Her dash lit up like a Christmas tree. There are "brake" errors, referring to the regenerative braking system. There's a check engine light glowing. This has been an intermittent problem that reflects problems with the oxygen sensors. There is a VSC warning light, a Master Warning light, and a Hybrid System Warning. Previously we have experienced an oil leak, that somehow was resolved, at least for the time being. I took her for a ride to the Toyota Dealer. At that point in time I didn't think it would be our last ride together. I figured they'd pat her her up and we'd be on our way. However, after the diagnostic tests, it turns out her hybrid batteries are shot. An estimate of that repair and a few other minor problems, like an oil change and a change in spark plugs, comes to $4800.
OK... let's consider the following:
My sweet car came within $250 of being totaled after a hail storm in 2012. She has 100's of dings all over her body.
Early on, she was hit by the tread of a truck's tire, and had to have a new paint job on her hood. Since moving to Colorado and driving on dirt roads, that paint has been dinged and she looks like she has had the worst case of measles. She has 180,008 miles on her. There are dings on all four corners. Her headlights and fog lights have yellowed with age. Her interior looks as old as her exterior. Some of the buttons on the steering wheel and dash that control things like heat and radio no longer work. She had an oil leak in the rear main seal, and that could crop up again. A check with Blue Book came up with an estimated valued of $938 - $2,450. Knowing how she looks.... she'd be on the bottom end of that scale. Apparently, with cars, it's not about what's inside. So, even if we put in close to $5000, she'd still only be worth $1000.
I had my heart set on getting to 200,000 miles. Only 20,000 more to go - another two years with the way I've been driving her. So, I could fix her. $5000 for two years of driving is pretty cheap. But, what if she sprung her oil leak again? That'd be another $1600. If her O2 sensors went (they gave us trouble a few miles back), that'd be another $1400. Is it all downhill from here?
It was a tough decision to make, but I decided to let her go. There is a shiny new car sitting in her spot in the garage. I'm still surprised when I open the door. I'm also in shock... sticker shock! But, I have my Dream Machine. I have wanted a Mini Cooper since.... forever! Had it not been for a hike in gas prices in 2005, I would have purchased the Mini instead of a Prius.
So, farewell, dear friend. I shall miss you.
Welcome to my new ride. I am looking forward to hundreds of thousands of miles and lots of adventures with you.