QOTD: When Have You Thrown In the Towel?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Old, beloved cars can easily consume every last minute of our spare time while draining every last cent from our wallets, but not everyone is as fastidious as you might be. Often when a little thing goes wrong, we just let it slide. Sometimes the vehicle’s age, mileage, and accumulated repair costs mean our intervention’s no longer worthwhile. It’s time to throw our hands up in the air and say, “Screw it, I’ll just live with it.”

Yes, it wouldn’t take much to pull that dent or buff out those scuffs, but it there really any point anymore?

Usually, when car/owner relationships reach this point, the vehicle in question is not long for this world. Like a horse that’s run its last race, the glue factory beckons. And yet a friend of mind once spend countless hours applying endless layers of filler and primer and paint and clearcoat to his ’03 Altima’s bumpers to eliminate a number of stubborn scratches. Meanwhile, the sedan’s undercarriage resembled the Titanic (circa 2017) and the engine and transmission had clearly used up their borrowed time. For some, the quest for outward perfection never ends.

What’s the biggest nuisance you let slide?

I can think of a couple of afflictions that plagued my ’89 Prelude in the months before a failed clutch cylinder finally landed it in the classifieds. Certainly, the subsequent Camry you’re sick of hearing about had no such flaws. It was, in a word, flawless. The sexy red Prelude Si, on the other hand, eventually decided I need more elements in my life. Elements like air and water.

The driver’s side window eventually stopped its upward motion four inches from the top of the frame, and made sure to do this while I was strapped for cash. In the middle of a particularly brutal winter, no less. Rather than pull off the door panel and tinker with the pane and lift mechanism in a frigid, wind-swept driveway, I just pulled the pane up into place, hoping that, against all odds, it wouldn’t just plop back down after I gingerly shut the door. It rarely obeyed. That heater got a workout that winter.

Then the power moonroof decided the front seat occupants faced a risk of dehydration, so it unsealed the cabin from the outside world, dumping cold water on us whenever it was left parked in the rain. It was a hit or miss affair, as some rainy overnights wouldn’t result in six to eight ounces of chilly water cascading onto out heads after reaching the first stop sign of the trip. A perpetually saturated carpet became the norm. Try as I might, I couldn’t resolve that pesky leak — nor was I willing to spend much money trying.

So, think back (maybe not all that long ago), and share your stories of automotive ailments you couldn’t be bothered to fix.

[Image: David B. Gleason/ Flickr ( CC BY-SA 2.0)]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • DEVILLE88 DEVILLE88 on Jul 11, 2018

    I have a 2001 BMW 330xi that i bought used about 4 years ago. It has 155,000 miles on it. i have spent a good 12 to 15,000 on it(mostly due to labor charges for taking it to BMW specialists)prior owner didnt really maintain it. so ive put more money into the car than its worth. why? it's never left me stranded, it's really good in the snow(i live in NYC)it handles and performs really great. if it gets to a place where the joy of driving it is worth less than the money put into it................then i'll let it go. right now im married to it......lol!!

  • Izackl Izackl on Jul 11, 2018

    2006 Pontiac Vibe. Let me say people, this car RAN utterly PERFECT for 230,000 odd miles. Except for the 1 HUGE issue i list below, this car cost me NOTHING except maintenance like oil changes and brake pads/rotors. I never even changed the spark plugs in the damn thing. But... but it was a stick, and I came to find out the hard way that apparently Toyota struggled with the stick they put in the Corolla/Matrix/Vibe. Like they were faulty. I replaced it once at 130,000 odd miles and ate the cost, but when it started acting up again at 220,000 odd miles I just ran it until i could barely get it to a dealership, where i traded it in. I was not about to eat another transmission when I knew it would just die again. Funny story, when i traded it in the salesman told me that the tech who went over the car for trade-in value had some problems getting the car in the bay. He said the guy must not know stick very well. I silently nodded my head and signed the paperwork to leave. I'll bet they were pissed when they discovered the tranny was shot. Oh well.

  • 1995 SC How bout those steel tariffs. Wonder if everyone falls into the same camp with respect to supporting/opposing them as they did on the auto tariffs a few weeks ago. Doubt it. Wonder Why that would be?
  • Lorenzo Nice going! They eliminated the "5" numbers on the speedometer so they could get it to read up to 180 mph. The speed limit is 65? You have to guess one quarter of the needle distance between 60 and 80. Virtually every state has 55, 65, and 75 mph speed limits, not to mention urban areas where 25, 35, and 45 mph limits are common. All that guesswork to display a maximum speed the driver will never reach.
  • Norman Stansfield Automation will make this irrelevant.
  • Lorenzo Motor sports is dead. It was killed by greed.
  • Ravenuer Sorry, I just don't like the new Corvettes. But then I'm an old guy, so get off my lawn!😆