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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug. 9, 2002
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    Fairfax, VA USA
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    Default Anyone else have three old cars--and a "first-name basis" relationship

    with your mechanic?

    I was just listening to my husband on the phone with the shop where we always take our cars, and he identified himself by his first name--and knew who he was talking to.

    And we do *not* live in a small town!

    Two of our vehicles are 20 years old (with the tow vehicle having 185K miles on it, and the Volvo station wagon probably about 250K miles on it--we don't know for sure because the odometer stopped working about 4, 5 years ago, at 185K!); the third and "newest" car is 6 years old, and has 125K miles.

    They have all been paid off for many years, so we figure it's cheaper to just keep repairing them as needed than to take on a car note, though eventually we will need to get a 4th car for my 18 year old daughter (which will be used!) The only reason we keep using the same marginally competent mechanic (other than the "devil we know" syndrome), is that we such are repeat costumers that once in awhile they will cut us a break Obviously, nothing has been under warranty for a long, long time...

    Every day, all around us, we see brand-new cars, and both younger *and* not so young people in our area seem to feel that they "need" some shiny new car every few years. For whatever reason. (Of course we do live in "Northern VA, land of bloated, self-aggrandizing gasbags with high-powered jobs, large incomes, and plenty of ego".) Lucky for us that we don't give a damn about keeping up with the Yuppie Joneses.

    Also, we are "horse poor" (like many on this board, I'm sure!), and prefer to spend our money on other things. OTOH, we cringe when something goes wrong with one of the vehicles, living in fear that it might be of those "BIG" repair bills that will really break the bank--if so, at what point do you cut your losses?

    Anyone else relate to this?
    "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

    "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")


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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep. 5, 2011
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    2,966

    Default

    Ahhh - I thought you meant on a "first name basis" with the car.

    My Ford Explorer's name is "Christine" - after the Stephen King story - because she has electrical quirks quite similar to the car in King's story. Although she hasn't killed anyone. Yet.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar. 30, 2007
    Location
    Hollowed out volcano in the South Pacific.
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    11,878

    Default

    You might want to share some examples of the problems you've had over the past five years. Are they engine-related, transmission-related, electrical, or structural? Seeing what you've been dealing with and looking at a long-term picture can help you draw the line. If your vehicle is constantly breaking down, that's a sign of faulty parts or poor maintenance, regardless of how often a mechanic touches it.
    Thus do we growl that our big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug. 9, 2002
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    Fairfax, VA USA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bacardi1 View Post
    Ahhh - I thought you meant on a "first name basis" with the car.

    My Ford Explorer's name is "Christine" - after the Stephen King story - because she has electrical quirks quite similar to the car in King's story. Although she hasn't killed anyone. Yet.


    Give it ("her") time...My parents have also ALWAYS had old cars (maybe this is an inherited thing), and they used to have a Corvair, a real "killer car". In fact, that's the first car I ever drove!
    "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

    "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug. 12, 2002
    Location
    Calera, AL
    Posts
    1,901

    Default

    I have a 20 year old truck and a 10 year old car. My diesel mechanic doesn't know me by name but he knows my truck on sight. And I haven't even had to use him very often.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2006
    Location
    The rocky part of KY
    Posts
    9,507

    Default

    Yes. Our mechanic was a great guy, for $20 extra bucks he'd come to the house and do whatever it was that needed fixing. I wish I had a relationship like that here because although we bit the bullet and bought new eight years ago (I can't believe it's been that long - I still think of that truck as "new") they are all 150K or over now and need extra care. I really don't want to get a newer used car, they are so overpriced and I hate car payments.

    What got us to buy the new truck was when we had two vehicles with over 250K on them, both pushing 20 years old and parts starting to fall off. Both the drivers side windows were touchy about rolling up and down and the old truck had dents and serious body rot in the bed. It got the stink eye from cops a lot and just looked like a low life truck. It had a new engine though! So we got a club cab nice pretty truck and the cops ignored us and people didn't peer out their blinds when we pulled up near their homes.
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
    Incredible Invisible



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep. 4, 2007
    Location
    Crossville, TN
    Posts
    1,170

    Default

    Hmmmm none of our cars are super old but we bought them all used (and they are paid for ) and drive them a lot so they have a fair number of miles on them. So yes, my mechanic knows me by name, and sadly sees me a good bit.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug. 9, 2002
    Location
    Fairfax, VA USA
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    No, mostly just "regular wear and tear" stuff, though the Volvo DID have a water pump that was apparently "possessed", I think we went through 3 or 4 of them before the old girl stopped having any issues with it--that was maybe 6 or 7 years ago.

    The Hyundai has a weird gas vaporlock problem (which causes the check engine light to come on) which has been repaired SEVERAL times--though it has no impact on how the car runs, just prevents it from being able to pass inspection. :-/ Our regular mechanics have actually been very good about this issue after the first attempt to fix it didn't "take", they have been charging way less, or doing it "gratis." Hyundai (despite numerous calls to CS) refused to take any responsibility for what was clearly a design flaw, and told both me and my husband that "we simply MUST be topping off the gas tank, because otherwise there is NO reason this would happen!" NEITHER of us has EVER topped off the gas tank, but they were vehement in their denial, and very accusatory of us. Asshats.



    Otherwise, we just keep them chugging along, changing the oil regularly and trying to keep up with maintenance
    "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

    "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr. 29, 2006
    Posts
    3,558

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    I have one old car - a 15 year old CR-V with 480,000 kms on it. I go to a small shop and they do know me by name and voice on the phone. They are super. It's now a bit of a game to keep this old thing on the road until it hits 500,000.

    I trust them to tell me what's needed to keep it safe and running. They'll let me know when that is no longer financially reasonable or physically possible.

    Thank you to Greg, Rob and Dave. Love you guys.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2006
    Location
    The rocky part of KY
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    My mom had a Corvair! Unsafe at any speed? It had that cute little lever to select the gear and we overheated the brakes once going down a grade in the Sierras. Mom had to run down into the ditch to stop it. Shortly thereafter she got a Karmann Ghia, which was waaaay too small and then she got more pedestrian with a VW Squareback. I liked it, you can pack two bales of hay and two or three bags of grain in a squareback.
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
    Incredible Invisible


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  11. #11
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    Aug. 9, 2002
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    Fairfax, VA USA
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    Stink eye from the cops, I LOVE it!!

    Do your vehicles have to pass a yearly safety inspection, and bi-yearly emissions?

    It's always a "little tense around the house" when these roll around for us, and a local mechanic at a Shell station (after the Suburban barely passed emissions a few years ago) had the AUDACITY to ask me to my face "have you heard about cash for clunkers"?

    I almost decked him. "THAT'S MY TOW VEHICLE", I responded, "and you will have to pry it out of my cold, dead hands!" (For the record, it's safe, but has had to have a lot of things replaced over time. ;-)) There will be no other "tow vehicle" unless I pay for it myself, so we are nursing this Burby and driving it gently, and only when necessary.

    We have bought *all* of our cars used, and intend to drive them into the ground.
    "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

    "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")


    1 members found this post helpful.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug. 9, 2002
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    Fairfax, VA USA
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    Default

    Loving these responses, keep em coming! I am heading to a friend's house (horse friend, so we will be talking horses all night), so won't be back on this thread until probably tomorrow...
    "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

    "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2006
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    The rocky part of KY
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    Default

    Not in KY, and in NorCal we lived outside the Air quality control district boundaries so we only had to pass emissions upon sale. All the auto shops were within the district though, and had different two year standard tests, so when we went to give up the passenger car we had to go an hour away to a car dealership that did their own smog tests. $25 no problem. Inside the district though, OMG, what a headache. They didn't even offer the simple ownership transfer test.

    No inspections in CA, but you can be pulled over and cited for things like failure to have your front license plate, cracked windshields, missing bumpers etc. Here in KY I've seen vehicles sold as junked in other states, missing chunks of car including the light assembly, window glass etc, just tootling down the road.
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
    Incredible Invisible



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun. 16, 2001
    Location
    Los Angeles, California
    Posts
    3,494

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Doolittle View Post
    OTOH, we cringe when something goes wrong with one of the vehicles, living in fear that it might be of those "BIG" repair bills that will really break the bank--if so, at what point do you cut your losses?

    Anyone else relate to this?
    Yep.

    What I would advise is keeping the cars until parts are no longer available.
    I think at 25 years old the cars may be exempt from bi yearly smog tests (will need to check with the guru on that one.) and the registration & insurance gets cheaper etc etc.
    Reuphoster every 10 years, paint every 15 keep them straight and dent free and they will impress people much more than a shiny new car that every one else seems to have.
    Save Schrodinger's Cat!!!



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar. 18, 2005
    Posts
    1,076

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    I have a 98 Ranger with 502 thousand origianl miles on it.
    Hubby has an 89 1/2 ton Chevy 4x4 reading 250 thou plus and about that many in back up miles (plow truck) we have a 95 cutlas, and a 60 ish ford pick up. All run but the ford pick up and hubby fixes them. They get us from point a to point b they may look old but they ain't slow.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan. 28, 2003
    Location
    Hollywood, but not the one where they have the Oscars!
    Posts
    7,637

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    I have a 2000 Nissan Pathfinder with 165k miles on it, and I sold my 2000 F-350 diesel with 415k miles on it to purchase the Nissan.
    I have always been pro-active with maintenenance and try to have first name basis with my repair guys!
    "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"
    carolprudm



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan. 24, 2007
    Location
    small town, Ohio
    Posts
    613

    Default

    LOL!!!!!!!!!! YES, we are absolutely right there with you, OP!!!!!
    Except that we do live in a small town (actually a village outside of a small town) and our village mechanic happens to work on Audi's, which both my husband and I drive. Both older. And they also work on my beloved '72 C10 work truck.

    I make sure I always fill up there just so that I don't feel guilty that they check over my 97 Audi (oil, tires, quick look) for free every month. Then again, I guess they know that when something goes wrong they get the big bucks to fix it.

    They have even let me put gas in my car on credit when their phone lines were down and they couldn't run a credit card. They know I'll be back. They are the only ones in the county who can work on my car. And they know where I live.
    Rhythm the perfect OTTB;Spock the will-be perfect OTTB;Mia the Arab/appendix COTH giveaway



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun. 18, 2011
    Posts
    1,344

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    I have an awesome mechanic who's been taking care of my beaters for years. My MO has always been to buy a $500 piece of crap, keep it running as long as I can and then junk it for a few hundred bucks then buy another. First name basis with my mechanic? You betcha! He has a shop at his house (complete with lifts and diagnostic equipment, everything the big shops have pretty much).

    Back when I got my first tow vehicle about fifteen years ago (a beastly old Suburban fondly called "the breadbox on wheels") I was dropping off something for repairs on a bi-monthly basis (also had an old Festiva prone to breakdowns at the time). That's when I noticed all the pizza boxes and Chinese take-out containers constantly littering his office. Started bringing him leftovers from home when I'd drop off a vehicle to work on which eventually morphed into my cooking him dinners in his house while he worked on my cars. I'd cook a big meal that would leave him with leftovers to last a while, he'd knock a generous amount off the labor.

    When I bought my diesel truck my visits became a little less frequent and he lost a few pounds. Now that I've recently bit the bullet and bought a new car he's lamenting he'll starve to death. I told him not to worry, the warranty will eventually run out!



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec. 6, 2000
    Location
    SE Mass
    Posts
    4,249

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    We caved and bought a new car. All our cars had over 130,000. A 1994, 1999, and 2004. The 2004 had 191,000. We just couldn't live without one new vehicle. So we bought another standard transmission Subaru. That made three manual transmissions and the truck. Then I broke my left foot. So we have three cars, and all I can drive is the truck. Ugh.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar. 11, 2007
    Location
    Montana
    Posts
    5,716

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    OH heck yeah, we only pay big money for the trucks because we need them to tow. Our big ticket vehicle right now is a 99 F350 with the powerstroke. We don't have a good loyal mechanic since we recently moved but we do have the Ford Enthusiast website and those boys have talked us through several repairs on our trucks. Saved us $1800 a year ago!

    Our cars are always little beater cheap jobbies-right now we're both driving a chevy cavalier I think? some sort of nondescript little car, we each have one by a weird coincidence. Husband is handy about repairs but negligent on maintaining the cars; it's amazing how long a car really will run like that. we've never paid more than $500 for a car and we drive them for years and years and years.

    I don't like having vehicles that are too "nice"... too much pressure. If I have to go rescue a goat in the middle of the night I want to be able to throw it in the back seat and not fuss about it. and yes, that has happened...



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