Right before Emerson was born I told y'all about a few of my dream vehicles. I had plans for us to drive our little 4 Runner until we moved back to the States where we could then proceed to buy any car that we wanted.
Unfortunately those plans went right out the window when we found out that we couldn't bring our 4 Runner here. They don't allow imports older than 5 years so we had to sell it in Africa. Once we arrived we went through the long, ardous process of finding a car to buy here. Let me tell you- it was a total pain in the neck! But after about 6 weeks we were finally able to find something that we loved. I didn't really have anything in particular in mind when we started looking- I just knew that I wanted something safe for Emerson because the drivers here a are crazy. But once I saw this car I just knew it was the one for us. Plus the price couldn't be beat! The owner seemed trustworthy enough and we just felt good about the whole deal.
We jumped through plenty of hoops to get our dollars converted to dirhams and to get the paperwork transferred over, but about 10 days later we were finally the owners of our new (to us) Volvo XC90.
Unfortunately our little dream bubble burst the very next day when we took it in for the inspection to get it registered and it failed due to faulty shocks. We had that repaired for a small fee and then we were on our way.
The car drove great and I loved the feeling that Emerson was super safe! But then one day I was taking her to a playgroup and the power steering went out. I won't even tell you how much it cost to fix it because you would probably cry.
From that point on it just seemed like one little thing after the other. We quickly realized that our dream car was actually a lemon. We also learned that Volvos are not good as lemons because they are quite costly to repair. It's even worse here because there is only one place in the entire city that will do any work on them so they can pretty much charge whatever they want. Luckily we knew that we would only have to drive the car for another year and then we would be able to sell it and start fresh.
Around May we noticed that two of the tires seemed to be losing air quite regularly. Jesse took it in to have it checked out thinking that we probably just needed new tires. But no! That would have been too easy. Instead we learned that the rims had begun corroding due to the extreme heat. They had microscopic holes in them that were allowing air to leak through. We were then quoted a price to replace the rims. Talk about sticker shock. We honestly could have bought a small used car for the price we would have pay to replace the rims and tires.
Luckily, we were able to do a quick repair in the hopes that we could hold off until it was time to sell it (with full disclosure to the buyers, of course!) Unfortunately that meant that the tires needed air about every 4 days. It was such a hassle but we were relieved we didn't have to spend a semester's worth of E's college fund to fix it.
Around October we finally decided we had enough and put the car up for sale. We knew we wanted to sell it quickly so we advertised it way below what we bought it for. We took into account all of it's issues and priced it accordingly. Since it's not up to American specs we knew we couldn't import it back to the US so we just wanted to get rid of it and move on. Of course, it didn't quite work that way.
We had lots of people come look at it but they all kept giving us these crazy, lowball offers. I think they thought we were dumb Americans or something and that we would just take whatever they offered. By the beginning of December we were starting to get nervous. We certainly didn't want to have to worry about trying to sell it after we left but we also didn't want to take such a low amount just to get it off our hands.
As time went on we noticed more and more things seemed to be going wrong. The tires were losing air faster than ever and it seemed to be making all kinds of groans and creaks every time we drove. The replace headlamp light came on even though the lights were all working and the oil change light came on. We honestly felt like we were driving a ticking time bomb that was about to cost us a whole lot of money! It was stressful and nerve wracking and all we could think about was getting rid of that darn car.
Our prayers were finally answered this week when we received an acceptable offer and we were able to get rid of our little lemon. We definitely didn't make any money or even come close to covering all of the repairs we had to do over the last year and a half but at least we know that we no longer have to worry about it. The little lemon that couldn't is officially dead and gone (to us, anyway) It's a huge relief and our last big to-do before we head home.
Throughout our journey with our junker we learned some pretty important lessons:
1. We will never, ever, ever buy another Volvo. Now I know that there are many Volvo fans out there and that lots of them run for years and years without a single issue. I honestly think that we were just the unfortunate souls who got one of the rare lemons. It doesn't matter though. Our view of Volvos are officially tainted. Never. Ever.
2. If we ever go overseas again we will bring our own car. Not being able to bring our 4 runner threw us for a loop but if we could do it all over again we would have bought another car in the States in between our two posts and brought it with us. Isn't hindsight always 20/20?
3. We are Toyota fans for life. Before the Volvo we owned 6 different Toyotas ranging from years models 1994 to 2006. We never had a single issue with any of them!
I'm sure you can guess what kind of car we plan on buying when we move back. Hint: It's NOT a Volvo.