Time Marches On

Our car is in the shop – again. This is the second time in two weeks and probably the sixth time since the beginning of the year. If you knew that it is a 1997 Dodge Avenger, you probably would think that this number of shop visits for such an elderly vehicle is expected. However, it only has 137,000 miles on it since we don’t have to drive to work. (Our office is in the basement of our home.) That’s pretty good for a 14-year-old car. We like the car. It’s sporty, handles well, and gets good gas mileage with its four-cylinders and five-speed gearbox. We also like the fact that it is paid for. The idea of not having monthly car payments is appealing. The problem is that the cost of rental cars is starting to add up. I know that eventually we are going to have to bite the bullet and get a new car. I’m just not sure if we have reached that tipping point yet. All things mechanical are all subject to the law of diminishing returns. Sure, that old AB Dick still prints, but the downtime and outdated technology are taking a toll on productivity. Maybe you can limp along on your paid-for 12 ppm color copier, but service calls are adding up and production limitations are becoming more and more critical. Sooner or later we all have to decide if the headaches and drawbacks of old equipment outweigh the fear of taking on new monthly payments for new updated equipment. That doesn’t mean you have to dump your old AB Dick. You probably couldn’t sell it even if you wanted to. Just move it to the back of the shop where it can hang out with that Compugraphic boat anchor and Heidelberg Windmill. You can still visit from time to time. I know we couldn’t get much, if anything, on a trade-in for my old Avenger so we would probably keep it as a back up and park it in the other half of our two-car garage. Then we would have one reliable car and one retired car, which I could sit in and reminisce about the good old days.