On February 9, 2012, I inadvertently became a mom. Rewind a day before, my car had broke down as I approached the exit ramp on my way to school. Something was wrong with the radiator and it kept overheating. There was a lot of smoke coming from the hood of my car. As a stereotypical dumb girl who knew absolutely nothing about cars, I panicked. I called my friends crying because I was going to be late to class and I had no idea what to do. They skipped class and drove over to where I was stranded on the side of the road, looked at my car and helped slowly get it to the nearest auto shop to get looked at. We could only drive it like a quarter of a mile at a time because it kept overheating and we had to wait for it to cool down before we could continue on.
Long story short, that car was pretty much done for. It was an old 1993 Toyota Camry mom had bought off a coworker for $300 so there’s not much I could expect out of it. My car before that had broken down too and was also an old used car. I was upset because I didn’t intend on getting a new car so soon. I wanted to wait til graduation to finally buy myself my first brand new car with my big girl pharmacy salary money. And graduation was about 3 months away still. I was afraid I couldn’t afford it so soon because I was still making intern pay at CVS and only working about 2 days a week on my days off from school. But of course, God had other plans for me. It’s funny because in the weeks before this happened, I kept seeing Camaros everywhere. And I was constantly talking about them with my then-boyfriend now-husband and friends. It was like God was sending me signs. And then my car broke down and I had no choice but to look into getting another car asap.
I skipped class that day because I was already stressed and worried enough and went straight to car shopping with the boy that afternoon. At first I thought about getting a cheap used car to tide me over until graduation but in the end, I was talked out of that. Did I really want another unreliable used car that could potentially break down on me in another few months before graduation? A brand new car would be free of problems, at least for a little while, compared to a used car that might be more of a wild card. I might as well bite the bullet and get a brand new car now and suck it up and make the payments before I finally upgraded to pharmacist pay and then it would be fine. I would just struggle for a bit but as long as I budgeted and was smart about my paycheck, I should be able to make it happen.
So I did. I walked in looking for a car that day and the very next day, I drove out and back to school with my very own brand new black 2012 Chevy Camaro. I’ll be honest about my car too because I really don’t care that much about status. It’s a base model. It only has a ZL1 hood because I got into an accident years later and when the body shop patched it up, my husband decided we should throw the ZL1 hood onto it instead of the regular one. I didn’t care about what’s under the hood, how fast it goes, etc, because let’s face it, I’m not a car girl. I just care that it gets me from point A to point B and that it looks nice. And I needed it to be affordable. Plus I was a brand new driver to begin with the insurance rates are not too kind if I had gone with a faster, more loaded model. So base model it was. I wasn’t mad.
Actually I loved my car. For the first few years, I took such good car of her. I hand washed her several times a month in the spring to fall months, whenever I had a day off from work and the weather was nice. I even used the good stuff since the boy is a big car enthusiast so he has all the expensive car cleaning products from the good soap, wheel cleaner, wax, rain-x, the best auto glass cleaner, the works. I kept nothing in my car either so it was always nice and clear whenever friends got into my car for a trip. When I went places, I would park far away from everyone to avoid car dings and dents.
But as years went on, I got lazier and lazier. I don’t wash my car as often anymore and if I do, I run through the car wash because I don’t have time to spare for it. And I gave up after a while with the dings and dents because no matter how isolated I try to park, some asshole will always try to park next to me or some dumb kid will carelessly swing open their door regardless of how much space I leave in between. My car is actually still in decent condition given what it’s went through, through the years.
I’ve also learned the hard way that dealerships are assholes, obviously. They’re only helpful when trying to sell you your car, but when you have an issue you need to get fixed, over time, they’ll try to push all the liability onto you if something breaks down and try to fight the warranties they once argued you’ll be covered under.
I bought my car from Eagle Chevrolet in Riverhead and let me tell you, the service department is terrible to deal with. Jamie is probably the only professional one, but Rich is the nasty, royally unprofessional and rude manager.
A few years ago, I brought my car in mutiple times in the past for the same problems and they kept claiming nothing was wrong and nothing could be done till my issues got worst even though I told them my passengers did not feel safe in the car after they experienced how it drove on the highway with acceleration issues. So there's that for their concern for customer safety. They're pretty much just waiting for you to die.
They gave me a rental car, but failed to mention at the time it was given to me that I had to pay for it if they did no repairs on my car under warranty. Of course, they lie every which way so they don't have to do the work and pay for anything. Had I known, I would not have taken the rental car obviously. But then they lied about that too and claimed I was told when the car was given to me when the person telling me this wasn't even present at the time the car was given to me. I was originally reassured twice by Jamie and the rental car company I wasn't paying for anything, but stupid me didn't realize they were gonna lie and cheat. So much for trust in companies and good customer service. When I tried to speak to the manager Rich about my experience, he was rude and rushed me out without so much as giving me a minute to speak or make any good faith effort to resolve anything. He also gives you a fake name and number to their higher manager, who obviously doesn't call you back to resolve anything. Yup. Great company. Superb.
Bottom line, don't ever go here. You'll regret it.
I tried a different Chevy dealership in a different town and they were a little nicer and helpful but still didn’t restore any faith in dealerships, unfortunately. In the end, I started taking my car to a different non-dealership shop for repairs every time an issue came up for maintenance and various wear and tear repairs over time.
Recently though, this past week my car started acting up again. This time, I was due for new brakes and rotors. Unfortunately every time my car is in need of something, it ends up being a huge bill. I left my car in the shop for the past day and when I got it back this morning, the mechanic said something funny to me. “It’s a beautiful car. It’s a shame they just announced this morning they’re discontinuing it.” I thought it was interesting because I do love my car but my own personal experience with the Camaro consisted of a lot of issues that Chevy wouldn’t stand behind and fix. So needless to say, my next car will NOT be a Chevy. I said this to my mechanic and it’s funny because he didn’t disagree. He agreed that the car is a beautiful car but he definitely sees it in the shop pretty often for repairs and heard stories about Chevy not standing by their products.
I absolutely love my car, don’t get me wrong. She’s my baby and has gotten me everywhere. I’ve taken her on road trips all over the East coast with friends and family. She’s gotten me everywhere I’ve needed to be but she’s not foolproof. It’s rear wheel drive so this is absolutely no fun in bad weather and snow, even with snow tires. I can’t tell you how many scares I’ve had in my life trying to get unstuck out of the snow and how many moments where I thought YUP, THIS IS IT. THIS IS HOW I GO. I had the scare of my life this past winter as I thought I was going to spin out and fly off the bridge on the way to work as I got stuck in a freak snowstorm that came on out of nowhere and got worse on my commute to work in mere minutes.
I’m not exactly sure when I’ll finally start seriously looking and committing to a new car. I’ve been saying it for the past 3 years I need to get an adult big girl car that will get me safely to work in the winter but so far I’ve been putting it off because I don’t want to take on another monthly payment just yet after finally finishing paying off the Camaro last spring. Ideally I want to wait til my student loans are over in about 3 years but I don’t think I can gamble another 3 years on the Camaro in the snow. So it’ll probably be sooner than later. I just keep biding my time and getting lucky but one of these winters I know will not be so kind.
I known I’m going to miss her when she’s gone though. I really do love my car despite her shortcomings. It’s funny because a few of my friends and family worried about me driving a Camaro when I first got it. The car is a literal tank. There’s almost no window space so there’s massive blind spots all around. You have to really train yourself with your mirrors and be more observant when passing and estimating distances and how much room you have and take more caution when trying to park this boat. And I’m short as is so I was already at a disadvantage sight-wise. But I really wanted this car in the beginning and you know what they say when you want something bad enough. I trained myself to be able to drive this beast and know my way around its nooks and crannies and all its curves and edges, all her perfect imperfections.
I made a video a few years ago with Chris Lobello and it showcased parts of my car in it and I still absolutely love it to this day, even though my mom still lectures me for it being highly inappropriate, hahaha. She called me after she saw it to tell me I wasn’t “old enough to do such things.” The next day she called and asked when I would be getting pregnant so she could expect her grandkids. Mom logic.
What was your first car?!