It’s no secret that my car is getting up there in age.
More than 11½ years have passed since I first took the keys to my 2001 Honda Civic. A lot has happened since that day, which was barely a week after 9/11.
Since then, George W. Bush — who was early in his first term as president — was re-elected and Barack Obama was subsequently elected twice. The nine-year Iraq War began and ended.
In the time I’ve had my little gold Honda, I’ve gotten engaged and married, and my wife and I have bought a house. And we’re on our second cat.
Meanwhile, my wife went through cars like crazy — owing in large part to her employment at a local car dealership. One of her job perks was the authorization to drive a dealer “demo” vehicle, and because there was a limit on how many miles they could have on them, she swapped out her cars fairly often — several times a year.
She’s had Honda Civics of various colors — silver, white, emerald green and black. She’s also driven some Honda Accords and when she was the business manager of a Suzuki dealership, she drove a couple of Suzuki SX-4’s.
Then, a couple of years ago, she bought her own Accord — a brand new one, of course.
So basically, in the same length of time I’ve been driving my old car, my wife has parked no fewer than eight different new cars in the garage.
Even as my Honda got older, I enjoyed driving it — in fact, I still do. The car has almost 104,000 miles on it, and it still runs smoothly and idles quietly. It’s just a good car.
Yet, every time my wife brought home a new demo with a pristine interior and that wonderful new-car smell, I’d have a little pang of longing for a new vehicle.
Having said that, I must concede that I’m a little outside the bell curve when it comes to how long I keep a car.
I held on to my previous car — a 1987 Toyota Tercel — for 14 years. I bought it brand new and drove the heck out of it until I traded it in for the car I’m now driving. Actually, I didn’t really trade it in; I sold it to the salesman who put me in my Civic, and he fixed it up to run around in.
But now, going on 12 years later, I’m starting to get the itch again.
Some of the new models are super sleek and sharp looking, and the color choices are impressive. Also, some dealers are offering great deals on sales and leases. It’s all pretty tempting.
Still, two things are holding me back.
First, I haven’t had a car payment in more than 10 years, and it’s rather nice having that extra money to play with each month.
Second, my current car has a five-speed manual transmission. My first car was a stick shift, as was my Tercel, and I still enjoy driving one. But my wife has already told me that my next new car should be an automatic, so it will have better resale value. I know she’s right, but it saddens me to know that when I part ways with my Civic, it’s going to be the end of my stick-shift days.
For now, I’m still toolin’ around in my little Honda. Its paint has faded over the years, some decorative border stripping has come off, and it’s got a few scratches and small dings. But after I ran it through the car wash the other day, I was surprised at how good it still looks. I mean, who knew those rims were really silver and not grayish-black?
So maybe it’s not the most stylish car in the lot, but it’s still my baby.
I think I’ll keep her — at least a little while longer.