Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Automobile Woes part II

So it has been about a week since the incident. I am alive and well, but currently my car is not. According to my mechanic friend, it is looking bad. Apparently, the 2000 model of the Dodge Intrepid, and especially the Canadian model (which I own), is known to have a common problem of engine failure at around 100,000 miles. My car had 107,000 miles on it, so I guess I was on borrowed time. As a result of the commonality of this problem, the market for engines is a seller's market. They are very expensive, and used engines have a good chance of failure at around 100,000 miles too.

Right now, I am thinking that I am going to take some time and enjoy public transit. When all of the students come back to morgantown, cars become problematic. Traffic is highly congested. I went to the bus depot yesterday, and found out that the bus goes virtually everywhere I would need to go in town. For now, I am going to be without a car--from what I have gathered (and the impulse I too have felt), many people rush into buying a new car when their car dies. For the next month, my work necessitates me being around Morgantown, so there isn't a real need for a car. I have a bicycle. Cycling is better for my own health, and the good earth God has given us. Public transit also offers a similar degree of environmental stewardship.

One thing I am impressed by in Europe is that not many people have cars. Amsterdam is called the city of bicycles--900,000 people and 500,000 bicycles call the city home. For now, I will do without. I will carpool, and chip in for gas or trade meals for wheels or something like that. If i really need a car, I believe God can come through with just exactly what I need, so i am going to wait, research, get council, and trust God and His provision and guidance.

Last summer when I let one of my friends borrow my car for six weeks while in Orlando, I realized something that made me a little uncomfortable. I was addicted to my car. I could leave and go anywhere any time I wanted when I had it. Without it, I lost my mobility. I had to be dependent on other people. Maybe we could all learn to be a little more dependent on one another. Maybe we need to experience a little bit of helplessness to understand our true state of dependence.


Eric Asp said...

Good for you, Billy! I hear a lot of wisdom in your thought process (and I'm not just saying this because I'm embittered about having no car myself). I hope the experiment goes well for you.

A/C said...

I applaud your decision, ol' buddy. My commute includes a 15-20 minute bus ride every day, which provides me time to pray, think, read, mentally prepare for the day, or eavesdrop on other people's interesting conversations. I also entertain myself by assigning names to regular riders based on their physical characteristics, or propensities, e.g., "Pinhead McGee," "Cardinal Jim," "Chatty McTalkalot," "Stumble Jones," and "Redbeard."

Pam's Place said...

Wow! I'm impressed! I agree with the Euro insight...in Kiev we either rode a bus, the metro, a cab, or hitched a ride by sticking out our thumbs (the last method is not the safest....it was a last resort!) We are so spoiled in the US. Best of luck with the process and trust in God to provide.
Also am enjoying all the photos from your travels.

Len H. said...

If/when you look for a 'new' car car..

I offer a somewhat different perspective on purchasing a 'new' vehicle.

While a previous commentor mentioned that you should avoid buying a brand new car, there are specific benefits to buying brand spankin' new. Some benefits of buying new include: better warranties, much better financing options, and coverage under the lemon laws.

Typically most manufacturers offer great warranties with their new cars now. Kia or Hyundai, one of them, even has a 10 year 100,000 mile warranty - try to get that with a used car :) You'd be VERY lucky to get a 1 year warranty with a used car. Most used cars have a 90 day warranty.

Also, you can save thousands of dollars over the long term by buying new and finding a great financing deal. I just saw an ad the other day offering 0% on one brand. You just can't beat free money and it can mean big bucks in your pocket. You'll NEVER get that with a used car.

Throw in coverage under the lemon laws to round out the benefits.

You can buy new AND save...

Look in the summer for 'last years' models that haven't sold yet. Right now the 2007 models are out - or coming out soon, depending on the model. Dealers are always looking to move last year's surplus inventory at better prices. Although typically the better financing options are with the latest model year.

There are benefits and detriments to both the 'brand new' and 'new to me' positions. Choose wisely grasshopper.

That's my $0.02