Suck it, Dealership

We bought a minivan! Yay! … (crickets chirping…)

I don’t get why minivans have such bad PR. I drove one for years and loved it. Then I sold it because I thought I needed something fancier for my real estate business. This was a few months before we found Mr. Money Mustache. Dammit. Coulda saved us a lot of money if we read that just a little bit sooner. Oh well. We then promptly sold that fancy car to get out from under such a silly car payment and have been driving our paid off 2010 Prius and a rotating assortment of whatever P.O.S car my husband has most recently “scored” from some “sucker” that was about to trade it in for “like nothing”. I tease, but really, he gets some excellent deals and we definitely come out ahead on them.

I missed having a minivan because they are just such practical tools. I’m always doing home improvement projects on our own house or one of the rentals and I need to transport drywall or lawnmowers or a tree. I haul furniture and stuff for open houses. I have kids that have friends. We go on vacation with friends and like to share parking-at-the-airport expenses. We go camping in terrain that isn’t always ideal for tents. (Also, we don’t have a tent). We go to Sunriver with extra kids and need to bring lots of stuff and bikes… You get the idea.

Well, I bought an old Town and Country off Craigslist and it’s dead sexy. It has super rugged, all terrain tires and a rack with a storage box on top that already has snowboard brand stickers all over it so I can look way cooler than I am. It’s not so much a van as a “rig”. (shut up) BUT- it only came with one key. So every single time I walk through a parking lot near a sewer grate, I feel my fingers spontaneously start to twitch like they can’t be trusted to keep a secure grip on my ONE key. I wouldn’t have that problem if I had two, of course.  Needing a new key totally sucks because it’s approximately $1,000,000.00 to order a new one with the special chip and all the remote buttons from the dealership. Actually, it was going to cost $267.00. Still ridiculous.

Before we got into the F.I. thing, we had just sucked it up and paid the dealership because, that’s just what you had to do. But now we question everything. So I called my mechanic for suggestions. He said to call a locksmith. So I did. They can totally do it but but they still supply a retail priced key before programming. This got my cost down to $190.00. Much better. I posted my finding on one of our F.I. Facebook groups and someone suggested buying the blank keys on Ebay or Amazon. Bam! I got two brand new, well reviewed, identical to factory keys from Ebay for $25.00! Locksmith says he’ll cut and program one of them for me for $75.00 for a grand total of $100.00! Now we have a savings of $167.00 and we are supporting a small local business instead of the big, evil dealership. Winning!

One note of caution- The locksmith says that he can’t give me a warranty on his work because he didn’t order the key himself. The risk being that there are lots of shady sellers online and it might be a faulty unit. I did see plenty of reviews that supported this concern while shopping. I did purchase the keys from a top rated seller on ebay with great, current reviews and very few negative reviews. To save $90.00, I decided it was a reasonable risk for a back up key. I will be using the new key exclusively now so that I can report back on whether or not I made the right call. The seller I used was remotesupermarket.

Now, I’m told that if we had two factory keys, we could program it ourselves and only have to pay for the cutting. But we only have one so that’s no help to us. So for those of you that still have two and you wanna be extra prepared, go ahead and make a back up for extra cheap.

Yeah right. You’ll wait until you need one. But now you know. 🙂

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