Thursday, July 21, 2016


Since the day I got married, cars have been a challenge. Both of us came into the marriage with cars. Neither was new, but they were fine for us, both working at different hours and needing transportation to and from and around this town that has little to no public transportation available.

Within a year both cars had issues. Mine, a VW bug that I adored, simply died. Engine blown, no money to fix. His suddenly needed a brake job which cost us about a tenth of what our total income was for the year. We made a deal with the mechanic and paid $10 a month for quite a few years to get that one paid off. The other we needed to replace so we found an old beaten up red Chevy for $300 and we grabbed it. It wasn't a bad car, although it wasn't great on gas, but again, you get what you pay for.

I think that car lasted us three years. By then we had two children and getting car seats in and out of the back, with only two doors, was tricky. So when the transmission went it was OK with me. Except that raised the question of what to do next. So we started looking around in the local papers and found another old car - this time we paid $500. We were getting up in the world! It was an old fashioned station wagon and it was a good car while it lasted, which was, I think, another three years. Then we managed to find a used car on a car dealer's lot - another wagon, this time in yellow, and we paid $1500 for that one.

That wagon lasted us a nice long time. We had two more children, and were squeezing into it with the bucket front seat where one sat between us. A few years later, something new and amazing came onto the market: the first mini-van! It was a Chevy Astro and it could seat 8! With that car we could even take our parents along for the ride to sporting events or school programs! For some time I lusted after that Astro van. When I saw one on the road I turned my head to see it. I studied the specs in Car & Driver magazine and drove slowly past the local dealer to take a good look.

Then the day came when my husband had changed jobs and was making a little more money and he came home and said "I think now we can afford to buy that car you like so much! We'll have to take out a car -loan and make monthly payments, but I think we can do it! I literally danced for joy. I was beyond excited.

Since that first new car we've only bought, I think, two other new ones: another min-van and then a smaller car. The last one we got was again a used one, off a lease and we though a good buy.

Today that car, only six years old and with only about 60,000 miles on it, needs a new transmission. And I am looking at car payments and a new transmission. And wishing I could go back to that little VW bug and drive like it was 1974 all over again....


Ben Reichart said...

my advice, replace the transmission. it is cheaper than buying another car.

Wordsmith said...

We always had used cars when we were raising kids. In fact, I bought my very first new car 3 yrs ago, because I knew that the 2001 Astro van that we had was going to nickle and dime me to death. Mike's truck died about that time, so he took over the van...and whatever expenses it would incur. The danged thing is still running pretty well, but the electric windows motors keep quitting, as well as a few other things. We have a good mechanic, but sooner or later it will be time to abandon that van. I loved it when it was 'my' car though! I wish Chevy would still make an Astro....and abandon the electronic junk. Give me a 'hand cranked' window, locks that I can push down and unlock with a key, doors I can just shut without the electronics! In the future, I'll not buy a car that drives itself, stops itself or parks itself. I'll walk first!