Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

Kicking It in my car

While my ride is nothing more than a hunk of metal and leather, the old girl is still considered stylish. Maybe it’s her collapsible roof that makes her chic?

I don’t remember the exact year my car model was introduced, but I believe it was about 10 years after the brand came to the U.S. in 1990. Still recognized for its quality, this nameplate has remained in fashion as the luxury brand for a well-known Japanese automaker.

The reason I sold my former two-seater convertible was my job in 2008 required me to drive 720 miles every six days. While normally any drive along scenic highway 99 would be considered pleasant as the countryside rolls by, from my low-riding-rag top, I only saw 18-wheeler-mud flaps. After just two months of this almost daily commute, I started having nightmares about my cute ride.

Like so many of the things I’ve wanted, a new model of the car I desired was priced way out of my pocketbook. However, if nothing else, I am persistent. I found mine sitting in the back of a dealer’s lot covered in grime. She was four years old with 63,157 miles logged. There she sat all dirty-opal white with pacific pearl leather seats and a burled-maple dash, waiting to be claimed. For me, it was love at first sight.

As it happened during the first few years of driving my 2004 coupe, I averaged a bit over 20,000 miles per but when we moved south, the mileage has steadily dropped. Last year, I didn’t measure miles but weeks per gallon averaging more than 20 weeks per tank.

Now with things loosening up, my average weekly miles have crept up to 25 which is still way below the national average of 259 weekly miles or 13,476 miles driven by most Americans annually. As of today, the old girl has logged 159,396 on her odometer.

The other day as I was clicking up I-15, a new car jetted past me touting dealer tags. For some reason that occurrence turned my brain over and I started wondering how many new and used cars there are on the planet?

As it turns out, there are 20 automakers around the world and in America last year 14.5 million cars were sold. According to the internet, the world-wide number of cars on earth is a whopping 1.42 billion. Of them, 1.6 billion are passenger cars leaving 363 million commercial vehicles. But what about the other billions of unidentified bits of transportation?

Knowing the life of a car is determined by its quality and subsequent care, today the national average for replacing one has gone up from every four years to between eight and 11 years. I’m thinking most of us are still paying off the last one before trading it in or before it wheezes to a stop.

Even so we will each have over nine cars in a lifetime; 9.4 cars per person is the exact number. Then one has to wonder about those remaining percentages and what does the 4% symbolize? Of course, one solution could be the percentage is based on the billions of cars divided by the world’s population? But is it really? Getting a headache yet?

As for me, this is only my fourth car with my name exclusively on the pink slip. Which is what got me wondering how old she is in car years?

After very little forethought or investigation, I decided to use the same formula for calculating my car’s age as people do their dogs. Don’t ask, more research started to give me the megrims. Let’s just move on with the math, okay?

For instance, when a dog is 2 years old, it is generally accepted to be equal in age to a 24-year-old human. Which in my brain compares favorably to the alleged 40% drop in value over the same 2-year period for a new car.

To further justify my conclusions, I found most new car leases are generally set for 36-60 months with a serious fine for excessive mileage or kind of like an old dog. Wouldn’t you agree?

You don’t have to agree, these are my findings after all. Just the same, if you pay attention, even though my rationality may be overextended, I do celebrate my conclusion. Here goes.

When a dog lives past the two-year mark, and then up to 10 more years, that subsequent 10-year period is multiplied by 5. So, your 12-year-old dog is now equivalent in age to a 74-year-old person. Got it?

Should that dog live beyond 12, each succeeding year is multiplied by seven. And that my dear friends is how l determined my car is 109 years old!

Elizabeth Youngman-Westphal can be reached at [email protected]


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