New Car

So, I replaced my car.  This is a big thing for me — I’m a life-long car guy.  I don’t take these automotive changes lightly, no, I agonized over this transaction.

First things first.  The car I’ve been driving is a 1999 Volvo S70.  We bought it new in 1999 — ordered it from the factory, actually.  The Volvo has been a part of the family.  We’ve had it for 13 years, and driven it 226,000 miles.  We’d hoped to get 300,000.  We’d hoped to send the kids (who were yet unborn when we bought the car) to college with it.  We’d hoped to drive it to the moon (240,000 miles).

In 226,000 miles we’ve:

  • Burned 9,040 gallons of gas. (average of 25mpg)
  • Spent $22,600 on gas. (Averaging the gas prices of about $0.99/gallon when we bought it with the $4.15/gallon it is right now, and guesstimating an average of $2.50/gallon.)
  • Driven around the world nine times. (25,000 miles per lap)
  • Worn out six sets of tires
  • Brought all four of our children home from the hospital when they were born.
  • Driven it as far west as Brooking, South Dakota, as far east as Washington, DC, as far south as Sarasota, FL, and as far north as Paradise, MI.
  • Spilled approximately one gallon of various beverages on the seats and carpet.
  • Carried lumber, an 8′ ladder, a 12′ carpet roll, and a Christmas tree in it.

In the end, the Volvo finished not with a bang, but with a whimper.  The list of needed repairs exceeded the value of the car by several times.  Sadly, the car ran and drove just fine, but had a serious rear suspension clank, a loud front bearing, a leaky heater core, bald tires in the back, leaking tires in front, an intermittent stalling problem, and at the very end, a sticking rear brake.  We toted up over $2,000 in repairs, but could reportedly only sell the car on the street for about $450.

So, we donated it to charity.  Wheels of Success is a local Tampa charity that provides cars to those who need them, and they assure me they can find someone who can benefit from our car.

In its place, we have a 1995 Ford Thunderbird LX.  It has a 4.6 liter V8 which has proven to be very reliable, and independent rear suspension, and only 80,000 miles on it.  We used our tax refund this year, and bought it outright — it wasn’t very much money.  I can’t assume I’ll have the T-Bird for 13 years, or even five.  But I like it, and I’m doubly glad I don’t have to pore over auto ads any more.



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