Saturday, November 6, 2010

Beater Challenge: $800 to $0

It's been awhile since I posted to this blog. It's not from the lack of ideas, but a lack of time. Occasionally, reality intrudes on my Walter Mitty escapism...

For now, I'll just post the results of the Beater Challenge. By this point, I would have paid $800 in car payments for the Honda. $800 is about half of what I paid for the Cutlass, which has cost me exactly $0, except for gas and an oil change.

That's not to say there aren't things I could fix on the Cutlass. But it's a question of spending money on minor annoyances. The door lock and power window on the driver's side occasionally stick. Like a toilet, you have to jiggle the handle until the door opens. It's probably just a loose electrical connection somewhere inside the door.

Then there's the stereo. The tape player stopped working, so I can no longer listen to my iPod in the car. Fortunately the stereo does have a CD player and I've burned a number of CDs to listen to. It doesn't have quite the nostalgia of cutting a mix tape, but it serves its purpose.

If I had either of these problems on a new car, I'd have them fixed under warranty. On a thirteen year old car, they are an annoyance but ones that can be tolerated. I suppose if the Cutlass were an MG or some other interesting old car, these issues would be part of the charm of the car. But on a beater, they are simply something to live with, like a scar or old wound which hasn't quite healed.

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