Saturday, July 23, 2011

The End of an Era

New York State is switching license plates (again).

I've already blogged at length about my adventures with my current Death Car.*

Its registration expired yesterday (on its 20th birthday) - so, rather than go to the trouble of
- getting it inspected (...almost certainly not a trivial undertaking...),
- renewing the registration for the next two years,
- paying for and attaching new license plates
(which would involve the non-trivial question "Will the old plates come off?")

instead I gave it to my mechanic, turned in the plates, and canceled the insurance.

Gone. Twenty years of service.

It was the 2nd-best car we ever owned, but I was getting scared to drive it, and even more scared to carry my family around in it.

(Reference point for "What scares Bob in a car?": over the decades, I've driven at least four cars without brakes. (At least five, if you count the time I ripped the handbrake out of the floor in Maggie's first Civic.) But the Death Car scares me.)

For two? grand or so (a gas tank (no longer easily available), some exhaust work, the BUMPER), I could have kept it going in its current 'reserve' status for another year or two, but really, enough is enough: twenty years was not a bad run. It's been hard to calculate the mileage lately because the fill pipe had rusted free of the gas tank and so it leaked very badly (pints? quarts?) when you filled it - but it was still getting in the 35mpg ballpark right up to the end.

I guess the lesson here is that "Once MAJOR PARTS start falling off, a car's days are numbered." (The rear bumper rusted off 18 months ago...)

January 2010:

* This iteration of my "Death Car" (which is an Anne Beattie reference, you really should read Chilly Scenes of Winter) was the last (1991, fourth-generation) Honda Civic Wagon, purchased new in July of 1991 when my wife got shy of our previous Death Car, our high-mileage '87 Civic.

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