Saturday, July 9, 2011

"Safety Inspection"

Actually "Fee Collection" is more accurate.

The Beater Van passed the annual Texas safety inspection and emissions testing again.
That makes 22 in a row.
It's not that it is an incredibly well put together vehicle by any means. It has certainly had some help along the way. Last year it was pushing the limits on hydrocarbon emissions but squeeked by on the test. This year, the hydrocarbon emissions were way way down and the NOx emissions just squeeked by.
If it manages to last another two years, the emissions testing won't be required on it anymore. It's sitting at 158,000 miles and change. I got 186,000 miles out of my beloved old Jeep Cherokee (God rest her soul). And, said Jeep would probably still be running if I hadn't let my teenage daughters drive it.
I'm starting to think about a new vehicle. The last one I purchased for me, was back in February of 1997. It was the Jeep (who's dead carcass resides in the driveway as I type).
As for the beater van, I suspect I'll never sell it. It certainly wouldn't be worth anything as a trade-in.
The irony of late has been that Belle's Malibu, Boo's Cobalt, and the prodigal Son's Jeep all had mechanical problems within the last month. With the Son's Jeep we managed to shade tree mechanic our way to a solution. The ladies' sedans required professional help. Whilst all this was going on, the beater van ran like a Timex watch.
The Beater Van is not a vehicle I would have chosen for myself. In a way, it chose me.
As my Mother aged, she lost sight in her right eye and quit driving. My Dad called one day and asked If I wanted her Astro Van. I have no idea why I said yes, but I did.
Long story short, not too long after that my Mother passed away. The day of the funeral, neither my Jeep nor Belle's car would start. All six of us loaded up into Mom's Astro van, which just barely ran at the time, and made our way to the funeral home. Although I've not admitted it out loud to date, I think I have an emotional attachment to the Beater Van.


  1. I imagine you do have a soft spot for that van. We have three vehicles, an 01 F250 with 140,000 miles, a 96 Camry with 110,000 miles, and a 98 Mazda 'baby' truck with 200,000 miles. All need occasional infusions of cash to keep running, but all are pretty darn faithful when you look at the big picture. Evenly split between the Mazda and the Camry, we've spent about $1200 keeping them running for the last seven months. Even a very small car note on just ONE newer vehicle would have cost me almost twice that ...and my insurance costs would have been higher as well.

    I'm emotionally attached to my baby truck as my dad bought it new and traded me a year or so later for a sedan I was driving. Soon after I got the truck, my son 'borrowed it' for a weekend and brought it back to me with a Linex sprayed in bedliner ...he did it as a surprise for me. My dad passed away in 2003 and my son passed away in 2009. I think of both of them when I drive that truck.

  2. I have a 95 avalon getting ready to go in for the probe up the ole tailpipe. I share your feelings. It was grandma's before she had to quit driving due to eye sight problems.

  3. I miss having a vehicle that was old enough to not have to screw with emissions testing. Made inspection much cheaper :)

  4. Good for you!
    My 1989 Isuzu Trooper made it to 170K, then the head gasket blew and a new(er) car was cheaper.
    This was in 2002.

  5. Don't get me started on this!

    Well you did so here it goes! There are a LOT of cars spinning around the periphery here. The 1971 Mustang my Father bought new in January of '72? The car my Mother drove me to school in? Here. The same car I drove to high school? Check! The same car that my cousin and I rebuilt the drive train in oh 1982, Check. The same car after mechanical restoration got cosmetically restored and won a bunch of trophies in car shows? In my garage. It retired undefeated. Of course having the original bill of sale and warranty card and manuals and all of that helped.

    The same car that required some gymnastics to uh, you know how kids are, right?

    Then a car my Father and I bought out of a cow pasture. 1966 Mustang Fastback It was toast. We rebuilt it. We showed both cars for a couple of years. Again retired undefeated.

    A 1967 Cadillac De ville convertible awaits in my parents garage. It was my Mothers car after the 1971 was handed to me. It was driven into the garage in 1988, not moved since. A 1964 and a half Mustang awaits ministrations as well.

    The 1966 Mustang was the lead car for my Paternal Grandmothers Funeral. My Father wanted that way.

    The only car I really do not have a deep bond with is the 2002 Jaguar X Type. The only thing I can say about it was it was the vehicle of choice for my Mothers retirement after 45+ years at Hanes Hosiery. It was also the lead car behind my maternal Grandmothers funeral. It has been in my Parents garage two hours away for two years.

    So yes I understand. I know they are at the end of the day mechanical devices. I also at times place human attributes on them.

    They are time machines.

    I currently drive a 1994 Mustang. Totaled 3 years ago (no fault of my own and I DID kill the evil Honda civic with the coffee can muffler!) and coming up on 200K Miles. I KNOW this car. When it gets old enough I guess I will restore it and stuff it into the garage too!

    Whew! Sorry! This one hit me. I understand!


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