I keep a running list of joke self-epitaphs that I break out during stressful times. My favorites include, “Relax, I know what I’m doing!” … “I think I know where this wire goes!” … and the perennial favorite, “I don’t need to read the directions.”
Sometimes other people say things that, well, in my mind, could very well be their famous last words. Here is my top list:
1. “It’s a leased car.” Let me set the stage. A two-year-old car comes in and the tires are at the far side past the service limit. Half the tread grooves are worn smooth, and there is just enough rubber left to contain the air and perhaps the metal inner webbing that’s just waiting to pop out. Not only are the tires shot, but they are worn in a manner that clearly shows alignment issues.
When this is called to the customer’s attention they respond, “It’s a leased car and I’m returning it in three months.” So for 90 days they are going to drive around in a car with tires that will not grip the road under the slightest adverse condition or circumstance. Light rain, forget it. When that guy ahead in traffic checking his email stops suddenly they are sliding into the back of him. Doesn’t really matter how good the brakes are, or even the advanced ABS and traction control systems. The last link in the chain is the rubber adhering to the road, and it isn’t.
Look, I can understand not wanting to buy 80,000-mile top-of-the-line tires, but for goodness sake, they should get something on there. And I understand not wanting to do the long-term maintenance to preserve the life of the car, but the cabin air filter (that’s the one that filters the air people breathe in the car) is clogged with dirty, decaying organic material and enough allergens to kill someone suffering from asthma. (They use to call it the pollen filter.) It’s a leased car so they want to breathe that? Ugh.
2. “It’s a backup car.” The modern American family may have three to four active drivers that need to drive every day. Wisely they often retain a “backup car,” usually an older car not traded in on the last go-around, or even a heritage car from an elder parent or relative.
Football teams all have a backup quarterback. Professional teams pay a high amount of money for a guy to sit on the bench. (2 million dollars per season average.) That’s not money for nothing. That player – who, if everything goes as planned will never leave the bench during the regular season – must be in peak physical condition, and must be absolutely up to speed on the team’s system, plays, and the characteristics of every player on his offense and the opposition defensive. Otherwise he’s not much use if called to come in off the bench.
It’s the same with the backup car. Imagine it’s Monday morning at 6:45 and Cathy’s car won’t start, and she has to get to class at George Mason. The backup car has to be 100% ready to go. She should not be going out with bald tires, or compromised brakes, or an engine on the verge of overheating.
3. “We only use this car locally.” As a child in the sixties when seat belts had just been introduced, I remember a series of government safety ads showing drivers disregarding their seat belts because they were only going up to the grocery store or the hair salon. The imposing voice then tells them that 90% of all accidents occur within 15 miles of home. The point being, most driving that we all do is local driving, and the car needs to be just as safe as for a long distance trip.
Life rarely goes as planned. The phone call comes and you absolutely have to be 300 miles from where you are in ten hours and it’s Sunday at 2:30 p.m. No time to book a flight, too late to rent a car, and no, Uber probably doesn’t go that far.Back to my favorite topic, the NFL. There are a lot of quarterbacks who can come off the bench and play well for two or three quarters or even two or three games. But the true backup quarterback can take his team through the season if need be. (Denver Broncos, anyone?) That’s worth 2 million dollars.
And so is the money spent on that leased, backup, or local car, for the peace of mind it gives you. Let Wiygul Automotive Clinic get your car ready to keep you safe.