Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Goodbye, Faithful Old Car

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This past week at Chez Caffrey was a difficult one, but not for a usual reason.

My old car, a 2010 Hyundai Accent — what I once called “non-working” rather than admit it was broken — was going downhill fast. Then, on a very foggy night, I drove over a curb and the exhaust system gave out. I was confused, as the muffler didn’t drag on the ground or fall off; still, it was very foggy, so I checked on the way back home to see if there were any parts of the muffler on the ground.

There weren’t.

If this had been the only repair I’d had to deal with this past fall/winter, it would be one thing. But it wasn’t. I’d had to repair several other things, including my power steering at one point.

I think I managed about two weeks’ worth of good steering before the exhaust system went out. This, after knowing the suspension needed serious work, after I’d had two tires go flat and replaced them this past October…the car had become a money pit.

I felt it was worth asking the mechanics what was wrong with the exhaust. I had hopes it wouldn’t be a tremendously expensive repair.

Wrong answer.

It would’ve been $1400 to fix, minimum. The muffler didn’t fall off because it was scored down the middle — meaning it had somehow cracked there — and all of the pipes going to it were ruined.

The Accent wasn’t even worth $1400 by this time. So, it was time to get a different car.

I felt bad about it, because I had my Accent for a bit over eleven years. I was used to my car. I didn’t care if people thought my car was ugly or too big of a mess (it wasn’t ugly, but I used to call it “the world’s messiest car”), because it was my car. It had been more faithful to me than many things, to be honest, and it was nice to have one thing I could depend on most of the time.

And it really was “most of the time,” ’cause some of the Accent’s quirks in its age were that the defroster wouldn’t always work, or the heater either (the rear-window defrost always worked, I’ll give it that), not to mention bad shocks, bad struts, and more. Yet I still loved my car. I knew what it could do, I knew exactly how much room I had to park, I knew exactly how it maneuvered in stop-and-go traffic, and I felt comfortable.

My father and I went out and found a new-used car. (New to me but used, I mean.) This car is a 2018 Hyundai Tucson. (You may be asking me why I didn’t go with a similar type of car to the Accent. This was the smallest car on the lot, and it was called a “compact SUV,” of all things.) I switched over the insurance, cleaned out my old car, and told it that I appreciated its many years of good service.

Now, you might be asking why I did this. I know a car’s not an animate thing. But whoever and whatever watched over me while I drove that car made sure I was safe. I wanted to thank whoever or whatever that was, so I just thanked the car in lieu of God/dess or angels or my late husband’s spirit or whatever.

Also, I did this because my car was going straight to the junkyard. There wasn’t enough left of it to salvage, really. So I was the last person to probably ever drive that car, unless for some reason a mechanic out there wants a fixer-upper that still has decent tires and good brakes.

In the long run, I’m going to be much better off with the new car. It’s fun to drive, it’s easier to see things (though I am not looking forward to parallel parking) because it’s a bit higher off the road, and the suspension is excellent (among many other things). The main drawback is that it doesn’t have a CD player, but that’s not standard in cars anymore. (I guess there’s a way you can hook one up, and I may look into that. While I do have a smartphone now, it’s not on any given plan, and only works on my home’s Wi-Fi, so it probably won’t work for MP3 files. Then again, I’m new to both smartphones and this car, so perhaps it will work. We’ll see.)

Because the car is larger than any car I’ve driven regularly in over twenty years, I’ve got to remember how big the car is and give more than enough room until I get used to driving it.

Even knowing all that, I’ll admit to you folks right now that I am still going to miss my old car. It was faithful. It reminded me some of my previous car, a Geo Prizm, which was the last car Michael ever drove, because it drove in almost the same way and reacted almost identically in traffic.

Even when you know it’s time to change cars, it can be bittersweet. That’s where I’m at, anyway…even as I enjoy the new car, I can’t help but miss my old car.

So, goodbye, faithful old Hyundai Accent. Hello, new-to-me Hyundai Tucson.

All that’s left to say is…drive on?

Written by Barb Caffrey

January 8, 2023 at 1:59 am

2 Responses

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  1. I know the feeling. Judie and my dad always named their cars. Judie’s 1976 MG Midget was Georgie, named after the Duke of Buckingham.

    Fay Lang

    January 8, 2023 at 8:46 am

    • 🙂 I never named my car, but I probably should’ve. Something cranky and cantankerous but well-meaning, perhaps… 😉

      Barb Caffrey

      January 8, 2023 at 4:42 pm

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