As I was driving home from work on Wednesday, my car was making an odd sort of clunking, scraping sound, so I mentioned it to my dad and he took it to our mechanic yesterday morning. Turns out I had a broken motor mount, which, I understand, is a part that supports the engine. Two days and $180 less in my bank account, Ol’ Betsy is back in my garage, where she belongs.
Hearing strange noises coming from my car always makes me nervous. My car is nearly 12 years old and has almost 140,000 miles on it. She’s getting old, and I know that sooner or later I am going to have to get a new one. I’m hoping it’s later because at this point I really can’t afford a new car. Or even a used car. Sucks.
My car history is brief – we tend to drive our cars until they die. Because of that, I’m in my 40’s and am only on my third car:
Buick Le Sabre – My first car, a hand-me-down from my mom. I got it in 1987, and it had about 36,000 miles on it. It was a 1977 Custom model that we bought brand new, tomato red inside and out, with a tomato red vinyl roof (hey, it was the 1970’s!) and tomato red crushed velvet seats. It was a boat. So huge. So much so, in fact, my dad thought it could pull our 23-foot travel trailer, which we got in 1977. On straight roads it was okay, but going to northern Michigan and trying to get up the hilly areas near Boyne Mountain? Not so much. So my dad bought a Suburban.
Chevrolet Beretta – In 1991 I traded in the old LeSabre for a Chevrolet Beretta, a blue metallic sporty coupe. It was brand new, and it was all mine. The first car that I picked out and paid for on my own. I loved it. It was so cool. It felt like a sports car, and sometimes I’d pretend it was a Porsche. It was the car my friend Lori and I took on our Great Canadian Adventure of 1997. Unfortunately it got totaled in an accident – I’d had it for 9 years and it only had 77,000 miles. Yes, I was sad.
Dodge Stratus – Only the second car I’ve owned outright. Growing up I had a friend whose father worked for one of the Big 3 and it seemed every year they were getting a new car. My folks had the same cars the whole time I was in high school…AND college!
My Dodge Stratus was a fleet car, and just under a year old when I got it, with 17,000 miles. It felt like a luxury car (and still does!), because it had leather seats. I discovered I really like leather seats. It’s kind of like my mom’s 1999 Chevrolet Malibu in that the design of the car is nothing to write home about, but it’s a nice, solid, good car. I have been very fortunate with it, in that I haven’t had any major repairs in the 10 years that I’ve owned it, except for a complete overhaul of my air conditioning (knock on wood) so I’m hoping I can squeeze out another year or two out of Ol’ Betsy. It still feels like a luxury car and looks great inside, but is starting to rust on the outside and some asshat keyed the whole length of my passenger side, so it’s got a long horizontal scratch from just behind the headlight all the way past the rear door. She’s got some nicks and dents, and may not be the prettiest or newest car around anymore, but still drives great, and that’s all that matters. To me, anyway.