|My old truck|
I just figured it would always be that way even though it had depreciated out long ago.
Then it seemed just overnight, things started going wrong. At first, some little things were barely noticeable and annoying , but then they got more serious to where I'm always aware it's past its prime and aging fast. When you're around something a long time, you don't see gradual changes.
I first noticed some fading and a little rust on top of the cab. Some of the paint elsewhere started to fade, and rust spots appeared. Then the seat cushions lost their bounce and seemed to sag, with a tear or blemish every once in a while. The headliner drooped. The tailgate would often jar loose. There were coffee stains everywhere.
"Sometimes it seems like it's gasping for breath."It's had a couple of fender benders, and has the scars to show for it. The hood and grill and front end has dents and gouges. The grill no longer shines and seems to be getting yellow. The dashboard is pealing, getting thinner, and has some cracks in it. The headlights are getting dimmer and needing changing more often. The horn doesn't sound as loud, and the air and oil filters don't last as long. Sometimes it seems like it's gasping for breath.
Then some of the mechanical stuff showed its age. In cold weather, it didn't always want to start. The thermostat, and thus the heater, wouldn't always work. It doesn't have a built in air-conditioner, which is why I like to travel with both windows open, and a cool jug of water.
While the motor seems solid, it just doesn't run as smoothly, it sputters some and doesn't have the spunky get up and go it once had. It takes more time to go up hill, and waffles a bit when coasting downhill. On a rough road, or a smooth one for that matter, the springs and shocks don't cushion anything. Everything rattles and shakes. The exhaust gets noisier and drips water some days. The brakes are more likely to fail.
Every once in a while it gets bad gas..."Every once in a while it gets bad gas, and will barely run, preferring to stay in the garage.
It doesn't steer as well, and gets harder to turn, especially quickly. Then the radiator started leaking, and the oil pressure is often out of whack on the one gauge that still works. There are more stains on the pavement underneath where it parks overnight. The transmission takes more time shifting, sometimes with a noticeable "sigh." On occasion while driving it, I felt one or two of the cylinders hesitate, or cut out. That's scary at 60 miles an hour, but it almost can't go that fast anymore. Yeah, new spark plugs and wiring worked, for a while. Some of the wheels may be out of line, and there are a couple of lug nuts missing.
Lots of these things require trips to mechanics, and you can't just go to a "shade-tree" mechanic any more. Different ailments take specialists with fancy equipment.
This month for instance, I poured more money into the old thing than it originally cost. New joints are probably in the future. So too may be some work on the motor, carburetor and some of the electrical stuff that keeps it all going.
Some I will have to pay for, and others I just will say "I'll put up with it." Body shop work is too expensive, and so is getting rid of most of the blemishes, scars, dents and rust on the outside.
|"Coffee with Clark" 7 by 3.5|
It ain't as comfortable and neat as it used to be, but it's got character. I've grown attached to it because of the memories all the places we've been together and the people it took me to, or who traveled in it. I know, it doesn't look like much, but some people always notice a rickety old antique. Trade in is out of the question. I'll drive it till it quits.
At least the motor hasn't seized up. Yet.