Magic Smoke

I’ve been thinking it might be time to let the Volvo go.

The poor old thing gets hardly any use. I have the Ural for fun, the Clarity for daily use, and the pickup for hauling & towing. The Volvo comes out when I get itchy to drive a manual transmission, or when it occurs to me that I should see if it will still start.

Spoiler: it always does.

I was keeping it around mainly so Kiddo could learn to drive a clutch, and because it isn’t costing anything.

Then the trouble started. On two different occasions the throttle stuck wide open on the highway. This wasn’t a problem for me, but it’s not acceptable for training the teenager. I figured it would resolve with use, much like a sticky parking brake.

Next the tailpipe fell off. Just the end of it. I’d have to fix it before the next state inspection, but it wasn’t really a problem.

Selling it seemed like a good idea. I only paid $1800 for it four years ago, so I could probably recoup most of my ‘investment.’

I took it on a hardware store run the other day and stopped at Dunkins. When I came back to the car it failed to start for the first time ever. I turned the key; not even a click. Everything else worked, so it wasn’t the battery. On the second try, a small puff of smoke came out from under the hood.

I rushed out and opened the hood thinking, “Oh crap, it’s on fire!”

Two minutes later I was thinking, “Crap, it’s not on fire.”

It sits forlornly in the corner of the yard where the AAA ramp truck deposited it. The starter needs a new supply of magic smoke, and the parts alone are $300. I could spend $500 to make a $1000 car road worthy, just so I could sell it.

Or I could call the SPCA and donate it away. Decisions, decisions. . .

1 comment

  1. I feel your pain. Tempting to keep it, thinking you’ll get around to fixing it one of these days, and then ten years later you look out the window and realize you never got around to it. If you know a mechanic, he might take it on. Mechanics always seem to know people who need cheap cars. You wouldn’t get much money for it, but you could take comfort in knowing that it found a good home.

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