they would send it to the wreckers, or I could take it myself.  I think a mechanic is buying it to fix the bodywork so it will pass a safety ( holes in floor boards, rocker panels shot ). The motor and transmission are good, and it has 160,000 km. on it. Then his wife can use it to take the kids to the cottage, nearby.  The lack of a heater is not an issue for a summer car.  They can pile lots in the old station wagon, and I hope they enjoy it.  I am looking forward to my heated leather seats, and taking my new car, that I can depend on, on many day trips.  To each his own.