Wednesday, September 7, 2016

My Sustainable Car, Part II

I recently got a question on the blog about whether or not I still had my sustainable automobile. Looking back, I see that I wrote a post about all the things I do to preserve my car back when she had just turned 15.

Well, this October will be her 19th "birthday," since I took delivery of her on October 31, 1997. And yes, I do still have her, and she is still my sustainable baby.

Since I last wrote, I have retired her to being mostly a pleasure vehicle, so I literally am that cliched person who drives the good car primarily to the farmer's market. (Although, with the narrow parking lot and the aggressive shoppers, I'm not entirely sure I shouldn't be driving a bigger car; those people are fierce!) But Mr. FC&G and I have a nice system where he drives our everyday car unless the weather is bad or unless I need to drive a long distance, when I would be more comfortable with a more workmanlike automobile. I drive my car locally for errands and the like.

One thing I've added to my maintenance roster is fuel stabilizer. Both Papa FC&G and my cousin goaded me a bit this year, and I have to admit I was neglectful last year. Since I only run through a tank or two of gas a year and let the car sit in the garage during the worst of the winter, I needed to do something to maintain her internal health.

Fuel stabilizer, I'm told by Papa FC&G, keeps the gas from breaking down during storage and prevents varnish from forming on the fuel lines or injectors.  The brand I bought, Sta-bil, can be used in almost any engine, so we plan on using some in the lawn mowers once we are done with them for the season. Papa FC&G even recommends running a dose of stabilizer through the other cars that get more use, because he says it helps keep the engine in good shape.  For something like $14 for a 32 ounce bottle (which should do all of the cars and mowers with some leftover), it seems like good preventive maintenance.

A conversation with another cousin got me to thinking. So far, I've been lucky enough to buy all my cars outright; we try to never take a car loan (although that could happen). Because we don't like car loan debt, we have to try to keep our automobiles running smoothly as long as possible.  No, we're not driving the fanciest cars on the block; we don't have all the bells and whistles we would like to have. But we don't have the debt, and with a little preventive maintenance, we have reliable transportation. I'll count that as a win.

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