Our car isn’t all that bad. Be grateful for what you have, boy

A few weekends ago we swapped cars with T’s brother. We were driving a fair distance up north and our car, while it’s the nicest we’ve ever owned, isn’t in the best shape – and he figured if we could avoid putting it through the stress of a long journey, why not?

Now, he whinges and moans a lot about the state of our car. It’s always had a wee bit of an issue (we don’t know exactly what it is, and mechanics haven’t had any luck definitively pinning it down) that has to do with the steering or the wheel alignment. It drives fine, but not perfectly. And that really gets to him. He loves driving, and he has a long commute. He’s the one who spends the most time in the car. I get that. But I’ve always thought he’s overblown things. Our car gets us from A to B. It starts when we turn the key. The seatbelts work. Ya know? So it’s a little vibraty when we get on the motorway. No biggie. It’s more than 10 years old.

But for some reason he has it in his head that our car should drive perfectly. Immaculately. I do not know where he got this notion. Like I say, our 1998 Mazda is the best car we’ve ever owned. Our friends drive equally old, if not older, cars, by and large. My parents drive cars that are nearly as old as me. His family, well, don’t even have cars. We do not know anyone who owns one of these mythical vehicles that feels flawless to drive.

But as soon we exchanged keys, got into his brother’s Honda and drove off, he frowned. We weren’t even down the road when he declared it a piece of crap that drove even worse than ours. All the way through the high speed curves up out of Auckland he griped about the poor handling and what a terrible car it was to steer.

The grass is always greener.

(I think now he just might shut up about our car, at least for a few weeks.)

Do you care if your car drives perfectly? Do you expect it to? (More interested to hear from owners of older cars, obviously.)

7 thoughts on “Our car isn’t all that bad. Be grateful for what you have, boy

  • Reply Sense August 1, 2012 at 01:16

    I don’t have a car but only have driven beaters that cost $2700 USD or less. 🙂 i mainly care about safety and speed, in that I can drive a little over the speed limit without the vibrations being totally annoying. So no, I don’t care if it drives a little wonky if my mechanic gives the OK, but I now know what ‘not perfect but safe’ and ‘SOMETHING IS WRONG’ feels like when driving. I saved my family once on a 12 hour road trip with my mom’s relatively new car (5 years old), the mechanic said the wheel/axle-thingy would have FALLEN OFF or something crazy and we would have crashed if we had tried to drive it at 75 mph for a long period of time. Yikes.

    Maybe the bad handling will make him slow down and be a safer driver? Or is that too much to expect?! I don’t know how you kiwis go 100 kph around those insane curves without crashing.

    I think it’s a gadget thing, exaggerated because he’s a dude. I am the same way about cameras. I always want the newest, flashiest features, and get really annoyed when I have to wait for it to process or whatever. i make myself wait 2 years to upgrade. I just bought one last August and I’m already looking at what features I want in my next one…

  • Reply Sense August 1, 2012 at 01:17

    I should say only OWNED beaters…obviously I’ve driven new rental cars that were a dream.

  • Reply queenlbee August 1, 2012 at 01:51

    I think it’s a guy thing-guys just love cars. I don’t get it–I think it’s very frugal to make your cars last instead of getting the nicest thing possible.

  • Reply Caitlin August 1, 2012 at 06:40

    I really don’t care about cars as long as they get me from point A to point B like you mentioned, but my husband really cares about how the car looks, handles, drives, etc. Like @queenbee mentioned, I think it is a guy thing. I’ve long decided that it will be a battle I will never win in a marriage 🙁

  • Reply Cassie August 1, 2012 at 07:28

    My car definitely doesn’t drive perfectly, lol. The power steering is shot, it vibrates at high speeds, and has all sorts of other little idiosyncracies about it. I would like it if it drove perfectly, but at almost 17 years old and poorly maintained (before I ever had my hands on it) I’m not expecting too much.

  • Reply lkrant August 1, 2012 at 07:30

    I just got rid of my 17 year old car. I got to the point I was unwilling to keep repairing a car that is worth less than the repairs. It ran great, but needed a timing belt ($600), ABS brakes and other repairs. Visually it looked great! I think I got my money’s worth.

  • Reply Tracey August 2, 2012 at 10:12

    My car is a ’92 – 20 years old and the newest car I’ve ever owned, lol. Bought it from my sister for $1300 and I LOVE it! My goal is to drive it to 300,000kms (currently 250). Really don’t understand the need for a new car – first you drop $30,000+ on the thing, then insurance is through the roof, and you’ll be completely paranoid about getting the tiniest scratch on it. Love my old beater.

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