Poor Sentra

I finally got around to firing up the Sentra, which had a low battery when I tried recently, after several months.  Just needed to get around to jumping it.

It. Still. Runs.

It. Starts. Right. Up.

Sounded a bit rough, but nothing running a while and having some fresh gas and oil wouldn’t fix.  It had, after all, been running more smoothly than either of the other vehicles.  (And that’s when the van still ran, and reasonably well.)

Trouble is, it’s been sitting.  It’s rotted that much more.  The brake fluid is gone and the brakes are completely unresponsive, and I would bet it’s on account of a line having rotted through.  Which means I couldn’t have used it as a fallback vehicle starting sometime in the past several months, without having that fixed or being a tad dangerous.

I even drove it a few feet forward and a few feet back, moving it slightly back from where it had been, for whatever it’s worth to spare the tires at this point.  It wasn’t enthusiastic about budging, as you’d expect, but it went.  If it had brakes, it could probably drive to its final destination.

And that’s what’s so cool about the car.

It has 157,961 miles on it.  I bought it in early 1996 with 51,400 miles, for $2000, and a couple years back I estimated that it had cost me about $50 a month average to keep it going.  The worst thing I ever did to it was to let it sit when I got the first van, a $2500 mistake.  The other worst thing may have been to let it site after being replaced by the $550 van that was almost as costly a mistake as the first van, only more so because I didn’t get much use out of the second one.  Then again, if I could afford to fix it and keep it on the road (you know it’s bad when you’re excited that you’ll get as much as $80 refunded on the insurance after you turn in the plates), the second van would be more valuable to keep.  The first one was never as solid, for lack of a better word.

The Sentra, well, we practically worship that car.  If there was any way we could have used it to bring home Henry, as it brought home Sadie and Valerie, we would have.  I sorely regret having listened to my brother’s drumbeat of dismay about the Sentra.  He’s funny.  The van having been a disaster, he can’t repeat enough that he told us not to buy it (not strictly true), and he’s right in that he didn’t strongly advise us to buy it.  However, he couldn’t wait for us to ditch the Sentra, and had us convinced we Must Switch ASAP in a more general sense.  I should have tried to get a sticker, and if it failed on account of floorboards, gotten them patched.  We wouldn’t have been able to take five of us places in it, but it would have given us longer before it failed for good.

If I had money, I’d keep it and have it restored, just because.

Obviously, not gonna happen.  In fact, it’s going to either a good home (preferably) if someone will give me $100 for it and take the risk of patching it and tolerating the accumulated foibles for a few more miles, or it’s going to car heaven, which probably means a similar amount.  After my look at it, the latter seems more likely.  Very sad.

Posted by on 02/14 at 10:09 PM

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