Everyone knows that living things age differently. Cats and dogs, for example, count seven or so years for every one year us humans live through (even though cats are said to have nine lives, they seem not to count them at all in human terms. It might be interesting to ask them how those nine are indeed counted.) Trees age slowly, very slowly, most of them anyway. But what about “non-living” things? Cars, for example.
When does a car become decrepit? Do we count car years at ten to one or five to one, or minus two to one? I had always assumed that cars aged at the same speed as humans, although I have no idea why I thought that, since most of my cars have given it up rather rapidly. Considering that I went through a long run of Fiats (back when Fiats were notorious–fix-it-all-the-time–vehicles), it is not surprising (I understand things are better now.) I have been driving my wonderful Passat now for fourteen years, though, and I would hate to think that it is coming up to its last legs. However, in going through my records, I note that scheduled services seem to end at 100,000 miles. This is concerning, as my car now is at 96,000 miles. I do realize that it will probably take me another five to ten years to get to 100,000 miles, but I am a worrier.
My worries have deepened over the last year, because the car has required towing to service once and the stupid check engine light has recently been a factor in its life. The poor thing is currently at the hospital for some relatively minor but expensive procedure. While it has been away, I have begun to worry that the car might actually not last as long as my ability to drive. This is not a good thing.
So, how long is the life of a well-treated car? If it is really measured in miles worked, things might work out okay. All I have to do is drive a bit less each year. Since I really should be walking more, perhaps I can do that. On the other hand, if it is measured in years, I am walking on very thin ice. Yes, I read about cars that have crept on for many decades, and while I may hope for that for my beloved vehicle (whose name I will not tell you), I want the car to have a good life free of major problems all the way to the day I have to turn in my keys. However, I would also like to have a few dollars left to pass on to my nephews at some point, and it does seem that the older the car the more expensive the repair.
Perhaps I should not have named and decorated the car. I might not mind the decrepitude so much, and it would be one less thing to worry about. Hmmm–maybe it does all depend on the decorations–we know they are vehicle bully attractants, so perhaps they also attract car medical issues. Something to think about to keep my mind off worrying.