“Drive It Into The Ground” or I like driving a beat-up jalopy.

In 1999, I bought a brand new Toyota Land Cruiser, big car to travel back and forth to Vermont every weekend. My plan at the time was not to replace it for at least 15 years. How many deer did I kill with that car? Three over the course of three years.  Two at one time, they hit me, leaping over the divider on a major highway and landing on my car. I’m pretty sure that car saved my life.

And so, it was with regret, that I drove it onto a car lot in 2008 and said, “I just want a fair trade,I don’t want to pay any money, I want a car that gets decent gas mileage.”  My son’s school is over 20 miles away, two round trips a day in the premium gas guzzling Land Cruiser was adding up to about $200 a week. I couldn’t do it one more day.

They happily traded a 2001 Subaru Legacy Wagon with 19,000 miles on it and called it even.  For me it was a good trade.  My gas costs dropped to about $70 a week and it wasn’t a deer magnet.  I still drive more than 400 miles a week  and that Subaru is at 170,000 miles.  Vermont is hard on cars, the long winters cause rust, frost heaves and potholes.  The Subaru needed a lot of work this year, new battery, new alternator, corroded wires replaced and now, it’s mud season.  Driving up the long dirt road to Sally’s I hit a good hard rut, and the whole rear fender just fell off along with the muffler and dragged the rest of the way to Sal’s.

I trust my mechanic, I drove down and asked him if he would sell the car.  He told me he knew people who would be interested and would give them a call, but, he said,  ”it’s a good car, I think it still has a couple of good years in it,  My advice to you,” he said, “is to drive it into the ground.”

I’ve decided to take his advice.  I did some research and found that I can easily expect to get another 50,000 miles on the car especially having replaced the necessary parts. I also found that the best car for the environment is a used car, and my car is certainly used.  Most importantly,  I don’t want to spend the money on a new car.  I need a car to get me where I need to go, that’s it.  When this one finally bites the dust, I’ll take it to be re-cycled, maybe I can get a few dollars for parts.  Then I’ll take over the 1998 Jeep Sport that my son paid $5,000 for 6 years ago.  My daughter drove it, my husband drives it and it’s still the most dependable car we own.  My husband can go through the car buying ordeal instead and I will encourage him to buy used.

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