Photo by Mattia Righetti on Unsplash

Photo by Mattia Righetti on Unsplash

I’ll never forget the day when a fellow student in my automotive technology class asked the teacher what he thought a great car was. He said, “one that’s paid for and runs.” We all laughed, but 30 years later I still remember that phrase.  It has stuck with me all this time because it’s very true. But if you ask 10 people the same question, you’re likely to get 10 different answers on what makes a car great. So let’s take a look at a few things that make a great car.

It’s Paid For

Most of us have car payments. It is pretty much a fact of life. Some people lease cars or trucks.  Others, like me, keep their vehicles so long that they no longer have car payments.  That is why a car that is paid for is one of the things that makes a car great. I’m not saying that if you have car payments, your car is not great, it is just that car payments are such a burden. I haven’t had car payments for almost 10 years now, but I know that won’t last. I will eventually rejoin the ranks of the majority of car owners.

The day you pay off your car is a very happy day.  And, you should be proud of the fact that you truly own your car after working so hard and being diligent about the payments. What a wonderful feeling of freedom and accomplishment. You should also feel good if your car actually runs. This is the second factor in a “great” car.

It Runs

Okay, we’re obviously not setting the bar very high here. But it is true.  We often take for granted the fact that our cars actually start up, run, and get us where we need to go. Why am I so amazed at this? Because there are so many things that have to go right to make the car run and function properly, that it is actually pretty remarkable that cars run at all.  For example, for the engine to run properly, it must have exactly the right combination of fuel, air, and spark, delivered in just the right amounts at precisely the right time. And, it must continue this cycle thousands of times every minute. Pretty remarkable. When you know how much can go wrong, you realize it is a miracle that cars are so dependable.

Having a car that runs is a luxury.  That may seem overly simplistic, but it is true.  When your car or truck starts having problems or no longer runs, it’s a sad day.  I have had many vehicles in my lifetime, and I can tell you that I have always loathed the days when I would get out to the car, try to start it, and nothing would happen. There are few events more frustrating than that!

It’s Paid For, and It Runs

So your car or may not be a fancy Italian sports car or German luxury machine, but if it is paid for and runs, according to my teacher, it is great.

Written by Gary Pradel