Have you ever loved a car too well?
Have you ever loved a car? Really, truly - blindly and maybe even a little pathologically - loved a car? Have you ever continued to pour money into repairing what, without blinders, may actually have been a lemon? Did you ever stop to think about why you loved that hulk of metal on wheels so much?
A few weeks ago, I was driving my beloved green 1995 Volvo station wagon when another car pulled out suddenly into traffic and crunched into the right front of the car, just behind the wheel, flattening the tire, smooshing tire well, and, I was told later, making an accordion of the suspension.
Because the car was so old and the cost to repair the damage would be more than the value of the vehicle, the insurance company of the guy who hit me decided to total it.
I was devastated.
I'm talking flattened.
And so were my kids. My 11-year-old son insisted on coming with me to clean out the car so he could say goodbye to it. He even gave it a hug.
Now, this was not a great car. It had at least 150,000 miles on it before the odometer broke a while back. Over the years, it had occasionally simply conked out in the middle of intersections and on highways with kids in their car seats. And it was constantly in the shop for repairs. When I finally added up how much I'd spent over the years, I felt sick. Since I bought the car used in 1998, I had spent more money on repairs than I spent to purchase the car.
I think I know why. But I want to know if I'm alone. Anyone out there who can share a story of irrational car love? Any mechanics with tales to tell of warnings to besotted car owners that went unheeded - or money made off of them? Any behavioral economists or psychologists want to weigh in? Send me a note or pass your story along on the comment board below. I'm all ears.
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