Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Race Against NaCl

I bought my 1995 S10 in January 1997, with 33,000 miles on it. It hit 150,000 this past summer. It was the nicest vehicle I had ever owned at the time so I began maintaining it with an eye towards getting 200,000 miles out of it.

Before I continue, let me throw a little geek at you. I keep a spreadsheet tracking gas usage, maintenance and the like. On one of the tabs is a grid of how many miles are on the odometer on the first of the month. From that, I do a calculation that projects how many miles I will drive in the next year based on miles driven in the past three years. It's just for fun, but can be quite illustrative.

When I bought the S10, I lived in Alpharetta, Georgia and worked about 25 miles away in Free Home (Next to Magnolia Interiors on Hwy 20. Hi Blake!). That 50 mile daily round trip gave me a 20,000 mile annual usage. I figured I'd hit 200k in 2005. That pace lasted only two years, as I moved back to Minnesota and, after bunking at my sister T's for half a year, I rented an apartment 0.6 miles from my employer. That lasted two years, when my employer moved their offices to a location 0.5 miles from my residence. I kept that apartment for another five years.

Having a negligible commute really cuts down on the miles so my floating annual average settled down to between 3500 and 4000. That pushes my current projected date to hit 200,000 to May 5, 2017, or as I keep track of time, Jackie Prescott's 44th birthday. Well, it will likely go past Jackie's 44th, as I have a round trip to Florida from 2007 pushing up the three-year average.


Maintaining the engine, transmission, etc, is only going to get me so far. Although I have tried to keep the body clean for the most part, I have not rigorously washed it. And in Minnesota, they coat the roads with salt to melt ice to make it safer for us to drive. While I appreciate safe roads, the sodium and chloride molecules are very sociable and like to introduce oxygen molecules to the iron molecules in the steel of the body. In other words, rust.

My S10 has the cancer.

Rust is a fatal disease for a car. It is now a matter of time before the rust is so bad that the well-maintained mechanicals are irrelevant. May 5, 2017? The rust is so bad that Jackie Prescott may still be in her child-bearing years when the S10 is ruled inoperable. Take a look, below.

Oh, and it's been since September 1994 since I've seen Jackie but she was hot enough to remember. And given how I remember minutiae, it's easy to remember someone's birthday for no particular reason. If there was, for example, a major, festive North American holiday or something on May 5, I might use that to keep track of time instead, but alas, I cannot think of one.

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps on Cinqo de Mayo this year you will feel moved to buy a new truck.