Remembering an Old Brick

2014-10-30 00.52.39

1991 Volvo 740 base. AKA Nigel. Classic Volvo face. Photos courtesy of the author. All rights reserved.

Nothing compares to a loyal old Volvo. Those 240 and 740 series bricks still run strong with anywhere from 200,000 to 400,000 on the odometer. They’re sought after by collectors and Volvo enthusiasts.

I can’t help but smile when I see an old Volvo chugging down the street in all its goofy Volvo glory. I’m a sucker for dorky cars.

I drove one such brick for seven years before his untimely demise last year.

There are two ways an old Volvo can die: Honorably, AKA saving your ass in an accident while the car takes the hit, and naturally due to old age. My old boy went out due to old age, and an inability to hold up to CA’s tough emissions testing standards.

California has some of the toughest emissions requirements in the U.S. If a car doesn’t pass the emissions test, the driver can’t renew tags or legally operate the car. Period. If the “check engine” light comes on during testing, it’s over. Even if it comes on for reasons unrelated to the emissions system.

After my car failed the smog test, I went to work.

I sought second and third opinions. I did my research. The final blow came from Natasha at the local Volvo dealership. I dropped my car off earlier that day for an eval and estimate.

My phone rang later that morning. “I’m so sorry, ” she began. Oh, snap.

“We just got through taking a look around, and I have some really bad news…”

For the rookie car owners at home, any time a service writer starts their call with “I’m really sorry…” you know you’re hosed. Fair warning.

It turns out that the Volvo dealership’s estimate rang right in there with the other two estimates I got, both in terms of scope of work and the price. In other words, the poor old boy  was done. The repair cost would far exceed the car’s value. There was no way my slim budget could shoulder the repair costs.There were no guarantees the repairs would even do the trick.  It was time to say good-bye.

The $250.00 repair assistance offered by CA’s Bureau of Automotive Repair wouldn’t even scratch the surface.

Although the dealership  had my car for a good several hours, they didn’t charge me a dime for the work-up. I was stunned. A lifesaver for a gal whose budget was already torpedoed by extensive emissions testing, two prior opinions, and one DIY attempt.

Read the full story here.

(When you’re through, be sure to check out the rest of the site. They’re the Cool Kids).

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