The poor studio car has been struggling lately. It's been getting harder and harder to start. Every day as Ben and I trudge out to the VSL motor pool at 6:15 am we never stop to think about our reliable transportation but then came the decline. Every day the starter has been wheezier and wheezier. I crossed my fingers for luck and whispered a silent prayer to the saints of economical SUVs asking for just a few more days....
Yesterday Ben and I headed out to start our day. The car started but it let me know that the line in the sand was coming. I dropped Ben off at Zilker Park to run and I headed north to do a daylong photo assignment for a chemical testing laboratory. At the end of the day I loaded the last of the gear into the cavernous rear area and stopped next to the front left fender. I said a small prayer to the saint of electric starters, took a moment of silence and then crawled in to try my luck. Two failed attempts. I stopped and gently stroked the top of the dashboard and gave the key one more twist. The car ground a bit and then sprang to life. In forty five minutes we were home. Assignment successfully managed. The odometer nearing the millenium mark, times 100.
Today we had a respite from the early wake ups. I slept in and Belinda took the boy to school. I went out to start the studio Honda. A quiet, pensive rain coated everything with glistening drops. I turned the key and sadly the Honda Element tried its best before sighing and resigning itself to a melancholy feeling of failure. I could sense a small tear drop tenuously hang and then drop from its left head lamp.
I did all the things guys do when their cars won't start. I jiggled the battery terminals. I tried to jump start it. I muttered and looked stuff up on the web. Finally I capitulated and called the Honda dealer. They sent a tow truck and trundled off the Element for service.
So, now, the question to my readers: Do I buy a new studio car? Do I continue to repair and replace the noble Element's bits and pieces? Once cars hit that ten year/one hundred thousand mark are we really at the point of hugely diminishing returns? Will I like a CRV? Is there something else out there that will haul a bunch of photo gear and still get good gas mileage?
You collectively helped me fix my back (thank you for the advice about Advil and Ice Packs!!!) now will you help me decide my auto-conundrum? I'm sure you must have an opinion....let's hear it.
Final Edit: I traded the Element in and bought a CRV. The ten year old Element brought almost 1/3rd of its original purchase price in trade. I'm happy to have a newly reliable car. The car makers have made a lot of progress in 10 years. Thanks for all the advice.