Monday, May 3, 2010

There's no Trading In this Chassis

I am a new car person. I've heard the argument dozens, if not hundreds, of times about how financially wasteful it is to go into a new car dealership every seven to eight years and plunk down my hard earned cash for a car that reads "0" on the odometer, but I don't care.

I have my reasons, for wanting a new car and it has nothing to do with breathing in that new car smell (which is probably bad for you anyway), or having a shiny new car.

You see, I just like to get in my car, put gas in it, make my monthly payments, and do some minor regular maintenance like oil changes.
Older cars are drama queens--they're always demanding attention and money. While it's probably cheaper to fix a transmission on a car with 100,000 miles then buy a new one, I've made the decision that I don't want the drama of breaking down on a superhighway the first day into a vacation and having an unexpected, unplanned large automotive repair bill.

I've gotten to that point with my current car, but its a rather sad decision for me. I'm currently driving a 2004 Volvo XC70 with just under 80,000 miles. Believe it or not, although it is a station wagon, it's my second favorite car, and definitely my favorite "MOMMobile" since I've had to start driving large vehicles that can haul large amounts of people and stuff.
My absolute favorite car of all time was the 1966 Mustang I drove in high school. No power brakes, no power steering--it drove like a tank, but man it was a cool car.

I love my Volvo, but it's drama queen tendencies have become pronounced of late. In the last two years I've had to spend over $1,500 on the brakes, another $1,300 when a tire went flat and it turned out that the tire had some how rusted onto the axle requiring a week in the shop and four new tires (we couldn't replace just the one that went flat), an $800 tune up, and $2,500 when the computer system that runs the ABS brakes went out (it was in the shop for a week then as well). Right now I've got the "Check Engine" light flashing although the shop is telling me it's just something wrong in the circuitry and I've been waiting for the part to correct that for over two weeks.
So, this weekend my husband and I headed out to the dealerships looking at new cars. It would be simple if Volvo still made the same car I now drive--I'd simply buy another one. But since I bought my car, Volvo has gone a bit downhill. The XC70 has gone from being a luxury wagon to an expensive Taurus, and, Volvo no longer sells it with a jump seat, so I can only get five people in it.

I'm bringing up this whole car saga because our bodies are a lot like cars. They run fairly well with minimal maintenance and care for a number of years, and then all sorts of unplanned and expensive shit starts to happen. But, unlike a car, you can't just get a new one. You have to deal with what you got. So while a car may need new brakes, you may need a new knee.

And, like a car, the kind of repairs that you'll need to do can be minimized with good maintenance. Take care of those regular oil changes, and you'll avoid expensive engine problems later on.

Yes, like older cars, older bodies are drama queens. There's always an achy shoulder, a sore knee or some female or male organ that demanding attention. But, we can minimize some of the drama with good maintenance. The most important maintenance you can do on your body is maintaining an appropriate weight and exercising. Excessive weight can lead to diabetes, cardiac issues and cancer. So watch your weight and avoid the drama.


  1. Humming Taps for the old car.

    I'm a Honda girl myself. Though I wish they made a wagony type of thing with the option of extra seating. Right now I have 2 cars and 1 driver while DS gets warmed up-- Odyssey and a Civic.

  2. I'm also a new car kinda gal. As long as they're reliable, I keep them.