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Are you still hanging onto your old car from high school or college? Has your husband begged you to get it out of the driveway or does your wife just want it gone? Our old junk cars can be one of the sentimental items we prize the most. At the same time, they can also cause a lot of headaches.
Even Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor on Home Improvement had to have his first car back when he spotted it on the show. There it was sitting in the junkyard about to be... crushed. Many of us can’t even fathom the idea of watching our old rusted piece of beloved-junk go through the crusher.
So, then why do we instead approve of letting our old cars sit and rust? You would think watching them go to waste over time would be more difficult. Learn the real reasons we don't get rid of our cars and how to overcome them.
Personification: We Name Them
First things first, the real problem is we name them. According to Forbes, Nationwide Insurance found that 25% of people name their cars (and those are only the ones who will admit it). You can still love your car and not name it. Still, think how much harder it is to never see something again that you’ve been calling a fond name for years.
It’s like naming a dog or a cat and like animals, we nurture and care for our cars, too. We spend our Saturdays washing them and making them shine. We feed them with gas every week. Basically, we are giving them food and water and yet, unlike pets, cars do not have feelings. Try to remember that when you are finally ready to let go.
Your car is made with steel, aluminum, copper and glass. Your car will not know you're letting go and this way, you are giving it a new "life." Cars that end up in the junkyard provide parts to cars that still have a lot more years on the road. Many people can relate with feeling like these inanimate objects are real. We should all go ahead and blame growing up with Toy Story for this. And just like their owner Andy, you can move on.
Financial: We’ve Spent Too Much on Them
Think about all the money you’ve spent on your old car over the years: new tires, oil changes, spark plugs, brake pads, alignments. It’s enough to make your head spin. You might think of this car as an investment. You’ve put so much into it – why would you sell it? In reality, you only consider a car a classic after 25 years, and the types of cars that become valuable are hard to predict.
The best way to take care of an investment is know when to sell. The longer it sits in the driveway in the rain and snow, and the older it gets, the smaller the check coming your way. When you sell your junk car, they want to know the condition it’s in and that can often get you more money. Think of all the ways you can use that extra cash!
You may be thinking of all the money you save by not having monthly car payments since it wasn't a new or on a lease. Yet, think about how much less your car will be worth the more you drive your car into the ground. Wasn’t it exciting when you first got your car? A car that is pushing 200,000 miles isn't one someone is going to be thrilled purchasing from you.
Also, with those high miles, think about the car’s safety. You may not mind pulling over in the middle of the night to look under the hood. If you have children, would you want them to be in the same situation without you? Cell phones can lose their battery and gas stations can be far away. An old car that is barely driving down the pavement is not only a hazard to you, it’s also unpredictable for other people on the road.
Nostalgia: They're a Part of Many Memories
The memory of bringing your first baby home from the hospital. The thought of your childhood dog’s last joyride with his head out the window, slobbering everywhere. Whether it was a first impression or a car you always wanted, your old car says a lot about you. It might not be about the identity you find in your car, it's more the part the car has played in your life. If some people thought of their life as a movie, their car might be their famous sidekick.
She (or he, depending on what you named it) has been reliable, always there and an escape when you needed to go for a drive. It’s hard to let those memories go. Saying goodbye to your car can be difficult for people that depended on them when times were tough. Even in the happy moments of life, our cars are there for us.
Instead of being sad or trying to ignore those feelings, embrace them and grieve that those chapters are over now. Instead of looking in the past, think of all the ways it may be keeping you from the future. A new car at 16 is a rite of passage. Do you need the daily reminders as you pull up next to it in your garage now?
Old college parking lot stickers. Presidential elections that have been over for decades. All the vinyl marks, scratches and stains are not the best way to remember those times. You likely have pictures from meeting your newborn at the hospital and movie stubs saved in a box in the attic. You can cherish good times and bad, without the valuable real estate that is being taken-up from your old car.
Take a Moment to Grieve… Then Let Go of that Junk Car
“So, to Tim this is more than just a rusted hunk of metal,” Jill realizes after talking to Wilson in Home Improvement (isn’t Wilson the hi-di-ho neighbor we all need for life’s problems?). Tim Allen had to grieve and did so in the episode by remembering enjoyable memories. Take these reasons to heart when debating to finally sell your old car, that is slowly losing value and possibly causing marital fights.