Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Death of a car

The ol' Nissan Maxima back in '03 at the Dead show: shelter as well as transportation

Driving home from work last Friday, I quite suddenly became aware of a certain shuddering of my car as it idled at stop lights. Unease and apprehension descended upon me immediately. This could be bad, thought I.

My car is a 1995 Nissan Maxima. I've had it for 12 years and it has served me faithfully in all that time. (Well, there was a transmission issue at one point, but that was long ago.) It is certainly the best car I've ever owned.

A trip to the mechanic confirmed the worst: there was a compression problem with 2 of the car's six cylinders. To get the old gal back up to snuff would cost somewhere around $4500, which is some $2000 more than her Blue Book value. To use a somewhat callous analogy, it would be like paying the veterinarian $1200 to clean the tartar off of your 18-year-old cat's teeth.

So, I must bid my faithful servant adieu.

Yesterday evening was an emotional struggle. Not so much because I have personified my car, but more because, alas, I must incur debt to get another vehicle. Our society today makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to manage a job and household responsibilities without an automobile. Even for an inner city dweller like me. Of course, that all may change soon enough (for better or worse)... but until such time as it does, I suppose I'm compelled to follow the herd.

So, later this week, Maty and I will begin the process of selecting a new vehicle and extending the term of our indentured servitude to "The Man." We have to go through the whole rigmarole of negotiating with pushy, aggressive salespersons, navigating the labyrinth of financing, and repeatedly saying "no" to extended warranties, too-good-to-be-true extras, undercoatings, and all that jazz.

I'm bound and determine to get something that is fuel efficient. Perhaps not a hybrid, but something that will be an improvement on the 25 miles per gallon that I got out of the Maxima. I can at least have that petty victory over the powers-that-be.


Spring Thunder's Blog said...

I'll sell you a 1994 Subaru Loyale with 189,000 miles on the odometer and a branded/totaled title for $545. That's $5 more than I paid for it.

How bout an old Mercedes? Biodiesel? With your own home still?

Car buying. Good luck with that!

Ridwan said...

Dade we have one more thing in common :)

When I lived in Portland I owned a 1998 Maxima the same colour as yours.

I loved that car. Not a moment worth of trouble and for a six cylinder it was not overly expensive to run (then).

My Maxima was the best car I ever owned. My students made fun of my "family car" but hey it could go like the stink and cops hardly noticed.

I sold the Maxima to a friend who totalled it in Florida.

I remember that day. My heart was broken :)

Since then I have 'downgraded' and drive a VW 1400 cc Golf. I get three times the gas mileage over the Maxima and there is no 'love' for the little one.

I would take another Maxima any day ... well maybe not.

The VW is paid for and hell I hate the idea of buying a car too.

I wish you luck brother. Do remember that a hybrid is only cheaper to run if you do a lot of stop and start driving.

If you are riding on gas most of the time there are 4 cylinder cars that are more fuel efficient than a hybrid.

Peace Dade,