RIP Time Machine


I was at N+2, but the others need work currently. Additionally our daily-ish is now needing more love.

Alignment, tires, power steering pump, alternator, now new injectors & a heater hose…


Amateurs. I’m currently operating at 2N+1.

The combined age is 67 years, with an average age of a touch over 13 years.


Try pulled a bearing cap off that is the farthest away from the oil pump…and report back with the findings please

Might as well remove a main bearing cap in the same area


My general assumption is that the primary reason for the +1 for the vast majority of people is a backup vehicle while their primary is under repair, Uber is at least a feasibly viable option. Especially when taking into account the storage, maintenance and insurance costs of a backup beater. I’m certainly in the camp of having more of my own, but then again, I can do many repairs on my own and like the convenience of multiple styles of vehicle at my disposal.


I also think the +1 back-up vehicle is: You have an old car, you probably won’t get squat for it if you sell it, but you know it is reasonably dependable: okay A/C does work, radio is out, etc. But starts when key is turned, drives when put into gear, stops when brakes pushed. It’s transportation. The holding cost is really liability insurance.

If your regular driver is down for repairs, a week renting a car pays the insurance and if doing repair yourself, you aren’t under pressure and can drive to get the parts.


Will say, I have a fair bit of mission specific fits here:

Pickup truck - tow vehicle and hauling. Usually also used for short evening trips, just so it is actually driven at least a couple of days per week.
Wife’s SUV - the only thing less than 13 years old, actually only a little over 2 years old, and one of the larger unibody SUV, to be comfortable for us and a couple of friends for longer drives.
Convertible - was selected to hold onto for a long time - especially since I don’t think there are that many ideal convertible days per year around here. Currently down for timing belt aged out.
Wife’s previous SUV - beater car to be left in airport parking when she travels. Largest enclosed cargo space that we aren’t babying.
My daily driver - currently a body on frame passenger car that handles my tall body comfortably, and at least to date has been reliable. It is the one I least mind putting mileage on, and likely the next one to be replaced, though at the moment it still has less than 90,000 miles. It will be interesting to see if it becomes the next airport parking beater when I eventually update my daily driver.

We only maintain collision/comp on 3 of them, which helps the overall costs some.


That’s an interesting combo in Dallas, TX: in 2019 a car that’s old enough to be body on frame, driven daily, and still less than 90k…

From Wikipedia (which I assume we all agree is canon for all things):
The Ford Panther platform, which was discontinued in 2011, was the last series of traditional passenger cars to be built in this manner.

So I’ll assume this vehicle is at least 7 years old, making the average annual mileage around 11k at a maximum…


It is actually a 2001 mercury grand marquis, that was owned by a little old man in Florida. Then, it sat for several years with probate and Texas title complications before it became my challenge to get it running again. From the rust in the tank and fuel pump, I’m thinking one of the Florida gas stations must had picked up some salt water at some point in its history, and when it sat without the pump running, that put an end to the pumps ability to turn. My approximate recollection is that it had about 40,000 when it running again, and I’ve been putting maybe a bit under 10K per year on it since. Between averaging a day or two per week working from home, and spreading driving across so many vehicles, it doesn’t get as much mileage as most would first guess as the primary commuter.


Oddball situation: infrequent enough for most that the cost of hiring a ride vs renting a car is advantageous if you don’t have a backup vehicle.

Free for most of us in the DFW metro with garages or street parking.

A simple backup car or light-duty work truck that sees few annual miles won’t have major maintenance issues. If your “beater” is a full-size truck and you’re towing 10,000lbs across the state every other weekend not so much so.

Sure, tires will expire of age rather than use, you’ll not get whatever the rated life is from the battery/filters/fluids, and you’ll need to drive it periodically just to keep it in reasonable running order which costs fuel and some other non-productive wear … but the operational costs are so low that this is a rounding error.

Liability-only coverage for your infrequently-driven backup beater should be a trivial premium on top of your daily driver’s policy.

Carrying costs for a beater should be quite low:

  • Registration <$100 a year
  • Insurance perhaps $100 a year
  • Anti-atrophy Usage <$50 a year

I wish I’d kept my 95 Ranger. I traded it in on the 3 for a pittance that I didn’t need to make that purchase. It might have had an anemic engine by compare and been in overall rougher shape than my 03 Ranger, but could perform comparable work.

Sounds like an argument for taking a shuttle, a cab, or having a friend give you a ride.