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Column: Vroom, vroom

69,683.

That’s how many wonderful miles my car and I have shared together over the past five years.

This week, my faithful Chrysler 200 and I will part ways, as a new Chevy Equinox and I begin getting acquainted for the long haul.

In some ways, I’m incredibly sad to hand over the keys to the vehicle that took me to high school graduation, to and from college, to my first home post college graduation, to my current home in Worthington and practically everything in between. On the other hand, knowing that I’ll have an easier time traveling on Minnesota’s winter-conditioned roads and more cargo space will make holding the tears back a little easier.

Despite the love and wonderful memories over the years, the car doesn’t have superpowers, as a Worthington blizzard this winter demonstrated so well to me. On a day where practically all of Worthington shut down, I left work voluntarily later than I should have. Due to the continuous snowfall, the roads had not been cleared, making it an interesting four-block trek from The Globe to my apartment. Just when I breathed a sigh of relief as I pulled into my apartment’s shared driveway and garages, the wheels decided to spin in place a mere 7 feet from my stall. I shoveled. I threw it in drive and reverse. I shoveled some more. I continued to rock it.

Thanks to my neighbor — who presumably watched my struggle — I was finally able to make it into the garage.

It was this moment where getting into a higher vehicle with four or all-wheel drive capabilities switched from a contemplation to a high probability.

My summer chore, so to speak, has been researching vehicles on the market today, price checking, comparing trade-in quotes and all the other joys that come with shopping for an item that makes a person visualize dollars circling down the drain.

I started my independent car shopping experience (my dad was highly involved in my first car purchase) with the notion that I would most definitely be purchasing a used — or the car salesman term “pre-owned” — vehicle. Errr. Wrong.

While it was difficult to compare apples to apples with vehicles — especially with pre-owned vehicles — it quickly became clear that new vehicles were comparatively priced or insignificantly more expensive after dealership incentives and rebates were applied. But with the newer year and zero miles, the vehicle clearly had much more value, which I’ll expect to see later when the time comes again to repeat.

In a mere five and a half hours (sigh) on Saturday, the deal was done. I had selected my new vehicle, bartered with the salesman, set up a ridiculously high-interest loan, begrudgingly purchased an extended warranty, heard the spiel about all the (more expensive) accessories I could put on it and learned about the vehicle’s technology (seriously, it’s got to be close to that of a spaceship).

After all that excitement, I had to end up leaving the darn thing there, in order for all the optional (but are they really?) protective sealants to be applied.

I’m excited to get into my new ride, but just like my car that I’ve adored, I’m prepared for new deficiencies, because there’s always something, right?

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