Question Of The Day: Have You Ever Just Given Up On… A Car?

Steven Lang
by Steven Lang

My wife had an old Steenkin’ Lincoln.

It was a 1983 model. 4 doors. Maroon. What I would call ‘Mighty Thor’ had been nothing more than a temporary home for sunbathing cats and vast amounts of driveway real estate.

Thumbtacks, staple guns, duct tape, a maroon bathmat for the passenger floor, along with a new battery and fluids gave the car a new life.

For several years it gave my wife basic transportation at a time when gas was cheap and our expenses were slim.

Then it happened…

On the way back home from the interstate, the engine started to sound like a castanet orchestra. My wife pulled over within walking distance from a gas station.

“Steve. The car is making funny sounds. I think it’s dead. Can you pick me up?”

I came to the gas station. Took a long walk to the car since no u-turns were possible along the long and winding road… and…

“Clickety-clackety! clickety-clackety!”

At 224,857 miles it was clinging on to dear life. I managed to get it to the gas station where it simply glided into a permanent state of rigor mortis. Never to be awakened again. A tow truck. A $100 cash payment (if I remember right) and the Steenkin’ Lincoln was no more.

Thankfully I had discovered a nouveau riche doctor who had been willing to sell his not so old 1986 Camry for $500, plus the impound fee due to his carelessness. So all was still right with the world.

Today’s question is, “Have you ever given up on a car?” Some vehicles get to a point when they’re worth more dead than alive. So feel free to expound on your old ride’s near felonious record of defects and desertions. Extra credit if you left that hideous beast in the middle of nowhere.

Join the conversation
4 of 56 comments
  • Glen.H Glen.H on Jun 26, 2012

    A Citroen AX. (Yes,I know, I was young and foolish)It was a wonderful little roller skate, an econobox that thought it was a sports car. Unfortunately that sports car was a 1970s Alfa with 200000 kilometers on the clock. In humid weather the distributor would not spark, it overheated two weeks after I bought it and then spent three weeks waiting for spares from France. Finally it tried to kill me with total brake failure, luckily at a fairly low speed that demolished the front, but not me! After waiting SIX MONTHS for panels for repairs I abandoned it at the body shop, bought a second hand Toyota HiLux that only failed to proceed when the battery died. The battery was six years old.

  • Dcars Dcars on Jun 26, 2012

    Saturn Vue, it had the VTI transmission. It broke once and GM replaced it. I found out later that it would break again in another 40k that gm would not replace.

  • Sam P Sam P on Jun 26, 2012

    I've never had to give up on a car, but my cousin did. 2001 Passat 1.8T. Bought new. Timing belt change interval was 105k per VW service recommendations. The belt broke and valves hit pistons at 85k miles, and the car was out of warranty. My cousin asked for a goodwill repair, and VW of America basically told him to shove it. He threw the car on Craigslist and sold it for a pittance (an 8 year old Passat with a trashed engine isn't worth much) and now drives a Subaru, which has been extremely reliable.

  • Jamez9k Jamez9k on Jun 26, 2012

    A couple years back I decided to buy a then 4 year old Focus with around 70k km to replace my aging Civic with 300k km on the odo. I figured this would serve me well for a few years and maybe if I was lucky I could even drive it for a while after it was paid off. Well turns out the car was a total POS money/time pit that left me stranded in the first month of ownership. This should of been a warning but I kept it anyways and put 110k km on it along with many repairs to keep going that long. The car couldn't go one oil change interval without something going wrong with it ; broken flexpipe, catalytic converter melting, EGR sensor quitting, shocks blowing, bearings wearing out prematurely, random stalling when hot, clutch master cylinder spilling all my brake fluid inside the car and on and on until last winter after having yet again put some money in it thinking "well this time it should last for a little while" it started to develop another noise/vibration while driving. That was the last straw and I didn't even want to figure what was wrong with it and I traded it in for a new car. When your daily driving appliance demands more attention than your 80s project car it's time to move on.