Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I Love My Clunker

According to the US Government, I drive a clunker.

Last summer's "Cash For Clunkers" program stipulated that if you drove an old car that got bad gas mileage, you could trade it in for money towards the purchase of a new car.

Robert and I considered the deal: Our car is 12 years old, has over 117,000 miles, and the CD player doesn't work (I think someone put pennies in it years ago). Among various body imperfections and dents it has all three of our boy's name's scratched into the paint. The wimpy 4-cylinder engine totally lags on hills. The shocks are shot, and it currently has a cracked exhaust manifold that will almost cost more to repair than the current value of the car. (Also, the cracked exhaust manifold may or may not also be causing odorless carbon monoxide gas to leak into the cabin of the car, slowly poisoning our entire family. I feel so sleepy.)

Still, I love my clunker and didn't want to give it up then, or now.

I love how our car looks different than lots of other cars on the road. People can see me coming from blocks away. I get lots of waves. And of course with the kids names scratched on the side, it's a piece of cake to identify in a parking lot full of dark blue minivans.

The doors open to a full 90 degrees. You may not think this is something you'd find useful until you actually have the luxury--and a kid who plays trombone in middle school band.

The seating is configured so no one has to touch each other while we are driving. Whether it's a 1000 mile trip to Disneyland or a 2 mile drive to church, it is crucial that no one touches each other.

On long trips, we get 19 mpg, which not too bad. We've taken this car through 7 western states, into 2 national parks and many state parks. We've watched Orcas swim while looking out it's automatically rolled-down windows and it's provided shelter during many rainy baseball games. I even slept in it once while riding the late ferry back to San Juan Island. (The front and middle seat recline flat to create a not-to-painful sleeping surface.)

But most of all, having a reliable, working car is so much better than having a car payment.

You can have your fancy cars with wi-fi and voice activated GPS and video monitors and shiny, unscratched paint and carpets that don't have throw-up spots. I love my clunker.

10 comments:

Cars4Charities said...
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Emily Laing said...

I have a clunker too...and I love it! No power steering, only occasionally, does the automatic windows work. You have to lock the doors with a key and it only has a cassette player. I will run it till it dies. Sometimes I'm jealous of others and their shiny new cars with all the new fangled gadgets, but then I remember that I don't have a car payment and I can spend that 400 to 700 on something else.

Allyson said...

Wow, where are the Green Police when we need them! Just kidding, I too have a clunker, gas guzzler with 175K miles on it. I would be hard pressed to find another oversized vehicle that suits our family needs and gets as poor of gas mileage as we have come to expect out of our faithful, old reliable(knock on wood) clunker.

Betty Grace said...

Remember when you made me get rid of my toothbrush? Sometimes it's just time. I learned it from you.

Afton said...

Betsy, for once you are remembering wrong. You made ME get rid of MY toothbrush. I loved my toothbrush. I have a picture to prove it.

Erika said...

I love that you love your clunker! I love that your kids' names are scratched in it. I love your positive attitude. I love that you don't care what other people think. I love that we both have dark blue cars! When the day comes that you do get rid of it, what kind of car would you want? Just curious. It's fun to dream, isn't it?

Afton said...

Oh yes Erika...I have a dream. The dream used to be a Toyota Highlander Hybrid, but that dream changed. Not because of the recall, but because I saw a commercial for the Chrysler Town and Country with a table (and the kids in the car smiling and playing card games) and I imagined how lovely our car trips would be if we had that car. Then I went online and found out the car had wi-fi and all kinds of storage and you could configure the seats all kinds of ways. Plus all the extras like video screens (which I've been adamantly against up til now--we'd only use them for trips ha ha ha...) and power outlets at every seat , etc. I realize that we can probably get a MUCH better deal on a 2 year old Chrysler than a 2 year old Toyota with the way American cars depreciate, so maybe we will look for a 2010 Town and Country in a couple years.

My main criteria for a car, if you can believe it, is the seat configuration. I love having 2 captains chairs in the second row and a bench in the back. Don't want a bench in the 2nd row.

Angela!! said...

if seat configuration is your primary focus here, you should really buy my car. 4 captain seat in the back. No one touches. Between the captain seats is a great center console where the kids can stash all their toys. It is shockingly spacious, which is why we bought it. Great gas mileage, no scratches, etc. etc. I'll give you a great deal on it too.

Afton said...

OK, let me clarify...seat configuration which includes seating for 7. Sorry Angela. Your car is too small for us. Plus I don't like the console because you can't walk from front to back and vice versa. I know the console is fancy and has all the bells and whistles, but I want movement. We need to get in the car fast and out of the car fast. For the Chinese Fire Drills.

Betty Grace said...

haha. Oh ya. I'm still pretty hardcore about everyone having a new toothbrush every 3 months. This of the germs! Maybe, like the toothbrush, it's time to trade in for a newer, less infected model.