[personal profile] matthewdaly
Little was my second car. Dad suggested that it was a good idea to buy a new car, so that you could get to know it from the beginning and hear when she started squeaking or rumbling. I settled on a Saturn because I hate the notion that car dealers know the bargaining game better than you and are out to make you pay $500 more than you should, and Saturn uniquely didn't play those games. I got a small engine and standard transmission and no air conditioner because I liked the fact that it was both cheaper and better mileage that way. It was a harder decision to turn down the power windows and locks, but it would have brought the price tag all the way up to $13,000 and that'd be a crazy amount to spend on a car.

Little and I have been to thirteen states and two provinces together. Despite being from Tennessee, she handled some of Rochester's harshest winters like a local. As far as I can recall, she's been to four weddings and three funerals. She's carried one baby and witnessed one makeout session. A little over 128,000 miles, and I don't think she went fifteen of those miles without me behind the wheel. And for nearly exactly fourteen years, every time I walk through a parking lot looking for her I see her and smile because I had the prettiest car in the lot and I've been getting 41 MPG in the summertime all this time.

Still, she's been aging. While continuing to run like a dream, the annual inspections have been in the habit of turning up expensive problems. Two years ago, I had to totally replace the brakes and exhaust system, which was a few kilobucks. But this year, she failed with a rusted subframe, and I know enough about cars to know that's the beginning of the last chapter. I don't know if turning down the repairs was callous or sensible. I don't even know if I should be thinking about it like my car was a pet that I'm having put down.

Tomorrow morning the local Vietnam veterans group will come to tow her away. She's at my parent's house, so I've already seen her for the last time. My understanding is that she's going to be crushed because she's got a non-repairable condition. I get that, but I hope they strip her pull out all of her good parts first, because there are a lot of other '96 Saturns on the road and I bet her engine still has a lot of life to offer.

I still don't know what will happen next. I can't imagine what car I want next, and I can't envision myself bargaining for it. In the mean time, I'm driving my Mom's 2008 Yaris while she and Dad are down in Florida, which is very much appreciated and a satisfactory car, but.

Date: 2010-03-20 08:04 am (UTC)
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
From: [personal profile] piranha
well, darn. no, it's not quite a pet, but i have really fond memories of some of the cars i've owned, because they've been there when i went through a lot of stuff. and 14 years with a constant companion is a long time.

re: The Little Saturn That Could (1996-2010)

Date: 2010-03-22 12:10 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] betonica
Subaru Forester. I had my Toyota Tercel for 15 years. I bought it new, too. We went through a lot: moved from CA to VT, drove back and forth to Chicago many times, and went to a lot of boinks. When I finally killed that car (really: engine started making those sorts of noises that made my mechanic say "this car is not safe to drive") I bought a Subaru legacy. Which was a bit old ('97) and already had almost 150k miles on it. Needless to say, that car didn't last me long. In December, it needed $1200 worth of work before inspection, and a reliable used car dealer only gave me $200 for it. But my mechanic - he's great. I said I was looking for a newer Forester. "I've got one that I'm planning to sell" he said. It's only two years old :) with 24k miles (well, was 24k - I've just driven to and all around West Virginia:). I *love* this car. It will go anywhere. It goes all day on a single tank of gas. It has all wheel drive. It's got high clearance for those muddy roads. It's smooth and delightful, just like a new car.

Okay, anyway. I hope you find a wonderful new car to help you get over the last one. I was very sad to see my Tercel go, but I must say that the Subarus (despite getting slightly lower mileage - due to the all wheel drive) are much better cars for me.

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Matthew Daly

December 2012

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