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JANICE WELLS: A solid relationship with a set of wheels is tough to come by

Janice Wells has been driving a Honda for over 40 years, and has only been rewarded by her loyalty.
Janice Wells has been driving a Honda for over 40 years, and has only been rewarded by her loyalty. - 123RF Stock Photo

Disclaimer: I am not being paid by Honda (but I would not turn down a job endorsing them. Haha).

I drive a 2004 Honda CRV. It was two years old with low mileage when I bought it for $10,000. I remember saying at the time, “I’ll get 10 years out of this car.” Thirteen years later it’s still going strong with around 180,000 km on it.

I may have spent a couple of thousand dollars on it over the years. The automatic start and lock thingy gave up a few years ago and a new one cost something like $600 so I decided that was dispensable. I lock it the old-fashioned way – with the key in the door – and it is only a mild inconvenience that, lately, I have to go to the passenger side to unlock it.

I’m quite fond of my car. I didn’t give it a name or anything but I do talk to it occasionally and give it the scattered affectionate pat on the dash.

I think it likes me, too. I think it is simpatico with me. It has kept going with me though hard times and now parts of its body are looking the worse for wear. See, simpatico, like I said.

Lately, I’ve been thinking it’s time to start thinking about thinking about getting another new-to-me Honda.

I have been driving a Honda for over 40 years. The first one was a new Civic wagon. I used it in the gardening business, lugging rocks and topsoil and stuff around. I got custody of it in the separation and drove it back and forth from Newfoundland to Halifax for years.

I had no money. Anything that wasn’t essential didn’t get fixed. An elastic band stretched to I can’t remember where was the only thing that kept the windshield wipers from going all the time.

I learned a hard lesson with that Honda. It was good to me and never let me down, but I let it down. A number of years in I allowed myself to be seduced by a convertible Volkswagen Cabriolet, white with a black top. It was so cool. I’m somewhat ashamed to admit that I took a little pleasure in returning to the locale of my Former Life behind the wheel of that little number.

I was infatuated but that car was not. I had nothing but trouble with it. I sold it and got enough to pay it off, pay a semester’s tuition for Daughter #1 and get another Honda Civic wagon. This one was a clone of the one I’d gotten rid of. I can’t remember what I paid for it but obviously it couldn’t have been very much.

You can’t kill a Honda engine but the body won’t last forever, especially in our climate with a person who can’t do her own bodywork. The bottom on #2 finally rusted out, as it did on the next one I bought for $700 and drove for two years.

You can’t kill a Honda engine but the body won’t last forever, especially in our climate with a person who can’t do her own bodywork.

When that one bit the dust, literally, I had no means to come up with the money to buy a used anything so I found a must-have-been-desperate dealership (not Honda) that was willing to lease to me. This was actually unfortunate because shortly after that, I met Newman and he had two cars and I was in a three-year lease agreement.

Honda stopped making the Civic wagon in the ’90s – I’m sure because they were lasting too long. So then I got the CRV. I have just decided I don’t want to get rid of it. With new hubcaps and a spare tire cover, it will look as good as new. Almost. If you don’t notice a few dings and a tiny bit of rust over each rear wheel. I may even get that fixed, depending on what my garage says.

I figure 15 years old in car years is about my age. I’ve had parts replaced and I’m still going. I haven’t had any exterior body work so I don’t look like I used to either.

We seniors have to stick together. Not to mention resisting obscene first world consumerism.

Janice Wells offers her own unique take on life as a baby boomer, often served up with a twist of humour and a splash of gin. She lives in St. John’s, N.L., and can be reached at janicew@nf.sympatico.ca.


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