Friday, January 11, 2008

R.I.P. Oldsmobile

Today my aged Oldsmobile died a dramatic death as I was attempting to reverse out of my parking space. RIP, old car. You served us well and complained so little (except for your incessant "Check Engine" light, which I learned to ignore).

It is suspected that the transmission failed (there was a loud noise and then an unending grinding as I tried to reverse, and the car completely would not reverse but did slowly, lamely and noisily move forward in a most nerve-wracking manner). There is no point in repairing the transmission on such an aged car (it's a '96, and its 12 years are dog years, not human ones, given that its mileage is almost entirely city miles and the very worst sort of city miles at that, stop and go over Twin Peaks every day).

The husband is beyond distraught, into sort of a depressed state. One of our economy measures over the years has been to drive aged cars which are owned outright and which have such a low bluebook value that they don't require comprehensive insurance (although I, a former lawyer, insist upon maintaining much more liability insurance than is legally required). "This means financial issues, retail issues, and debt issues," mourned the Sober Husband. The man hates shopping.

My initial thought, once the husband proclaimed the car past saving, was, "Maybe I can take this opportunity to get a Mini Cooper!" Oh, how I have longed for a Mini Cooper, preferably in burnt orange or a sage green. After perusing the car ads in the handy Chronicle Car section, I determined a Mini Cooper was too pricy. Currently the plan is to go to a Volvo dealership in the suburbs on Sunday and buy whichever used Volvo seems most reasonably priced. I anticipate a huge amount of angst on the part of the husband (who seems, no matter how he tries to view the situation rationally, to have an undercurrent of thought that this is somehow my fault, but perhaps that is mere defensiveness on my part) and inordinate amounts of excitement on the part of the children.


hughman said...

you are more than free to come buy my 86 jeep cherokee. it runs and looks cool.

Amy said...

Sorry about your car!

hokgardner said...

I, too, long for a mini cooper, but as long as I'm toting three mini humans around, it's just not going to happen.

Missy said...

So sorry about your car! There is nothing sadder than the demise of a car...

shabbyvtchic said...

I've got to tell you that I have enjoyed not having a car payment (it's been 5 years). I would love something different to drive right now... really, I'd just like to give up the minivan, but the only way that is to be accomplished is to get an SUV because we've a tribe of children here, and an extra adult, to tote around. And in light of gas prices, I guess I should just be happy to have the caravan of love. It's 140,000 miles on it and seems to be running well. I had 189,000 on the last one, and it was still running when we sold it... although starting to leak some fluids.

Here's to a shiney new-to-you Volvo!

Anonymous said...

look for your volvo on craig's list.
it's crawling with volvos.

smalltownme said...

Sorry for this long rant, but we've had our car issues too.

We've had a Mini Cooper for several years, but we rapidly (or maybe immediately) outgrew it as a family car. Hubby initially drove it as a commuter car - now our 17 year old son has it. And it still looks like a clown car when his friends and band equipment come out of it. But it is a great, reliable car for one or two people.

Is there any way you could get a used transmission for your Olds?

Otherwise, a Volvo is probably a good way to go, *IF* you have a good mechanic. We have mixed feelings about Volvos. We used to love them.

But the Volvo dealer in our area s**ks. We had many warranty repairs done twice because they f***ed them up the first time on our 740 station wagon.

And then they f***ed up our really great Volvo 850 sedan, which we owned over 100K miles, because when it had a transmission leak, they fixed the leak, but soon after the transmission totally died because there was no fluid in it. Why? Because they forgot to put new fluid in it. They denied it, but how else could it have happened?

And then we fools, still believing in Volvo, got an S80 the first year they came out. Among other issues, it stranded me 20 miles from nowhere with an electronic fuel problem.

Because of all that, we have been driving a Lexus since 2001. If you could find a used Lexus, I would highly recommend it. We have never had a problem with it, and our Lexus dealer has impeccable standards.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

My condolences to the bereaved.

I second the Craigslist suggestion, but won't presume to suggest any cars. I have an '86 Accord, purchased in '04 with 189K in good condition and it has 260K now. Usual maintenance items are fixable in my driveway, but your needs and 'fault tolerance' (geek talk, LOL) are probably different.

I paid $1200 for my Accord and replaced $500 in maintenance repair parts in it in these near 4 years; at a shop it'd have been $1000 to $1200 but still better economy if you set aside a budget for it, than buying a much newer car.

And back to Craigslist - you can avoid the dealer markup and do a mechanic's pre-purchase inspection
for the really hot prospects.

Good luck in this treasure hunt!

Anonymous said...

I have a hot red Mini Cooper, with white roof and white racing stripes. It *is* fun! For lower priced cars, my brother was looking into a Honda Fit. And for dealers -- do you have CarMax out there? www dot carmax dot com. No dickering on price, and you can look at the cars on the web before you go.... That's where I got my Mini.

JKG said...

Avoid ford-era volvos, and good luck.

I had a friend who drove "Sven" for over 440000 miles. The chassis rusted out around the windshield, otherwise, he'd probably still have it.