Thursday, April 25, 2013

Ode to the Civic

Well, I have, in my grubby little hand, the official title to my Honda Civic.  It only took 6 years... *sigh*... but it's mine now!
This is the first car I've really owned. I bought it after college. Well, I put down a payment and took out a loan after college. It was used, but only a few years, and only one owner during those few years. It's an '03 2 door Civic and I bought it in '06.

I did a lot of research before deciding on a late model Civic. I had a couple of non-negotiables:
  • It had to get 35+ mpg.
  • It had to be reliable and easy to maintain.
  • It had to have manual transmission.
  • It had to fit into my just-graduated-from-college budget.
The kelly blue book confirmed that several models of Honda Civics met those requirements, and it listed out the proper pricing for year/model/miles, so I didn't have to go into negotiations blind.

True story, I had been saving up for a couple of months, dancing extra shifts at the bar and eating cheap. I had test driven a couple other Civics, but I wasn't quite satisfied with them. I got a call from a local dealer that said he just had something show up on his lot that was pretty close to what I was wanting. I sweet talked a friend into driving me down to the dealer.  It was exactly what I wanted, (except for the boring color) and I made him an offer on the spot. We wrangled a bit, I got a sunroof and extended warranty added, and we settled on the price. I had told him I had a downpayment of 2K.  I guess most people use checks for such things, but I was a stripper, so it was all in cash. My friend's eyes nearly popped out of his head when I tossed the cash roll on the car salesman's desk. Mostly hundreds, but probably more 20's than was polite. It was funny, because he knew what my job was, he was a regular in the bar, I guess he just hadn't realized how cash oriented a lifestyle it is. The salesman had to call in a secretary to help count it.   :-D

A week later, the car was clean and the sunroof was in place and the dealer called me back to sign the last bit of paperwork and take her home.

I've not regretted the purchase; not once in the past 6 years have I fallen out of love with this Civic.
It's been a reliable, mostly maintenance free car that has driven me 200,000+ miles.  To job after job, and vacation after vacation.
Is it a little small for my hubby? Yea.  Is it way too small for the rear facing baby seat? Yea.
But those small inconveniences are very small when compared to the excellent gas mileage that the car continues to get. And the years of flawless commutes. And the savings we see in our insurance/tax payments.

I've been in an icy ditch twice with this car, and both times I've driven right back out of said ditches with no trouble and no damage.

I've taken this car on many a pheasant hunt.  It can handle a dirt road next to a corn field just as well as any 4-wheel drive truck chassis.

I've hauled hay bales (square ones) and giant tomato cages, and 8 foot long lumber, with no more trouble than popping down the back seats.

I'm a firm believer that more Americans need to downsize their vehicles to more closely match what they do with them. Sure it's nice to have a truck when there's a queen sized bed that needs moving, but why pay for the truck's shitty gas mileage 365 days of the year, just so you have it that one day of the year when nothing else will do?  Most people would find themselves ahead, financially speaking, if they would downsize to a commuter car, and rent a truck/SUV for the few times they need to haul something. But of course, most Americans don't think like that, and the parking lots at work, and at the grocery stores are all packed with giant vehicles that drove one person somewhere and used a crap ton of fossil fuels to do it. 

Oh well.. they're literally burning money, but it's a free country.

Anyway, it's a great relief to be done with the payments on her. It's nice to have that title that says she's 100% mine. 

Now of course I'm itching to do some custom work to the old gal, spruce her up a little to more closely match my personality. Let's be honest here, the boring silver color has never appealed to me, and the black interior could be SO much cooler looking with some modification.

Raver fur covering the seats?
Some custom paint?
A cold air intake to the engine?

What should I do? :-D
I will of course report back if I end up doing any of that.

If you've made it this far, thanks for letting me gush about my car and the debt milestone.