Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Tow Package Experience

Of course, ten days after I bought my truck, another dealer advertised that he got in 100 Dodge Ram 1500s and they are all on sale at a price slightly lower than what I paid. We are still grappling with the issue of installing a full tow package on the truck.

When we were first shopping for a truck, we were hesitant to buy the Ram 1500 since it didn't come with a complete tow package. There was all this miscommunication between the salesman and myself. I thought he had said they came fully equipped, but it turned out that they only came with the 7-pin hook up. There was no hitch, ball or brake controller. When I told the salesman I wanted a truck that came with the whole towing package, he said they don't sell any of them that way, but I could have the rest installed for about $150 in a couple of hours.

I decided I could deal with that, so I bought the truck. After I signed the check, the salesman bumped his estimate up to $200 to finish off the tow package. He recommended a place that was an hour's drive from my house, and I complained about all the time it will take out of my day. He offered to pick up the truck, take it to the place to be outfitted with a towing package, and then deliver it back to my house. I accepted his offer.

As I was getting ready to drive my new truck off the lot, the salesman said he'd call me to let me know when he'd be coming to pick up the truck. Several days passed and he finally called, but now the estimate for the complete tow package jumped up to $400. I asked if there was any place that could do better on that price, and he said he'd call around.

I waited several more days for him to get back to me, but he never did. I made some phone calls myself, and my husband researched ordering the parts over the Internet and installing the tow package himself. I called the truck salesman and he said he was really busy, but all the places he called were way more expensive than the place he was recommending. I knew he was lying. I suspect that the owner of this truck accessory shop is a friend of his, and he probably didn't bother to call any other businesses. However, he said that the $400 quote was a special deal that they only do for Dodge customers. I took that statement with a grain of salt, because by now this truck salesman had lost all his credibility with me.

I asked if he knew if that deal included a trailer brake control that is integrated into the dashboard, or something hanging down that I will hit my knee on. He said he didn't know and would have to get back to me. Several more days passed, and I figured I'd never hear from him again, but he did call back and said there are so many options that I should just take the truck into the accessory shop myself and talk with the owner.

So, that's how I spent my Saturday. Of course, the owner of the shop had to be long-winded. I appreciated that he was educating us on all the options, but my husband was getting impatient with the up-sell. The guy talked me into something that I can no longer remember the name of, and I agreed to get it until I found out that it would triple the cost and I had to bring my trailer in to be retrofitted too!

I freaked. I said, "Not only do I not have the time to keep coming back here because I don't live anywhere near here, but I'm trading in my trailer for a new one soon and that would just be a complete waste of money."

So, we got the estimate back down to $400 until the guy recommended that we install a solid bar hitch instead of a hollow bar hitch to help us increase our towing capacity. We were trying to get the truck outfitted with parts that would haul at least 9,000 pounds. Suddenly, that bumped the price up to $530.

However, when I found out that the hitch we had on the F150 was only rated for 5,000 pounds, everything suddenly made sense. I always had problems hauling uphill between that truck, the towing set up and the trailer we had. I wanted to get it right this time, so I was willing to pay the extra $130.

We thought we were just going to have to sit and read a book for an hour or two and then the truck would be ready, but the guy told me I'd have to bring the truck back on Tuesday, which is when they pick up their parts. Gah! I asked him if I could just leave it with him under the circumstances since we had traveled so far, and since Tuesday is the only day of the week that I work. He agreed.

I'm hoping that when I pick up the truck next week, everything will just work and there won't be any issues. The accessory salesman had me sit in his truck, which was similar to mine, and move the seat forward to where I can reach the pedals to see if my knee would be hitting the brake control. It did. So, he's going to try to install it under the middle of the dashboard low enough where it won't interfere with the fold-out cup holder. I'm also hoping the rest of the process will be seamless, because I still have to get the truck registered, and that's going to be another entire day out of my life driving into the city and standing in line at the DMV. I guess the good news is that once I get past all this stuff I won't have to do it again for another 12 years at least.

I read an interesting quote in a book I'm reading (slowly, very slowly). It was something along the line that the things we own end up owning us. I find that to be so true. I bought a new vehicle, so now it owns my time, money and energy, because I have to get it accessorized how I need it to be, I had to spend a lot of time on the phone with the insurance company getting it insured, and now I have to wait in line at the DMV to get it registered. I'll have to wash it, gas it up, get it oil changes and do other maintenance.

The quote applies well to horse ownership as well. I don't think anyone gets a horse for the purpose of shoveling manure, yet most of us spend way more time cleaning up after our horses than we do riding them. So, who owns who?


Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Very profound statements, NM. And so true, too. Makes ya think...


fernvalley01 said...

I think you may be right , I am proudly owned by my horses and dogs, and cows and ... Hope there is enough of me to go around!

fernvalley01 said...

BTW like the new look

Caitlin said...

I too am totally owned by my horse. Accepted this job and it's location because of my horse. Continued to work a second job so I could better support owning a horse and afford to buy a truck and trailer which I now have payments and maintenance. About to buy a whole new saddle and spend money that is probably needed else where... because of a horse. Do so many things for my horse that I only get ten hours a week tops with her but those ten hours make my 60-80 hour work week worth it.

Mikey said...

Yep, I'm liking the new look too. Easy to read on this color.
Good quote about things we own owning us. FOR SURE. I spend more time cleaning than riding and I'm not happy about it. My problem stems from the 7 yr old kid who doesn't pick things up. Some days I swear I'm the ONLY person who picks anything up and all I do bend over all day. After a day of that my back hurts so bad there's no hope of riding, just enough time to soak in a hot bath. The other night by the time I got to feeding the dogs, I bent down into the dog food bag and couldn't get back up. I ended up just sobbing into the bag until I could pull myself together.
Changes must be made....

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Caitlin - You bring up a point that could consist of a whole 'nother series of posts. I've been having a lot of people laying guilt trips on me for spending money, and sometimes I think I should just find new homes for the horses, sell the truck, trailer, tack, etc. and live like everyone else. But the reality is that when I'm smiling and laughing or learning something profound, it is almost always triggered through interactions with my horses.

Mikey - The good news is that Mercy is approaching the age when she will learn to be of more help. In the meantime, if you can't ride because you are picking up after her, then perhaps she can learn the consequence of her not being about to ride until she has picked up after herself. I know that's only a drop in the bucket in all the responsibilities you have, but I figure it's easier to train a kid to clean up after herself than the dogs, horses and cattle. (I used to be a parenting educator. Can you tell?)

Leah Fry said...

Love the new look.

I think we all are owned by our horses. They are the quintessential money pits. I wouldn't want to figure out how much they cost PER RIDE, which for me is only once a week (mostly).

achieve1dream said...

I'm another one who is proud to be owned by my horse. I tried to live without horses like everyone else for two years and I was absolutely miserable!!

I hope everything worked out well on the tow package.