The Cockroach Lives

4 12 2008

Back in ’01 I inherited a six-year-old car with 20,000 miles on it.  It still had the new car smell.  So Karen drove it to work – about a half mile away – for three years.  Then we moved to our current location, where Karen’s job is a bit farther away.  So now we have a thirteen (soon to be fourteen) year old car with not quite 90,000 miles.  Works for me.

Last year it needed over $700 in repairs.  It needed four new tires – oh yeah.  These were apparently the original tires to the car.  “These tires haven’t been manufactured since ’98” they told me.  I also needed to replace the exhaust system.  The muffler had rusted out and was dragging on the ground.  I hated spending all this money on a car that was ready to die anyway.  In frustration I told Karen “When this car fails inspection next year I’m getting rid of it!”  To be honest I was a little excited to replace the old girl.  I started looking at Jettas.

This year came and the car passed inspection.  No repairs needed.  Crestfallen, I collected my perfectly working Grandma car from the mechanic.  We’ll be driving her another year it seems.  I started calling this car “The Cockroach” because it refuses to die.

But then our OTHER car started giving us problems.  Our family car, you know, the minivan?  One headache after the other, and now that we have four little boys it is a very big deal when the van is in the shop.  So now we’re thinking that we might replace it before getting rid of the cockroach.  Then comes Thanksgiving weekend 2008 and she won’t start.

No!!  Take the van instead!!

But no worries, we had it towed to the mechanic and $200 later she’s back on her feet, er, wheels.  He told me “It looked like this car had never had a tune up – ever.”  He’s right.  But now that she’s entering her twilight years I think we’ll put a little more effort into preventative maintenance.

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10 responses

4 12 2008
Dawn

90,000 miles and NEVER a tune up? Grandpa would be very disappointed. The best part about that car is the old lady veloury seats. You should keep it alive specifically so that Isaac can pick up his prom date in it.

4 12 2008
Mark

I don’t know if you this but tires last roughly about six years from the day they are manufactured.

If you click on the link below, it will bring up a picture of a finger pointing to numbers on a tire. Look at the last four digits on the tire.

The first two digits indicate the week of the year it was manufactured. The last two digits indicate the year that the tire was manufactured. In the case of the picture, this tire was made in the 8th week of 2006.

It comes in handy when purchasing new tires or just keeping tabs on the ones you have now.

4 12 2008
Heidi @ GGIP

You’ve got to love running cars into the ground. Two cars ago, I was very proud that the motor didn’t actually stop running, it’s just that the wheels wouldn’t move.

That is amazing that your car hadn’t any tune ups!

5 12 2008
Daddy Forever

If you can afford to, you should buy a car now. No one else is buying so you’ll get a better deal now than next year.

5 12 2008
Karen

Why are you calling my car a cockroach? It is legendary at my job; EVERYONE knows which one is mine.
I used to ignore dashboard warnings (like the oil light coming on), but lately I’ve learned that I have to respect the old car and get it looked at more promptly. At least we are keeping our mechanic in business.
🙂

5 12 2008
Karen

Oh yes. There is another advantage to having an old car – I never bother to lock it. Never.

7 12 2008
Lawrence

Karen, what about the time you left it unlocked, with the front door & trunk open in the street OVERNIGHT! You know its undesirable when you can do that! LOL. But Mark, I like that car; don’t get rid of it until I get to drive it to Philly again!

9 12 2008
Leah

We drive our cars to their graves. Last year my minivan died with 230,000 miles on it, so we replaced it with a Santa Fe. Then my husband quickly took it away from me because he’s on the road for work all the time and didn’t want to drive the gas-guzzling Tahoe. Well, the Tahoe hit 199,000 miles and we decided to get ride of it before it dies FAST. The only thing we’ve ever had to do with it was replace the fuel pump 18 months ago. Anyway, we started looking for a “new” car for him. Found a 1994 Mazda 626 with 80,000 miles on it. The owner only drove it to work and back, about 15 miles per day, and hated driving otherwise so it was parked. She passed away, and we bought the car for $2,000. The thing runs LIKE A DREAM! Gets EXCELLENT gas mileage, and is just what my husband needed. I’m sure it’ll get us to 200K like the other cars did.

9 12 2008
Leah

Oh, and I forgot to say, all these high mileage cars LOOKED new still! No dents, no scratches, nothing. The “new” car we just bought is the same way except for a coupe cigarette burns on the driver seat.

20 12 2008
Lars/Grandpa

I totally agree – time to THINK about trading up. AND I’m here to offer my help. How about giving me and Mummyl first option before you sell? Serious!

Cockroach indeed! Hummmppph! I drove that car all over the home district including a moderately severe run along a good piece of the Interstate Hiway. And I’m looking forward to repeating the experience, especially after learning that she’s her had her first ever tune-up! Next trip? California here we come !!! And who knows: Alaska next? (lol)

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