The stress of buying a vehicle was almost nonexistant when we got another car this week. We bought it from a private owner. My wife saw the ad in the local newspaper for a 1997 Subaru Legacy. It had low mileage and was being sold to settle an estate. Ironically, my son and I were out for a run later in the day and saw the same car. It was parked on a residential street with a For Sale sign on the back, side and front. I paid no attention to it but my son insisted we stop and take a look. He will be driving in six months.

"I think this is the same car your mother saw in the paper this morning." I said.

When we got home she had the paper opened to the ad and asked me if I would call. I said I would think about it. After a quick trip to the store for a gallon of milk I thought, what the hell, and dailed the number. I got the answering machine and left a message. He called back early the next day. I was on my way to work so my wife went and took it for a ride. I drove it later that day and after looking it over decided we would buy it.

Flashback: We are taking a long trip for vacation this summer and we didn't trust the two vehicles we had to go any great distance. We will be traveling about 3000 miles total. So we decided to look for something better.

I told the owner I would write him out a check for (10 percent less than what he was asking). Total deafening silent response. I always come in low with the first offer even if the price is firm. He finally said, "How about if I make a counter offer?"

I told him to go for it. I was waiting for it anyway and he went halfway between the asking price and my offer. I bit. It was still a good deal. We arranged to transfer the title the next morning at the AAA office. AAA is the best place to go and transfer your title. They have it all arranged so that the vehicle is registered at the state capital, home of the Department of Transportation, in about five minutes. We were in and out of there with a new licence plate for the car and all the paper work complete in 20 minutes.

Everybody was happy and it was actually fun. I called the insurance company to add the new car onto our policy. We will see an increase since it will be replacing a 1997 Chevy S10 pickup truck which is a most basic form of transportation. Now we have to find someone to buy the truck.

If anyone is interested it's parked out in front of the house with a For Sale sign in the window. Stop by and kick the tires, test the shocks and take a peak underneath if you know what you're looking for. I always look under the hood as I did when checking our new Subaru. I don't know what I'm looking for. As long as the engine is there it looks good to me.