Personally, I'm not the kind of person who likes to get a lot of grief from his daily driver. I need it to be something I can depend on. I don't need to be screaming expletives at it when I turn the key. It could be the journalist in me, feeling the need to be ready to run and report breaking news, but I feel asking a car to just um... work, is not a lot to ask.

My 1998 Saab 900 was my first car and has been the only car I've ever owned. I got it five and a half years ago with 91,000 miles on it and it was a well-used example. Sure, I've had the alternator, radiator and other bits replaced, but it's never left me stranded.

But now, 14 years old with 155,000 miles, it's starting to give me grief. The A/C compressor has long been dead, and that wouldn't bother me so much had it not been for the record heat in Southern California this week. (I have the right to complain about 100 degree-plus heat in October!)

More telling though is that this is a Saab, a company that's now a parts distribution company rather than an automaker. Except they haven't been that great at delivering parts.


In June, I needed a new power steering hose to stop fluid from squirting out whenever I made a left turn. So my trusty independent mechanic ordered one, warning it might take a while. It just showed up last week. There are people who have it worse than I do. Some guy had his 9-3 Turbo X totalled out by the insurance company after it couldn't get some of the necessary parts new.

So now I drive to work every day worrying there's going to be some part that goes kaput and is way too difficult to find. And I'm not about to make scouring the world for Saab parts a part-time job. So I have to wonder, when is it truly time to throw in the towel and find a new daily driver?

Trouble is, when everything is working right and I'm not bothered about the paint or the broken air con, I happen to like my car a lot. I just moved a bed, dresser and lamp in it a couple weeks ago. Honestly, I can't think of another car on the market today that meets my needs the way my Saab does.


That's why I feel silly thinking of giving up on my car, since I know there are plenty out there with 200,000 miles-plus, and people DD old Alfas and Peugeots and Fiats and things way harder to keep up. Or are those guys nuts, making me one of the sane people?

What say you, Jalops? When do you think it's time to call it quits on your daily driver?


Photo credit qwrrty