It was said about John Wesley’s followers that they not only lived well, but they also died well. My 1994 Plymouth Voyager has certainly died well.
I always prefer that my cars give me a very clear signal that I should not spend more money to repair them. This car did that admirably. First, there was the oil leaking and burning, at the rate of about 1 quart per 500 miles. Then, there was the high pitched noise that started at about 15 mph, and got really ugly at higher speeds. I was told that it was a wheel bearing, and if I didn’t give it attention, the wheel could come right off. There was also the funny noise, at about 25 mph, when the car shifted into a higher gear. It is a repetitive tapping sound, rather like the metallic equivalent of a cat coughing up a hairball. The transmission guy said that it could be a pin that tends to come loose in older transmissions, and that if not fixed, it could wear a hole through the case of the transmission, leaving a lot of red transmission fluid and a lot of parts on the road. He also couldn’t give me a maximum cost to fix it. This condition has caused me to drive the car very gently, and only when I would not have to go over 35 mph. Finally, there was the lovely sounds of the engine, sounding like it had maybe it wasn’t running on all cylinders. The engine makes its own tapping sound at all speeds too, and this noise became more ominous. What made this intolerable was that the car stereo system didn’t work well enough to drown out all fo these noises.
The car also had the courtesy to be stay on its last legs (figuratively speaking) until I could replace it, rather than failing catastrophically on the road somewhere.
It’s threatening rumblings even encouraged me to take up the habit of biking to work. Now my legs are tough, I’ve lost 5 pounds, and my wife tells me I’m a hunk. I even beat my son in a 5K race.
One day this week, my car will go to our local technical high school, where it will be used to teach students how to fix cars. It sure has a lot to teach.