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Thoughts For Thursday: Cars, Driving, and Smoking!

March 17, 2011 · 86 comments

in Thoughts For Thursday

Automobiles  have been on my mind a lot lately, and you will know why after reading tomorrow’s post.  So I felt I should share all the thoughts going through my head regarding cars, and driving in general.  Ready?

  1. I often look at really fancy cars and think “why are people spending so much money on a car?”.  However, I think that assessment may be relative.  I have my own idea of what expensive is, and what I think is reasonable may seem expensive to someone else.  So, I will ask the audience- what is the most you would spend on a new or used vehicle?  My limit is actually lower than it used to be.
  2. I often chuckle when I see nicely dressed people driving expensive vehicles with their right hand, while the left hand is sticking out of the rolled down window holding a lit cigarette.  I find it so interesting that people feel it is ok to fill their lungs with smoke, but they don’t want to smell up their car.  Big news smokers:  your car still smells.  Also, I wonder why people think whipping their cigarette butts out the car window is not littering .  (I ask the same question to those standing around smoking outside.  I constantly see people throw down their cigarette butt, stomp on it, then head back in the building or wherever.)
  3. Why do drivers insist on trying to turn left out of a parking lot onto an incredibly crowded intersection?  It is not safe for anyone, and I hate when I am stuck behind these drivers while I am waiting to turn right.  I always plan ahead so that I never have to turn left onto a busy street.  If I make a mistake and see people waiting behind me, I turn right and then turn around somewhere else.
  4. Do you ever look at the inside or outside of a car and wonder “what were the engineers thinking”?
  5. I have no desire to drive or own a convertible.  I hate wind and I hate really messed up hair.  Maybe that is why it seems like so many bald people drive convertibles- no messy hair!  (Or maybe it is just my perception that many convertible drivers do not have a luxurious head of hair.)
  6. Ok, that is all the thoughts I have for now.  Please feel free to share your vehicle-related thoughts.  Heck, share any thoughts you have in general!

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

The Biz of Life March 17, 2011 at 7:57 am

Cars are a place where you can waste a lot of money. When I was young and single and on the prowl, I bought a couple of expensive fancy sports cars….. stupidest thing I ever did. I learned my lessons the hard way. Now that I’m older and like to believe I am wiser, a car is just something to get me from point A to point B. I either buy used with low mileage or new with few bells and whistles. I want dependable cars with low maintenance requirements that get good gas mileage and are comfortable to drive. I plan on keeping a car at least 10 years and driving it for over 100,000 miles. As long as I change the oil and other fluids per the owners manual instructions there are few problems in keeping a car running well for that long.


Kris March 17, 2011 at 9:23 am

Biz, good thing you are not on the prowl anymore, the wife might not like it. 🙂

My car philosophy completely aligns with yours. I do not tie my ‘image’ to my car. I just want something that can fit the 5 of us, has good safety ratings, and is reliable. Well, I don’t want it to be incredibly ugly either I suppose.

My problem is knowing how long to drive a car for. 100,000 miles always seemed to be the limit I grew up with, but I don’t know that it is accurate anymore. I put 25-30 thousand miles on a car each year, so keeping one for 10 years would be quite a feat!


Nicole March 17, 2011 at 8:34 am

#4: PT Cruiser.

That is all.


Kris March 17, 2011 at 9:20 am

Nicole, I remember when the PT Cruiser first came out. Since I live near Detroit, I saw them everywhere, they were quite a hit, but I didn’t get it.

The Chevy HHR kind of reminds me of the PT Cruiser, except I dislike the HHR even more.


Nicole March 17, 2011 at 9:40 am

A rental PT cruiser is why we pushed up buying our Honda Civic rather than wait for the Accent to be repaired.


Moneycone March 17, 2011 at 8:50 am

When I see cars with a handle right above the drivers window, I wonder why! Who is going to be driving that fast that he has to hold on to the handle with one hand and steer with the other! What were the engineers thinking!


Kris March 17, 2011 at 9:18 am

Moneycone, that configuration sounds awful. I am not sure if I have ever seen it before!


Nicole March 17, 2011 at 9:41 am

You mean that isn’t for your drycleaning?

(Actually, I think it’s to help passengers get out of the car… our ancient VW bug had that when I was growing up.)


Kris March 17, 2011 at 10:08 am

Oh, now I get it! That little handle that you can hold on to if someone is driving all crazy? I was picture the handle to open the door!


Evan March 17, 2011 at 11:58 am

I have mixed feelings about cars that I can’t really come to grips with yet. I really believe that any professional needs a nice car (doesn’t have to be expensive but it has to be nice)…


Kris March 17, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Evan, I definitely agree that certain people must have very nice cars, especially if they drive clients and such around.


First Gen American March 17, 2011 at 12:22 pm

We paid $21K for our last new car and $8 for our last used one. My husband plans on driving his into the ground, but quite a few of my jobs have come with a car, so I hate having a big chunk of money tied up in one in case I have to resell.

My last car I had a little over a year and I sold it for $100 less than I bought it for.

I actually feel bad for smokers. Most people who I know that smoke would love to quit. What a horrible bondage that can be.


Kris March 17, 2011 at 5:13 pm

First Gen- How in the world did you sell your car at such a great price? That experience is the opposite of whatever everyone says about the first year of depreciation on a car. Good for you!

Your friends that smoke- why did they start in the first place? I am guessing they are young enough that they knew it was a bad idea when they started? I am just curious because I have just never been able to understand why anyone would start smoking knowing how expensive it is and how bad it is for you.


First Gen American March 18, 2011 at 6:44 am

They started in high school..dumb kid decision.

I bought my used car for $2000 under book value. It was 5 years old and a toyota, so after the initial depreciation, they hold value pretty well. It reeked like cigarette smoke and no one wanted to buy it, but I saw a bargain. I had it detailed and ozonated (which actually works if you’re ever wondering) and a year later you couldn’t smell a thing.


Kris March 18, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Oh, your car was used! That makes a little more sense.

I had never heard of having a car Ozonated. Great idea.


krantcents March 17, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Part of my success was owning or having every status symbol I could! I owned a Mercedes a long time ago, but since realize I do not need it to make me happy. Being a non smoker, I can never understand why smokers feel they have more rights than the rest of us. They smoke everywhere and I end up breathing in their smoke! I see smokers throw their cigarettes out their car window way too many times. They take their smoke break in front of buildings where I have to enter.
Of all your thought, I only have a problem with smokers because someone’s nice car, convertible or not, left turns across traffic or a car’s design does not affect me. Cigarette smoke and smoker’s disregard of littering laws does bother me.


Kris March 17, 2011 at 5:12 pm

So do you miss the Mercedes Krantcents?


krantcents March 18, 2011 at 12:11 pm

My Honda Accord (now 16 years old) was a better replacement. I miss some of things that occurred during those years. The is no emotional attachment to the car. It was a symbol, that I was a success! I realize now (maybe it is maturity) I don’t need to show success.


Squirrelers March 17, 2011 at 1:02 pm

Kris, I’m with you on convertibles. I have never found that to be a practical way to get around. Rented one on a vacation in Arizona/Nevada once and had a lot of fun, but why get one living in the Midwest?

That’s the key thing, really – practicality. Point A to Point B, reliable, long useful life, and comfortable. Whether or not it’s “cool” is irrelevant.

My advice for my son when he’s much older will be to drive a low cost car (assuming the transportation model is similar then to what it is now). Basically, employ the strategies I outline above, and have him pay zero attention to a car being cool or not. If a girl thinks less of him because he drives an older car with a cheapo brand name, then she won’t be the right one for him anyway!

I guess my advice would be the same for my daughter, too 🙂


Kris March 17, 2011 at 3:09 pm

I like your thoughts on teen driving. My son is now driving my Taurus X. I love that car, and it is so darn strong. I feel safer having him drive a bigger vehicle like that. Definitely not a cool vehicle by any means, but he is just thrilled he has something to drive!

I guess we are getting old as we value practicality over everything else!


Suba @ Wealth Informatics March 17, 2011 at 1:19 pm

I never want to own a convertible (2 mins into it, I look like I have come from a war zone). But we did rent one to drive the pacific coast hwy and it was great. We didn’t use it all the way, but when it is very nice and sunny; and when we were deep in the redwoods, it was very nice. Will never own one though. Just not worth it to use it for 2 days out of 1 year.

I have second hand smoking, one of the reasons I don’t like vegas. After my first visit, I ended up sick with allergy from all the intense smoke. Even if we take nonsmoking rooms, the smoke from the casino still ends up in the room. Now we never stay in a casino and pay extra to get a smoke free hotel.


Kris March 17, 2011 at 3:07 pm

Smoky hotel rooms are so awful. I am super sensitive, so even if it USED to be a smoking room, it will bother me the entire stay. Good tip about not staying in the casino itself.

Pacific Coast highway is a wonderful drive no matter what vehicle you are in, but it must have been fuuuunnnn in a convertible!


Jacq @ Single Mom Rich Mom March 17, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Heheh. I had a convertible jeep – and it was glorious glorious PINK (well, really fuschia). I LOVED that vehicle, but then my son totaled it. 🙁 It got totaled by a guy turning left out of a parking lot in front of my kid going straight. Maddening. It had 350,000 kilometres on it after 14 or 15 years and about $1500 put into repairs along the way. It had an amazing ability to run when low on oil… AND it had the little handle that you had to hold onto if you were 4WD’ing. And another bigger handle on both sides on the back seat. W00t!

AND back in the day – I even smoked in it! (Prior to May 18, 1997 that is – not that I’m counting or anything.)

How much to spend on a vehicle? I dunno, I haven’t fallen in love with anything since that pink jeep. Although a Toyota FJ does give me a few tingles. Secretly, I wish I could fall in love with a vehicle again. I was looking at a Kia Soul, but my son told me it was a kids vehicle. So in retaliation for him reminding me that I am no longer his age, I told him that if he hadn’t wrecked my beloved pinky, I wouldn’t even be looking at that kiddy car. He shut up about the age cracks.

I love my RV and that was $55k – does that count?


Kris March 17, 2011 at 3:06 pm

Jacq, the RV definitely counts.

How ironic that the Jeep was totaled by someone turning left and cutting off your son. I assume your son was ok? Did he like driving a hot pink Jeep? Sounds like it was a wonderful vehicle. You should have just have bought another one.


Jacq @ Single Mom Rich Mom March 18, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Men hated driving that thing. That’s partly why I liked it. 🙂

He was okay, but it was lucky that it was built like a tank in the front. At least I got to see all the steel (not fiberglass) in it. If it had been my Yaris, he could have been really hurt. Not really a lot of damage to the vehicle, but still written off. He’s a very very cautious driver so wasn’t going very fast fortunately. But I think that’s why he got turned in front of, the guy thought he was slowing down to turn into the parking lot, not at the next intersection.

They don’t make the Suzuki Sidekicks / Geo Trackers anymore. I still see the very early (’92-’95) models tooling around though. She would have been 18 years old if she hadn’t been killed. Boo hoo. 🙁 🙁 🙁

Oh, I think the reason why people throw their smokes out nowadays but didn’t before (at least I don’t think people did) is that no vehicles have ashtrays anymore. I do recall almost 30 years ago throwing my friends’ ashtray out the window when we were driving down the highway. She’d asked me to empty it. Oops, guess I let go. (Please note that this was in the days before I ever volunteered to pick up garbage on the side of the road.)


Kris March 18, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Oh I totally remember seeing little piles of cigarette butts and ashes and parking lots and such. I don’t think anyone ever did anything but dump them on the side of the road from what I saw. You are right though, cars don’t have ashtrays anymore, so drivers must not have a choice. Good point. (Still no excuse for those standing outside tossing their cigarette butts around.)

So glad your son was ok in your little pink tank. I saw a Tracker just yesterday and thought ‘gosh, I haven’t seen one of those around in awhile’.


Crystal @ BFS March 17, 2011 at 4:04 pm

Okay, I will admit it, my BIGGEST driving pet peeve is when smokers throw their cigarettes on the ground…any littering stinks…

I didn’t “get” nice cars but after driving one I don’t like, I can see spending $20,000-$25,000 on a Prius or something else that makes good mileage and is WAY more comfortable.


Kris March 17, 2011 at 7:06 pm

Don’t you just love when you see those burning embers and sparks flying across the pavement when someone whips their cigarette out the window?

I spend so much time in my car that I do like comfort. But functionality is way more important than image.

I take it your next car will not be an Aveo, right?


retirebyforty March 17, 2011 at 5:54 pm

There are two kind of people in this world. Convertible people and everyone else. 🙂
I love convertible. Nothing beats cruising down the boulevard with the sun shining and music playing. ahh…

Sunroofs on the other hand are completely worthless.


Kris March 17, 2011 at 6:59 pm

I totally agree about the sunroof/moonroof thing. (What is the difference anyway?)

Regarding convertibles, maybe it depends on where you live. I will say here in Michigan, we are having a warm day and there are ton of people driving with the top down. I just know that I would look horrifying after a 30 second drive.


Kaycee March 17, 2011 at 9:38 pm

Amen about the left turn on to a busy street. Or perhaps even worse, the left turn out of a business that is on the corner of two busy streets. Sheer stupidity.


Kris March 17, 2011 at 9:41 pm

Kaycee, that is exactly what I mean! Those people pulling out of a gas station at a busy intersection and trying to turn left. Very dangerous, and scary! (And frustrating to be behind.)


carpet cleaning March 23, 2011 at 1:22 am

Its not right to smoke while driving specially when you are with your family , because even other people don’t smoke there is a chance that they will inhale the smoke and more dangerous than smoking.


Kris March 23, 2011 at 10:00 am

It sure is awful to be trapped in an enclosed place with a smoker!


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