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Vive la liberté! Vive all y'all!

Ante omnia armari

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Entry for October 08, 2008

Well, so much for hoping that the 1999 GMC Safari Van would make it another year or more without major repairs. The starter decided to drop dead. I have changed starters before, but it isn’t in the cards for me to do this one; the van was towed in for repairs.

We have all heard someone say that an old vehicle was “nickel and diming” them to death, that buying a new car was cheaper than fixing the old one. I have trouble making the numbers work for that statement. To move up into a world of no repairs, I would need to spend no less than $25,000 for a vehicle that would suit my needs. Assume that I got a $25,000 loan at 0% interest for five years. I would be paying $5,000 per year, and the most I can recall spending in one year to repair an old vehicle is $2,500, usually much less. If I had spent $2,500 each year on my old van it would be a low-riding channeled and chopped showpiece by now, with custom spider-web paint, spinning-hub wheels, fuzzy dingle-balls hanging from the rearview mirror, dash mounted Uzi, etc. I think most of the urgency people feel to replace an old vehicle isn’t the cost of the repairs, but the frequency and unpredictability of the breakdowns. Breakdowns are always stressful and inconvenient. Paying the premium for buying a new or newer vehicle does buy some peace of mind.

The most miles I ever put on any vehicle was over 250,000 miles on my 1990 Chevy S10 pickup truck. The body rotted away to the point it was no longer safe, and the engine was so badly worn out it used a quart of oil every week. Yeah, it was time to say goodbye to that one. I’ll stick with the old van for a little longer, even though I feel it has betrayed me.

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