In 2007, I was pleased with myself for approaching car shopping with a clear head. I wrote about it in this post. I’ve been very satisfied with my Toyota Yaris, and the local Toyota service department ever since.

My hubby’s Chevy Tracker is now giving off some serious signals that it’s not long for this world without investing a chunk of cash. For example, it sounds like it’s powered by a squirrel on a spinning wheel, and the “check engine” light comes on far too often for my comfort level. Its been dinged up in a couple of parking-lot fights, and it just generally feels kinda used and abused. The last thing I want is to have it die on us because then we’ll be in emergency mode, which does not lend itself to clear thinking. Jim’s busy season starts in April, which is, hmm… Thursday!!

Our finances are pretty balanced right now… I can pay the bills without tapping our “extras” account 95% of the time (which feels great). Buying another vehicle means we pick up a car payment (at least at first) because I don’t have the cash to pay outright. This is a bummer that weighs on me – while it seems most of America is neck-deep in debt, we’ve tried to keep it at a knee-deep level. When the tide starts to rise, I get uncomfortable.

Jim’s choice of profession requires him to have a small SUV to haul around his easels, tubs of  supplies, and other gear. My first research stop will be Google, to figure out what the top used SUVs are. And while Toyota has had some bad press lately, I’ve had no issues and they’re offering fantastic deals to woo buyers back to their brand, so the Rav 4 is looking pretty interesting.

Suggestions welcome. I’ll post again when there is something to report.