I mentioned on a recent Friday’s Fave Five that we got a new car at the end of the year. We were going to need to replace our van some time in the near future, and my husband went down to the dealership we were considering to see if they had any end-of-the-year sales that would make it worthwhile to go ahead and get a car. They did, and the salesman was eager enough to sell that my husband got pretty much everything he wanted. Plus, since we didn’t absolutely have to get a car right now, when the negotiations weren’t going the way my husband wanted, he could honestly and without remorse and coercion walk away. That, we discovered, was a good position to negotiate from. I’m glad he likes doing that kind of thing. I hate it – I want to know the sale price and any discounts available and be done with it. But because he likes that kind of interaction, we’ve gotten some great deals along the way.
I don’t remember how old our old van is – maybe 18 or so years? Old enough that it has a cassette tape player, and when it came out, keyless entry was the newest, coolest feature. The new one, of course, has all kinds of bells and whistles I need to get used to. Jim took me out to the car after he brought it home and showed where various things were. He set up what was needed for my phone to connect via bluetooth and play through the speakers (Yay!!) and showed me how to activate that and various other things.
I had driven the car briefly when he brought it home for a test drive, but I wanted my first solo voyage to be a very small and short excursion while I got used to it. I had to go to the post office yesterday, which provided a perfect opportunity.
The car starts with a push button, but requires that you have a “key” that connects wirelessly so that not just anyone can come start and drive your car. So I got in, got set, pushed the button — and everything came on except the engine. The windshield wipers were going full blast because it had been raining the last time we were out. I knew where the controls for it were, so I was turning everything on them that I could, but nothing was happening. I finally realized I had been fiddling with the controls for the back windshield wipers. But I couldn’t see what to do to turn off the front wipers. I accidentally moved the lever, and saw out of the corner of my eye something on the screen behind the steering wheel that said “Off, Int, Lo, Hi.” The setting moved when I moved the lever, so, voila, that’s how to turn the windshield wipers off. That sure seemed more complicated than it needed to be.
But I still had the problem of how to turn on the engine. I pushed the button again — nothing. I called my husband, but my call just went to voicemail. I got the manual out of the glove compartment, and you’d think “How to start your car” would be on the first page. But, no, I had to go searching for it and found it about halfway in. Turns out I have to have my foot on the brake pedal and then push the button, even though the car is in “park.” Success!
The car has a nifty back-up setting where it shows you what’s behind you and has little red and yellow lines to show you which way you need to go to back up. I had been looking forward to that feature, but I found it disorienting – when I turned the way I thought it was indicating, I went the opposite way. So I had to just ignore it and back out the old way, looking over my shoulder.
This car has many more warning beeps than I am used to – one for when you veer out of your line, proximity sensors on all sides so you know when you get to close to something, etc.
The actual driving was fine – except I kept stopping too suddenly. Have to get used to the feel of the new brakes.
I kept thinking this all probably looked like a scene in a sitcom. 🙂
I was glad my first excursion was a short one, because I was pretty rattled when I got home. 🙂
Earlier, when we were in the car together and my husband was driving, I got out the manual to flip through it, and was overwhelmed with too much information. What I probably need to do is just go sit with it in the garage and go through the manual page by page.
My kids love the learning curve with new technology. Me — not so much. I’m sure I’ll love everything once I get more familiar with it. But I hope my next drive goes more smoothy than the first.