A Lot of Maintenance? “That’s life, man!”

Last summer I bought a new car – new as in “new to me” anyway. Actually it’s 50 years old being as it’s a 1967 Triumph TR4A, now named “Trevor.” (Yes, Trevor the Triumph. I’m prone to alliteration.) Trevor is a cool car, but he’s certainly very different from modern cars. Automobiles were all mechanical back then. Remember hand-cranked windows, manual transmissions, carburetors and distributors? That’s Trevor. There’s more computing power in your digital watch than in this car.

Not having ever been a car guy before, I’ve got a lot to learn. But to me, that’s half the fun of ownership. I like learning new things, tinkering, and do-it-yourself projects around the home. Figuring out how Trevor’s various parts and systems work and fixing or upgrading them myself is part of the appeal. So far it’s been enjoyable.

Hmm…where do I start?

Of course I know my limits. For now, and perhaps even for the long term, I’m tackling the more minor aspects of antique car repair and maintenance, the “1-wrench” or “2-wrench” jobs, and leaving the more difficult stuff to the professionals. (Thank you to the expert team at Maitland Tire Company!)

The other half of the fun is driving. Trevor’s not fast by modern standards, but he’s fun and we’ve had some great convertible weather here in Florida lately. Almost every time out I’ll get a few honks and waves or thumbs up from other drivers, and pretty often people stop for conversation. They’ll ask about Trevor and talk about the sports car they had, or wished they had. I enjoy that too.

A few weeks ago on Saturday morning, I was stopped at a light when a well-worn, older model Chevy Suburban pulled up alongside. The driver, a 40ish-year-old man who looked like he might know his way around an engine, rolled down the passenger side window and leaned over for a conversation.

“Hey man, nice car,” he said. “What year is it?”
“1967,” I replied.
“That’s great, man. Man, my dad would love to have a car like that.”
“It’s fun, but it is a lot of maintenance.”
He laughed and said, “That’s life, man!” just as the light turned green. We waved goodbye and drove on.

That last thought has stuck with me. He’s right; there certainly is a lot of maintenance to life. Apart from automobiles, we all can probably think of a long list of “to do’s” – mow the lawn, fix the sprinklers, update computer operating system, change the A/C filter, etc. It never stops.

I don’t know about you, but often I resent the need for maintenance, perhaps because it seems to interfere with my autonomy. I don’t want any more “have to do” tasks on my to do list. Fixing things or maintenance often feels forced to me.   I think, Yes, stuff need to get done, but no one tells me what to do! Perhaps I’m a little lazy. I’ll do it when I get around to it. Of course, I need to get around to it now.

That hasn’t happened with Trevor yet. Yes, I’ve had a bit of frustration here and there. I’ve started some smaller projects only to have things be harder than I appreciated, but I’ve reminded myself, This is half the fun. You bought this car to learn new things and have new experiences. You like this stuff. And that’s all true, I do. Attitude makes all the difference.

What’s your attitude toward the “maintenance” required of you? Beyond your possessions, how about your health? Most of our health and wellbeing is simply the result of our regularly scheduled maintenance, or lack thereof. Some tasks are daily – eating, sleeping, exercising, and praying. Others are more infrequent – the annual doctor visit, lab tests, mammograms, colonoscopies. It’s easy to procrastinate or avoid doing even what we know is good for us.

With proper maintenance, and some professional help, I’m sure Trevor has a lot of life in him. The same can be said for most people. Unfortunately too few folks follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. I think I’m doing pretty well, but aging is challenging both physically and emotionally, and I’m still learning about how to best care for myself. How about you?

Take care,

Pete

Comments

  1. A good word…loved the reminder about prayer.
    Good luck with Trevor.

  2. Great thoughts, Pete. Congrats on your “new, old car”!

    My first car in high school was a ’56 Chevy Bel Air; I steamed & painted the straight 6 cylinder engine. It had a push button gas cap in the taillight & a Wonderbar Radio with a Scan Feature; pretty modern!

    It’s hard to believe the car was built 61 years ago!

    Yes, Pete, enjoy your baby, maintenance and all.

    • Peter Weiss says:

      Thank you Sparky. The Bel Air was the first car for my mom and dad after they got married. It’s a great car, but pretty pricey these days!
      Pete