Monday, July 21, 2014

Out With The Old, In With The Not So Old

With the selling of Castle Erickson, the resulting temporary change in my morning commute from "you've got to be kidding me" to "are you out of your ever loving mind?" while driving a 14 year old car with 356,000 miles on it seemed to be tempting fate. So, I figured, after driving the same car for 14 years, I was long overdue to get a new set of wheels. Well, a newer set of wheels at any rate since I'm generally opposed to paying new car prices just so I can enjoy the financial suck of depreciation.

Besides, after driving a 14 year old car with 356,000 miles on it, a 5 year old car with 50,000 something miles on it is in positively showroom mint condition.

So, the tale of the tape on the once proud but never named 14 year old Nissan Maxima is as follows:

Purchased Used in July 2000 with 16,000 miles on it
Started Keeping Records on it in April 2006
Lowest Price Paid for Regular Gas: $1.45/gallon (December 2008 in Duncanville, TX)
Highest Price Paid for Regular Gas: $3.94/gallon (June 2008 in Duncanville, TX)
Best Gas Mileage Recorded (full tank): 33.98 MPG
Worst Gas Mileage Recorded (full tank): 19.11 MPG
Average Recorded Gas Mileage (all records 2006 to 2014): 26.41 MPG

Sometime in 2005 or 2006 before I started keeping records, the starter was replaced. The serpentine belts were replaced once at 223,256  miles. The radiator was replaced at 245,708 miles. The CV axles were replaced at 263,373 miles. It ran out of gas one time in 14 years (with The Queen at the wheel after an impressive 453 miles on one tank of gas) at 304,873 miles. The power steering pump was replaced at 323,250 miles. The front struts were replaced at 335,352 miles. It's had at least three sets of plugs, two sets of ignition coils and three sets of tires that I can document dates and mileage for though there were others prior to that time for sure.

It's had it fair share of battle scars over the years.

That little beauty mark was there when I bought the car. To be fair, someone had made a game attempt at repainting it. 14 years of wind, rain, Texas, infrequent washings, etc. later and it's still the only rust spot on the car.

This little rash came around about mid 2003 when I was in a hurry to get to a job interview and didn't pay attention when backing out of my parking space in the parking garage. That concrete pillar next to the car was gentle in its reminder to get my head back in the game.

There are two little creases in the fender there roughly two feet apart thanks to my ladder. It was leaning up against the wall in my garage when a gust of wind blew in and toppled it over onto the car. Grrrr....

This is the most recent love tap from sometime in the last two or three years. It occurred late one evening as The Queen and I were arriving home at the same time. I was backing into the driveway to facilitate unloading the car. Unbeknownst to me, The Queen had double parked the Navigator more or less in the middle of the driveway. Since I had assumed her to be parked like a normal human being, I was focused on the driver's side mirror so I would not drive up into the flower bed that bordered the driveway. Suddenly....BAM!!! SONOFA....WHat the...Hey, why'd you park there? The Navigator suffered barely a smudge.

Oh well, they can't stay pretty forever.

Oh, and for those of you who doubt the mileage claim...

I put 350,000 miles of that on there, and it never let me down once when I really needed it. It flew under the radar more than once (it handled pretty well up to about 100...I can't vouch for handling beyond that) to get me home when The Queen needed me, and it even survived an early morning encounter with a (recently deceased) deer with no ill effects.

So, what earned the honor of replacing my trusty steed?

I'm glad you asked. Please allow me to introduce, the Blue Max.

No, not that one.

This one...

Blue Max is a 2009 Nissan Maxima SV with 56,000 or so miles on it. Leather seats, sunroof, premium sound system, CVT transmission, 3.5L V6, push button start, etc.

I looked at other cars. I looked at SUVs and trucks. My requirements (asides from wanting the car to be aesthetically pleasing to its new driver) were pretty simple: it had to be easy to get M&M in and out of her car seat (thus eliminating any 2 door vehicle from consideration), it had to be under $20,000 (bonus points for being under $15,000), and it could not get less than 20 MPG on the highway (thus eliminating most trucks from consideration).

Having rented a number of cars in the last few years that fell into this rather broad criteria, I at least had some experience upon which to base my decisions. That, and picking the brain of my cousin the mechanic. I hated the seats in the Ford Focus despite some of it's other redeeming qualities. The Queen had also decreed that it was too small (her exact words were: "It's a coffin on wheels."). The Ford Fusion was a contender; however, it suffered from the same fatal flaw as the Chevrolet Cruze. Everytime I got in both cars, the B pillar would hit me in the sacrum. No bueno.

I really, REALLY wanted another truck, but the reality of my commute and the prices of used trucks in Texas beat that idea into submission after brief forays through bargaining and denial.

So, that brought me back to the Maxima. It's not like I don't have a ton of experience with them. They met all of my simple criteria. Price wise, this one came in just under $16,000. The thing that sealed the deal was that it is my favorite color.

Now, I just hope it holds up half as well as its predecessor.


  1. That's a pretty vehicle. I hope you get as good a history out of her as the last one and it will last until your daughter learns to drive.

    1. Brigid, thanks. Frankly, I am as surprised as anyone that the last one held up as well as it did. Also, if it's all the same to you, I'm not ready to think about M&M being old enough to drive.

  2. Yay! After 350,000 miles, you're due a new(ish) car.

    1. GunDiva, I think overdue is probably an understatement.


I am not easily offended. Please feel free to express your opinions: good, bad or indifferent. Basically, the "Golden Rule" applies. You get what you give. Treat others like trash here, and your comments will be trashed accordingly. Rudeness and vulgarity will not be tolerated.