You learn a lot about cars when yours is falling apart.
Replacing the steering column will cost how much!? And… what’s a steering column again?
Hi, I’m Abby: proud owner of a sensible, no-frills, 15-year-old sedan. My odometer reading – drumroll please – is 158,761 miles… and counting.
When you have an old car, you never know if you’re rooting for it or against it. For months, I’ll admit, I hoped the old bag would just die already. On sub-zero winter mornings when the engine would take its sweet time to turn over, I’d think, “This is it! I’m finally free!”
But, remarkably and predictably, she’d start. Every time.
Since then, I’ve learned to appreciate her resilience. We’ve reached a mutual understanding: If I accept her as she is, she’ll take me to where I need to go. And then, there’s her ultimate bargaining chip: Stick with me and you won’t be tied down with a car payment!
I’ll give her that. She’s the No. 1 reason I’ve made any progress on my student loans.
That being said: Relationships are about compromise. My friends have zippy hatchbacks with killer sound systems. Meanwhile, I’m driving around with a six-figure odometer reading and these loveable quirks:
- The horn sounds like a Canada goose getting the wind knocked out of it.
- The air conditioning works, but only if it rains. (Do I call a mechanic or a witch doctor?)
- The fuel gauge is functional, but only sometimes, and never when it’s convenient.
- There is a large dent in the rear passenger’s side door that resembles Abraham Lincoln’s face.
OK, that last one is a bit of a stretch. But in my defense, the dent has a remarkably strong jawline.
My car inspection is due later this year. I hope and I fear it’ll be our deciding moment – that we’ve come to the end of the road on our journey together. After all, this is the first car I’ve ever had titled in my name. I’ve grown attached.
Cars are like parentheses on certain phases of our lives, aren’t they? She’s taken me to job interviews, apartment walk-throughs, and the adoption kennel where I met my dog. She’s hauled countless loads of groceries from every passing superfood fad. (I won’t miss you, kale chips.)
Whatever comes next better be feisty and durable enough to carry me through everything my 30’s will bring.
I’m open-minded on the make and model. My only request is that the horn doesn’t sound like waterfowl.