My hubby gets very attached to his cars. Not in the sense that he names them or talks to them – but he does baby them and has a strange belief that all of his cars communicate with each other – especially when they are ‘sick’.
We never trade in a car for a new one. Instead, we drive the car until it is either no longer financially feasible to fix it (which in Pat’s belief is never really an option) or the poor car can no longer BE repaired because there is absolutely no way to fix what is wrong with it.
A better way to explain this is to tell the recent story of our 2005 Chrysler 300. The 300 was a good car for us. We drove it everywhere – as did our children. The 300 has actually been to places I have yet to visit – like New York City, Ontario and Niagara Falls. It also took a trip to Dallas without me. Before you get freaked out thinking my car is possessed, be assured that it was accompanied by at least one of my children and their friends. It was the safest car we owned at the time and I wanted to make sure they made it home in one piece.
Over the years, we have racked up over 300,000 miles on this beauty. We had some maintenance costs – but nothing major. Pat religiously changed the oil using synthetic oil every 6000 miles. He kept it tuned up, rotated the tires and made sure the 300 ran at its optimal level. However, an old car is an old car – and after 250,000 miles, I was not comfortable taking it on long trips any longer because I just didn’t know when it was going to finally stop – and with my luck it would be in the center lane of the interstate at rush hour. So, we bought a new car. We didn’t trade in the 300 on the new vehicle because at this point it wasn’t worth much – and Pat firmly believes we can always use an extra car – which is usually true.
Pat only drove the 300 once a week, but it was starting to show its age. About three months ago, the battery decided it just wasn’t going to be useful any longer – so we had to replace it. I argued with Pat that I didn’t want to put $175 into a car with close to 300,000 miles on it. I really felt it was time to call the tow truck from the junkyard to haul it off. Pat disagreed with my assessment and purchased the battery, breathing new life into the old beast.
Things were fine until the week before Christmas when I received a call from our daughter who had borrowed the 300 because her van was working properly. She was in a panic because the car had worked perfectly the night before, but when she went out the driveway in the morning it appeared that the car had a ‘broken leg’ and the front tire was laying down. I was pretty sure this was the end of the 300, but Pat insisted on having it towed to our mechanic to find out if anything could be done to revive the old heap. He was not giving up yet. He knew the car would survive – and besides if he let the 300 go, in its dying breath, it would send out communications to the other cars in the family and try to coax them to join it in the afterlife.
Alas, the news from the mechanic was not good. After telling us that we were very, very lucky to not have been in a wreck with the car, our mechanic indicated that he could bring the car back to life – but since the whole front end had basically fallen off, it would be expensive – $2300 expensive! Pat actually considered this for a full 30 minutes before giving the mechanic his final answer – he was going to let the 300 go to its final resting place at the junkyard.
Pat took pictures of the car, cleaned it out thoroughly, took out the new battery to be transplanted into another vehicle and bid the 300 a sad goodbye as the tow truck came and took it away.
As I started the new car to drive away, it gave a little sputter before it started – and Pat turned to me to say “See, that damn 300 is already trying to get the other cars to join it!”