brotherpeacemaker

It's about our community and our spirituality!

My 1992 Honda Accord Wagon

Blue

I am the very proud and thankful owner of a 1992 Honda Accord LX station wagon with well over two hundred thirty thousand miles on the odometer. Her name is Blue. She looks black but she’s actually a dark blue. She’s on her second engine and second automatic transmission. She’s had her brake system rebuilt, cooling system replaced, exhaust system replaced, and the suspension rebuilt, although the struts need to be replaced again. She’s been completely painted and had her windshield replaced just last year. Unfortunately, the air conditioning went out and I couldn’t find a reasonably priced replacement for the compressor hose that went bad and after a brief search I decided to just live with the problem. But, the power windows, door locks, cruise control, side mirrors, and everything else still works although the driver’s window has gotten a little slow.

If you look closely you’ll see a big dent in the passenger-side rear quarter panel. Woke up one morning after spending the night at my brother’s house and found the dent in the side. She was parked on the street and somebody ran into her over the night. The same day someone knocked out the passenger-side headlight and I went ahead and had both of them replaced because I hate the idea of one of my headlights being brighter or clearer than the other. There’s a deep scratch on the driver’s side that goes across both of the doors. The hood is full of paint chips and some of the exposed metal has oxidized a bit. Otherwise there is no rust. The car is only a four cylinder, but she’s only getting like twenty-five miles to the gallon on a combination of city and highway driving. She always starts and she doesn’t smoke or burn oil. I bought her in 2000 for the grand price of five grand cash money. All that said I must confess that I love my little wagon. I try to keep her clean and regularly waxed. And I only pay for liability insurance.

I can easily afford a new car. But for the life of me I don’t know why I would want to put myself in debt to get one. The average price of a new car is running somewhere in the neighborhood of twenty-five thousand dollars. I must confess I looked at a 2007 Honda Fit. But that car is running about sixteen thousand dollars. According to the April 2007 edition of the Road & Track magazine a Fit should be good for somewhere in the neighborhood of thirty-six miles to the gallon. The magazine actually reported 33/38 so I’m splitting the difference and giving the Fit the benefit. From my calculations, when the cost of gas goes up to four dollars a gallon, my wagon cost sixteen cents a mile to drive while the Fit would cost about eleven cents for a savings of five cents per mile. In order to cover the cost of the replacement, and if somebody gave me about a grand for my Accord, I’d have to drive that new car nearly three hundred thousand miles just to cover the cost of the car. I would consider the extra cost of insurance for the Fit but I’ll counter that against the extra cost for maintenance on the Accord for an estimated wash out.

Blue is one of the oldest foreign cars still rolling down the road in my neck of the woods. As status conscious as many people are these days I would be willing to bet that many people look at me and my Blue and jump to all sorts of presumptions about my ability to purchase another more modern or stylish vehicle. A black man driving a fifteen year old wagon with a serious dent and scratches must be down on his luck and doesn’t have the funds or the financial credit to replace it. Maybe so. But nevertheless I just don’t see going into debt merely to placate my ego while other people make money off of my desire to be judged more financially worthy by my supposed peers. Even if I had financial pockets deep enough to do a cash deal on a new car I seriously doubt if I could stomach investing the resources to replace Blue for nothing more than a whim.

Various methods are employed to try and convince us that social protocols demand that our self worth is directly tied to how we look, what we drive, where we go and where we live, and who our peers think we are. These are the same social pressures that convince many black people that they need to abandon black neighborhoods as soon as we’re financially able. Black people deserve a house more befitting successful people. We deserve a car that lets people know that we have arrived unlike all the other black people. We deserve clothing and accessories from the best designers. We deserve to go on the best vacations to places like Disney World Incorporated who can give a rat’s ass about black patrons visiting their theme parks. We deserve the finest bling money can buy. And we deserve to go into debt just as much as anyone else. Bill Cosby should be chastising black people for not doing our part to make sure corporate America makes billions of dollars off of our collective nickels and dimes.

Regardless of the social pressures our common sense says keep your financial exposure to the absolute minimum. Living on the edge of financial ruin can add way too much stress to our lives. Too much debt is like living with a financial time bomb that can explode at any minute. As a whole black people face more financial exposure in an attempt to live larger than necessary. More financial institutions are implementing predatory usury procedures on the black community to give more people more money then they need or deserve. Rent to own furniture and appliance stores have been busted for charging people stratospheric interest rates for brand new stuff that looks a lot like stuff you can get from a Goodwill store. The payday loan services charge seriously stupid fees to loan a few hundred dollars for a short period of time. The equivalent of their annual interest rate runs something like four hundred percent And once the Pandora’s box of credit is opened many people spend the entire rest of their lives trying to get that box closed so they can get the credit monkey off their back.

If something happened to my Accord, an accident or another major repair, I just may be forced into buying another vehicle. I wouldn’t mind getting another car when circumstances demand the purchase. But me buying another car just to keep up with, if not ahead of, the Joneses just isn’t going to happen. So here’s to another two hundred thirty thousand miles with Blue, my 1992 Honda Accord LX wagon which I am very proud and thankful to own.

Monday, June 4, 2007 - Posted by | African Americans, Black Community, Black Culture, Black People, Philosophy

12 Comments »

  1. Sounds like me with my 1991 Mercury Sable. I bought it 2 years ago after FINALLY paying off a car I bought brand new in 2000 for about 13k. Dumb since it was my first car- and it never really acted right and the engine literally smoke out on me when I was alone on a country road, in the backwoods of MO- ha talk about trying to get out of dodge! My 1991 Sable has almost 200k miles on it, and a new transmission. I need to add some coolant for the AC and get a summer tune-up but other than that it runs good, much better than my 1999 Chevy Prizm. One of these days I know I will need to get a newer car- but hey I paid cash money for my 91 Sable. I cringe at the thought of having to pay 20k or more on a car that will only depreciate as soon as you roll it off the lot.

    Comment by PBlanton | Tuesday, June 5, 2007 | Reply

  2. love your car….i have a 91 ex wagon in black and i feel the same way. I’m graduating from college this summer and my wagon has 130,000 miles on the original everything….my grandmother bought it new. I’m gonna drive it until the wheels fall off. Why burden myself with debt? Plus, with some tein coilovers and new wheels and tires it’ll drive like a race car…great car, great philosophy!

    Comment by harris quinn | Tuesday, March 3, 2009 | Reply

    • Thanks for the feedback harris quinn,

      I do love my wagon. But with a baby boy and a teenager in the house, I needed something bigger with airbags for safety. Although I still have my Honda, she’ll go to the teenager if he can get his act together.

      Peace

      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Wednesday, March 4, 2009 | Reply

  3. I respect what you have to say greatly. Many people have judged me on the car I drive and I feel like I have to live up to that preception that society has labeled me with. Simply by the car I drive. It is absurd and I refuse to fall victim to this. So I have giving up my SLK Mercedes and I’am too, buying a Honda Accord Wagon. It is liberating and refreshing all at the same time.

    Cheers!
    Melissa

    Comment by Melissa | Saturday, March 27, 2010 | Reply

  4. Forget the “Jones’s”. Let the foolish keep up with them while you are laughing all the way to the bank. :-)

    Oh, yeah. I have a 92. It’s sorta white but after spending it’s 18 years parked outside — I have no garage, sigh — it still runs and looks (inside) like the day it was born. Sad to say, the exterior is finally succumbing to those 18 years in New York’s annual salt bath (aka winter in NY). Hopefully I can get a few more years before the ‘chassis’ gives way … gotta get one more replacement muffler out of the Meineke guy after all. :-)

    Comment by jim | Saturday, July 10, 2010 | Reply

  5. I purchased a 92 accord wagon over the weekend for sixteen hundred. Very beautiful car and fell in love with him. Just need a name for him and I’m set!!

    There is one thing i have a matter with is that the dealer identified that the stick gear gets horribly jammed between park and nuetral. Dealer stated, because of my wagon being unused for a long time; this happens and happens quite often.

    Other than that, I am strongly wanting to know the best way to car for my wagon…inside /out. I would love to know on how you tend to your Blue to keep her in shape (ie. waxing, window tinting, rims, interior apolstery, etc)

    Thank you for your informative blog!

    Comment by Jasmine | Tuesday, August 31, 2010 | Reply

    • Thanks for the feedback Jasmine,

      And congratulations on your purchase. Trust me, if your experience with your Honda is anything like mine, you will have a truly wonderful relationship. There’s no secret to taking care of your Honda. Wax it when it needs it. If it gets wet and the water doesn’t bead, it’s time to pull the paste out and go to town. If the interior is dirty, vacuum it. It doesn’t take much. And most importantly of all, don’t let somebody tell you that the oil needs to be changed every three thousand miles. I changed the oil on my Honda every ten thousand and it ran like a top. The more often people went under my car’s hood the more likely they’ll do some damage to her like leaving her oil plug loose so she’ll waste oil everywhere.

      Peace

      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Tuesday, August 31, 2010 | Reply

  6. Love the car. I got the same exact car only its a 91. Runs like an absolute champ. I drive it 20 miles to school everyday and I love it.

    Comment by Dyl Smash | Wednesday, September 29, 2010 | Reply

  7. I’ve just ‘inherited’ a ’92 Accord LX Wagon with 190,000 mi. The odo/speedo broke ‘some years ago’ according to dad, who bought the car off-the-lot new, but I still love it, no matter how many miles are on there…! (I’ve heard other Honda and Nissan owners complain of odometer breakage). Case in point, my own 86 1/2 Nissan Pickup has a broken odo/speedo. I live with this for now, NOT because I hope to weazel extra sale/trade value out of the deal in future sale/trade negotiations (I plan to keep them both), but have recent repair quotes that run upwards of $800. And like my father–hate to spend hundreds of dollars, when safely going with the flow speed-wise, and a couple of oil changes a year has worked great–for a few years now…but $600.–$800.+ seems like a lot to fix and odometer/speedometer
    Does This sound right…??
    Also, the reason I say “inherited,” above is that I paid for shipping the car half-way across the country out to the west coast, which cost an amount similar to mid-blue book value. Still, a good deal and Pop gets a few bucks to add to a fixed income, and I get a one-owner car with literally all repair receipts.
    It’s metallic dark grey with light grey seats with dark trim, and a blue-grey dash. No rips, tears etc. and besides a few shopping cart dings, the exterior is fantastically clean for a pert-near 20 year old ride:-)
    I saw your blog and wanted to chime-in.

    Thanks,
    Dave

    Comment by Dave Harington | Saturday, October 29, 2011 | Reply

    • do you still own 92 honda wagon

      Comment by Alan Johnson | Monday, November 5, 2012 | Reply

      • Nope! I gave it up a couple of years ago. She became too expensive to repair and I wanted something a little bigger for the family.

        Peace

        Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Sunday, November 11, 2012

  8. Your wagon looks great. I just got my 92 wagon this year from my stepdad for the grand price of free. It has 480k miles on original engine and manual transmission. Mine just looks horrible, it’s the goldish color really bad original paint. They are straight up workhorses. I would like to paint, tint and get rims like yours.

    Comment by Brandon Reed | Monday, October 15, 2012 | Reply


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