I ask one thing of Harvey, my 1998 Ford Escort: Hit 200,000 miles. Interestingly enough, I hit 100,000 on a road trip from Colosse to Almeida, Estacado, the town where I now work. It is my hope that I hit 200,000 miles driving to Almeida for work.

It’s been pretty obvious for the last 15,000 miles that Harvey doesn’t have much left in him. I’ve had to put in $100 here and $100 there for repair, each time wondering if this is the time that I don’t get him fixed. One of the tough things about a car is knowing when to throw in the towel. One almost hopes for a $5,000 repair so that the choice becomes easy.

I hit 199,000 miles a couple weeks back. I can feel the 200,000th mile coming. I can also feel the car’s reluctance to cross that threshold. Lately there’s been a grinding sound when I put my foot on the accelerator. So I’ve been asking myself if I bother getting it fixed for the last 1,000 miles when I’m not going to be taking the car up to Cascadia when I move up there later this year. How much do I commit to spending per mile for that meaningless-except-to-me mile mark? It would be nice if, in addition to passing 200,000, I could hold on to the car until the move. Crayola, the car that I’ll be getting from my father as soon as Harvey passes on, is a lot less comfortable. Maybe I’ll get used to it, maybe I won’t.

I decided to go ahead and take it in to see what that grinding sound was. I worked it out with my coworker Pat that she would pick me up at the auto shop yesterday. Wouldn’t you know it that as I was driving to work, the transmission started slipping. I’d change gears and hit the accelerator and nothing would happen. Then there’d be this jerk and pop and I’d be moving. I’ve experienced this before and it typically meant that the car was on its way out. I crossed my fingers and hoped that I would get to Almeida so I could get to the auto shop. Partially so I could hit 200k, but partially because I didn’t want to break down in the middle of nowhere.

The car made it and I got the news that I was hoping for. The transmission could be cleaned out and it’d stop slipping for at least a little while, but the transmission was going to need to be replaced sometime relatively soon. The griding had something to do with the wheel bearings, and that would need a new something-or-other, but I’d be fine for the time being. So I was able to spend $200 to get the transmission cleaned, the oil changed, and the turn-bulb replaced, but I have about $1,500 worth of repairs right around the corner. The car is not worth $1,500 to replace… so when that happens, my question of when “enough is enough” to keep the car is answered for me.

200,000 and a breakdown and then that’ll pretty much be the end of Harvey.

Category: Road

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7 Responses to 199,382

  1. logtar says:

    Give him some morphine and let him go without pain.

  2. CGHill says:

    The most mileage I’ve ever gotten out of a car was 194,500, for a 1975 Toyota Celica GT which I retired in 1995 after it refused to make any more right turns. (Sheared off a section of steering gear.) I’d like to see 200k on my current wheels – I’m halfway there now – but I don’t know if I’ll make it.

  3. Barry says:

    You should take it up to 199,999.9 and then roll it off a cliff. Let it make that that last .1 mile in style 😉

  4. Spungen says:

    My 1988 Chevy S-10 reached 200,ooo. I should have written down the final number before I sold it for $400 (it had a cool camper shell).

  5. Spungen says:

    It’s kind of scary when you think of driving all those miles. Like, I could have driven to the moon.

  6. David Alexander says:

    I wrote a that references the longevity of your car as an introduction to a post about buying a new car on my blog.

    Oddly, I’d figure Will to be the pickup truck driver and Spungen the former owner of the small car…

  7. David Alexander says:

    Silly me. Here’s the link

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