That’s Not My Truck

Five years ago, I rear-ended someone. It was a minor accident, but it left my front bumper twisted. It was still securely attached (in the front center at least) to my car, and I could still put a front license plate on my bumper. As such, I didn’t bother to put in a claim. My insurance deductible was high enough that I would’ve paid for all of the repair or most of it, and putting in a claim would’ve just increased my insurance fees.

My students always bother me about the bumper. They tell me I need a new car, that I should fix it. Once, I found a bilingual business card from one of the parents of a student at our school under my windshield wiper. It was for a body repair shop. I was the only car in the school parking lot with major visible damage; I was the only car graced with the business card.

I joked that it warns other drivers to stay out of my way. Really, I didn’t want to spend the money to fix it. I didn’t care that the car looked tired.

In Virginia you have to pass an emissions test every two years and a yearly safety inspection every year.

(As a side note, I hate emissions inspections. I support them in theory because rah, rah environment. However, the first emissions test I ever took? My bought-for-$1-and-many-more-in-repairs 1985 Volvo 240 station wagon, a great car I named Anika, failed the NOx limit by 600 times the legal limit. That same day, the heater core in my car broke. When I brought it to my guy, Randy, he told me to sit down. “It would cost more to replace the heater core than your car is worth. And then we’d have to deal with emissions.” I turned around and sold Anika for $1. Since then, I’m always afraid my car is going to belch up pollution and fail on me.)

Every year, around this time, it seems my car needs some major repair. All new tires, a whole new dash (although going zero miles per hour on the freeway was fun!).

Despite having passed my yearly inspection twice with my bumper as-is, this year I was told it’d fail. I went two places and they both said the same thing. (At least they didn’t charge me for the advice.)

I researched where to go, got two estimates, and ended up at Cedar Park Auto Body (who gave me an estimate more than $150 under the other place). I got the estimate Friday. “What kind of fix are you looking for?” the guy asked me.

“Enough to get it to pass the yearly inspection. Used, whatever, I don’t care. Cheapest I can get it, since I’m paying out-of-pocket.”

He laughed. He didn’t try to talk me into more, but he was very clear that something-or-other under the bumper was probably bent and would need to be replaced.

I dropped off the car yesterday morning and picked it up this afternoon.

That is not my truck. It looks years younger with its face bumper-lift.

I highly recommend Cedar Park Auto Body. What they said it would cost, it cost. And they threw in my yearly inspection for free (thanks!).

Unfortunately, they couldn’t do emissions, so I did that elsewhere (and passed).

Now, rock on for one more year, little truck—Leif. I’m not ready to replace you. Even if you are a pre-teen.