Should I contact my ex-boyfriend for help with buying a car?
September 24, 2010 10:24 AM   Subscribe

I’m looking to buy my first (used) car, but feeling kind of overwhelmed by the process. I don’t really have anyone in my life who is car-savvy. Is it a bad idea to ask my ex for advice or help?

My ex-boyfriend was quite knowledgeable about cars, and I'm considering contacting him to ask for his advice on car models or places to buy from.

We were together for over 8 years and broke up amicably 5 years ago; the last time we spoke to each other was almost two years ago. I have no idea what he’s up to these days.

My current boyfriend is wonderful, but he’s not a car guy like the ex was.

Would it be weird for me to contact my ex and ask him for help after all this time?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Not weird, per se, but I get irritated when exes who I have not spoken with in some time contact me because they want something. Sometimes it can feel like I am being used. (This can be irritating when platonic friends do it too, but I think it's much worse with exes). If you care about your relationship with this person, ask your questions here instead, and call or e-mail him sometime soon just to catch up, with no thought of following it up with a request for help this time.
posted by grouse at 10:31 AM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'd find it weird if my ex contacted me for something like this. There are plenty of online resources to figure out best bets in used cars and lots of information about what to do with your candidate cars in order to make sure you're not getting a lemon. Pony up for a subscription. it's money well spent. Once you find a car you want take it to a mechanic or take a mechanic to the car to get it checked out. Then it's down to negotiating for the car.
posted by FlamingBore at 10:31 AM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

If all you are going to do is ask him for his help in picking out/buying a car, then no, it's not weird. I guess I'm a little unclear as to why this is anonymous as we, the green, could help you figure out what type/model of car you should get.

It might be a little weird to email him out of the blue after not talking to him for 2 years, but that's up to you.

If you could ask a mod to post your needs, then we could help recommend cars. From there, your ex boyfriend could help make sure you pick the right one, and not get fleeced.

My recommendation is that whatever you do decide to buy, make sure you take it to a garage you trust and have them look it over before you buy.
posted by TheBones at 10:32 AM on September 24, 2010

It seems to me like it'd be a better life strategy to do some research and learn how to pick out cars for yourself, rather than calling up someone you don't actually have a relationship with and asking him to basically do it for you. Car-buying is a little daunting, but totally doable even if you're not a mechanic - there are a ton of resources out there. (And the green is totally one of them.)
posted by restless_nomad at 10:59 AM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

If it's amicable and advising people on cars is something he would generally get excited about I'd say go for it!
posted by The Biggest Dreamer at 10:59 AM on September 24, 2010

I feel like a whole lot of mess can be avoided by just taking a car you're particularly interested in to a mechanic. There are also people you can hire to check out cars for you on-site. Like Elemonators in Portland, OR. They talked somebody out of buying my sort-of-crappy car once.
posted by smirkyfodder at 11:00 AM on September 24, 2010

I would be hurt if you called and asked for just computer help. If you actually cared about me and wanted to be friends it might be different

(substitute cars for computers)
posted by lakerk at 11:01 AM on September 24, 2010

You can do this! No need to call your ex. Do it as outlined in this justly favorited comment.
posted by ocherdraco at 11:01 AM on September 24, 2010

It's not terrible, but I'd prefer not to--and it seems you would prefer this, too.

Luckily, asking questions about buying a used car is one of the many things Ask MetaFilter is good for.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 12:08 PM on September 24, 2010

I'm this person for Apple-related stuff with one ex, and it's totally fine with me. I get an email or IM every year or two about tech support or buying advice and I do what I can to help. But I also see this person every year or two more or less continually since we broke up (and was invited to + happily attended her wedding), so it clearly isn't a stressful or tenuous post-relationship-friendship. Ultimately, there just aren't hard and fast rules about this.

I will say, though, that car buying is a much more involved process than picking a computer. Do consider how much help you think you really need. Are you looking for someone to go to dealers with you and help negotiate or just someone to recommend reliable brands or models to look into? The more you're asking of them, the more uncomfortable it gets. Given that you haven't been in touch, I think you shouldn't expect more than a few emails of advice from your ex. Actually being accompanied to see specific cars and go on test drives is probably too much to ask, especially since you'll need to decide if you're bringing along your current boyfriend, too. Basically, don't ask of your ex anything you wouldn't ask of a friend you hadn't talked to in two years, because otherwise you're trying to use your former relationship as leverage and that's not a great idea.
posted by heresiarch at 12:54 PM on September 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

I get emails and IMs from people I haven't spoken to in months and sometimes years asking for computer help. I'm good enough to talk to when they need something from me, but otherwise don't even get an occasional "hey, how are you, how have you been?".

Pretty annoying. I tend to brush these people off, I've got better things to do.
posted by Brian Puccio at 5:54 AM on September 25, 2010

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