Signs My Car May Be a Hooptie

by Lindy on January 27, 2013

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Hooptie Exhibit A

The check engine light that comes on and goes off without reason.

Impending doom!

Wait, not impending doom.

Okay, impending doom again!

Hooptie Exhibits B

The artwork of oil droplets it paints daily on the driveway.  Time for some…uh, kitty litter?  Is that what you use for oil stains?

Hooptie Exhibit C

This may look like a normal seat buckle.  But upon closer inspection you’ll see it’s a jammed seat belt buckle.  It gets stuck like that every time I unhook.  I have to use a key to pry it back up when I want to buckle it again.

(Don’t worry mom, it’s still safe.  Just mildly annoying.)

Hooptie Exhibit D

The air pistons on the back hatch don’t go up all the way, making the glass stop at a prime location for you to knock your head on if you’re not paying attention.  Oh yeah, the air pistons that hold up the engine hood are shot too.

We’re hoping my car makes it to her 10th birthday next year.  Or at least to see the day when A-Rob’s car is paid off.

I was thinking that buying a new car would occur way, way into the future.  And when I think about this event that exists way in the future, I envision myself buying a used car.   I’ve never bought a used car, I hear it’s an economical option.

But with these signs of impending hooptie-dom, it’s looking like buying another car could be sooner rather than later.  And I fear I might chicken out on my plan to buy used.

The truth is, I like new cars. Their low mileage and long warranties give me hope for a brighter tomorrow.  I like walking into the dealer and saying “I’ll take the red one!”  Then signing some papers and being done with it.  It’s just so easy…and also not economical.

I may have to start mentally warming up to the idea of buying a used car, like the eight months it took for me to warm up to cutting cable.

What about you?  Do you buy used or new?  Or do you lease?  Which option do you think is best and why? This new car lovin’ girl needs help with this one.

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  • All of the above! Let’s see – my first car was used, then I bought a new one, used, used, used, used, leased, used, used…
    I guess overall “used” wins! I look for one or two years old with really low mileage and a couple years of warrantly left. Leasing was OK but at the end of the lease you either have to buy it or walk away from it withing NOTHING to show for it. No trade-in. The last car I had before the one I have now my daughter smashed up. Since she’s still living at home I bought a slightly older used car that I won’t cry over if it gets dinged. Once she’s out on her own I’ll go with a newer car again. Decisions, decisions!

    • Lindy

      Yeah, I can see how being left with NOTHING after the lease term is up can feel a little weird. But do the numbers work out I wonder? Hmm.

  • My first car was a hooptie, but I loved it so. A 1981 VW convertible Rabbit, same age as me. I got her for $200 and anything that could go wrong with a car went wrong with that one. There was a hole in the roof, where someone decided to steal my radio. That caused leaking that killed my fusebox. So sometimes my blinkers would work, sometimes not. There was no AC(we lived in FL) The hood flew up while I was driving one day, it never went on right again. The clutch went out on me while I was on a six lane road in the turning lane, I had to push it across three lanes of traffic. The breaks needed to be fixed and the straw that broke this camels back was when I pulled out of friends driveway only to have the rear axle break in half. I never had engine problems though. The next day I went and bought a used truck, that was really reliable.
    But old VWs are really easy to fix, so my dad and I spent many hours fixin’ ‘er up on all the things we could. I know it’s wrong, but I still love that car.

    • Lindy

      I can see how you could love a car with so much character. What an awesome story! It’s funny, I remember that game from elementary school where you list out four cars you want to have and four boys you want to marry, and four places you want to live…We always picked a VW Rabbit. That was a hot car to a third grader in 1986. :)

  • judy

    Dont know if it helps but my engine light comes on when I need a new gas cap.


    • Lindy

      My light seems to go off when I refill my gas tank. So I’m suspicious (hoping) it’s just that and not something worse. Thanks for the input!

  • Megan

    We just bought a used car for my husband, a 09′ Honda Civic, and I thought it was a great experience. It was a certified used, which means it was checked over by a mechanic and it also came with an extended warranty. If you’re intrested in buying used, but nervous about it and really appreciate the extended warranty, it may be something you want to consider!

    • Lindy

      That does sound like a comfortable way to go. And we’re Honda people anyways, so I’m liking the sound of this even more. Thanks for sharing your good experience.

  • I am sorry, I don’t know what a Hoop-tie is. Did I miss the definition? Am I ill informed and not with the times?

    I buy new and used, depends on how good the deal is. I recently bought a Ford Escape new, and it was barely more expensive that the used. Start looking now and getting familiar with prices, and then when the day comes to replace your car, then pounce!

    • Lindy

      Hahaha. Here is the definition of a hooptie from the urban dictionary to help you out.

      Oooh, looking into pricing now is a good idea. That will help me warm up to the idea even more.

  • We buy new and drive the same cars until the cost of repair is greater than what the car is worth.

    How to buy a new car:

    Why it doesn’t really make a difference if you buy new or used (so long as you’re paying cash!):

    • Lindy

      I would love to pay cash for a car. Better start saving. A bunch!

  • Jackie

    I just bought a new one. The price difference on low mileage cars is not a lot right now so we opted for the new one.

  • It depends on the year, make and model. It also might make a difference with how desperate your local dealership is to move cars. Certified Pre-owned on a two to three year old car is probably more economical, but you won’t really know until you shop around. I’ve had both used and new and the one benefit to new is the warranty, low miles, and not having to worry about it breaking down the first few years. But the cost stinks!

  • You can put big cardboard down below the car to absorb the oil.
    I like new car too. :)
    You should definitely keep an eye on price and figure out when is a good time to buy. It’s usually much cheaper at the end of the year especially if there is a new model coming out.

    • Lindy

      I’m glad I’m not alone in my new car love.

  • I’ve never bought a new car. I don’t know how it goes elsewhere but here in the UK, the second you drive a new car off the forecourt you lose money because it isn’t ‘new’ anymore. A lot of money. I bought a used car just over a year ago. It is 5 years old which is actually the ‘newest’ car we’ve ever bought! It needs to go to the garage for a small repair but, all told, since I’ve bought it I’ve had to spend about £200 (including the repair coming up) in repairs/maintenance. The car cost less than 30% of its original price so I consider it a bargain, £200 on repairs included. I am in the process of trying to work out how to put back a small amount each month to go on repairs and keeping it in good condition!

    • Lindy

      Yep, it’s the same way here with cars losing value as soon as you drive off the lot.

      You’re right, car repair costs aren’t so bad if you’re not making a car payment.

  • Anne

    I bought a used car for the first time. (This doesn’t count the ‘PEP’ vehicles I bought when I worked for an auto company.)

    You can go on and search all the used cars for sale in your area. It will give you all the details on these cars. Then you can check out the Carfax report. This tells you all the owners and all the repairs the car has had. I found a car at a dealership that had one owner and low miles. It actually gives you so much more information than I was able to get before.

    Happy hunting!!

  • Gaffer tape Lindy!
    My good mate is a maintainenece engineer for an Airline that shall remain nameless. He reckons there are a million warning lights in the cockpit of a Jumbo and only half a million of those are important. The pilots won’t take off no matter how much it’s explained to them that the warning light that notifies you that you are out out of Loo paper in toilet # 3 is on. So a micro-dot of gaffer tape gives everyone peace of mind :-)

    • Lindy

      Haha. Tape sounds like a great solution. I figure since the engine light consistently goes on and off once a week, and the car hasn’t blown to bits yet, I might be okay.

  • I’m still on the fence between leasing and buying a second hand car, the last car I bought that was 7 years old cost the same amount to run over it’s 2 year lifespan as a brand new BMW on lease. Would have been far nicer to be driving a BMW around!

  • yup, you have the makings of a hooptie.

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