Body in decent shape, runs good

My 1994 VW Golf III just rolled over to 150,000 miles. The milestone is arbitrary, of course, as it doesn’t feel any different at 150,014 miles than it did at 149,127 miles, but it is a milestone nevertheless.

A car that turns 150,000 miles may be on the verge of falling apart, or it might be settling in for that long run to 200,000 and beyond. Even for a car in fundamentally decent shape, however, you can’t have run that many miles without some wear and tear. There are some uncomfortable analogies to a person hitting one of those birthdays that end in a zero (click on the table to enlarge):

I should be honest about my car. It’s functional (for the most part), tolerably efficient and affordable. I got it used, so it already had a history before we came together. After all these years, I’m used to it. In truth, I don’t really like it very much, but I can’t get a different one any time soon. So, I put up with its idiosyncrasies, accommodate its shortcomings and arrange my life to fit its limitations. Sometimes I ask too much of it, and it fails me.

For all these reasons, this car is not like a friend to me, but rather like a member of my family. You can pick your friends, but you are stuck with your relatives.

Is there anyone who loves their car? Would be happy to see it run for another 100,000 miles?


  1. Thanks for this article, it made me laugh (particularly the "leaks some fluids" part).

    My parents gave me a car on my 21st - in 2004 I think. It was the same age I was (1982 Honda Accord), and I loved it dearly until last year, when I began to feel the historical dents on it ("This is that Sydney trip I took with my boyfriend three days after breaking up with him" etc) were a tiny bit embarassing.

    Luckily, a charming senior lady failed to notice me driving directly in front of her, and smashed into me. Neither of us were injured, but the car was bent beyond repair. I was SO pleased it wasn't me that had totalled it (as I'd been actively expecting).

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  2. I had a 1984 Escort that was a true POJ. It was in front of my apartment in 1994 when a guy did me a similar favor by skidding on some ice and smashing it. Unfortunately, I was standing next to it when this happened, and the impact put me in the hospital for a little while. No lasting damage, but rather unpleasant.

    The car insurance totaled out the Escort, and it gave me enough to get a more reliable car, a 1996 Corolla hatchback, which I drove for many years afterwards.


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