Vail Daily column: New car? Tough decision
Vail, CO Colorado
It’s funny the things we realize we know.
As time passes, different things take priority in our minds and we push back the unused, irrelevant information that we don’t need at that moment into the recesses of our memory. Sort of like the microfiche files of old newspapers at the library. They’re there if you want them, but they don’t need to be right up front on the computer for immediate access.
I realized this week, I know a heck of a lot more about cars than I thought I did. I’m not saying I’m the chick who can pop the hood and change the oil. Well, I probably could if I really wanted to, but I really don’t.
What I have is more of an appreciation of cars than the average woman. While I don’t know the details of the mechanics, I understand what makes one car perform better than the another, what to look for, what’s important.
My dad is a Car Guy. He enjoys cars, and I learned from him. We went to car shows when I was growing up, checked out the beautifully refurbished classic cars, one more spectacular than the next.
He had a few cars as toys, not to tinker with, but to appreciate and drive and coddle. I must note here, however, that even after reaching driving age, I never got to drive any of these cars, with the exception of one. Briefly. Under direct supervision. One time.
So when I was trying to determine if it was time to replace my current vehicle, I consulted the all the Car Guys in my life. I laid out the facts and what my intellect and intuition were telling me to make sure I was thinking through the situation logically.
My car is 10 years old, has 120,000 miles and is due for some rather pricey service items as well as a few repairs, the costs of which are unknown. All told, I’m looking at putting about half the value of the car into repairs.
As much as I love my car, this didn’t make financial sense to me. Would I drop a few thousand dollars and then six months down the road, be facing another costly repair when the other shoe/tire dropped?
And then there’s the issue of safety and security. Would I be stranded on a dark, snowy road with the kids in the car, waiting for AAA to show up and tow us to safety?
The first to hear the tale was my friend who I quickly realized looks at things from a very different viewpoint. He’s single, in his late 20s and can take his car apart, fix it and put it back together himself. His answer was simple: “A few thousand dollars is less than the cost of a new car. Get the repairs done.”
“What about our safety?” I asked him. “What about the peace of mind I no longer have in my current ride, the constant feeling that something is going to go wrong?”
I’m not sure I can capture his exact response in words, but let’s summarize it by saying there was a heavy sigh, an eye roll and a shaking of his head before he walked away.
Next up was The Man Formerly Known As My Husband. I am, after all hauling his children around on a very regular basis. His response was quick and direct: “You should never be driving a car with that many miles. It’s definitely time to replace it.”
Finally, I asked my original Car Guy. After careful consideration, taking in the facts and the costs, and the emotional element of the safety of his daughter and grandsons, he concurred that it was time.
So after two out of three car guys surveyed agreed, my dad and I started discussing the options. And this is when I realized I really do know a thing or two about cars. I was focused on the size of the engine and the gas mileage of a specific car before being concerned about lighted vanity mirrors and the interior color.
Don’t get me wrong, those things are important. But to a car girl like me, performance has to come first.