Five benefits of driving a crappy car


Curtis Almeter, director of photography


Let’s face it; chances are if you drive a really nice car then you probably meet one of two criteria. You are either not a college student or you are a college student with a set of exceptionally generous parents. Those of us who were not blessed with the latter must make do with our own shaky methods of transportation. 

Despite the obvious drawbacks of driving a craptacular car — unreliability, danger to yourself and others, and of course, never being intimate with a woman — there are some benefits. 

5 — Hands-on mechanics experience.

Once the obscene hand gestures and yelling subside and you’ve successfully pushed your virgin mobile (not to be confused with a major cell phone service provider) far enough over onto the shoulder you can now begin to do a series troubleshooting tests. This could mean finding out where the smoke is coming from or what was causing that clunking sound.  By the time you’re in college this breaking down on the side of the road thing has happened regularly enough that you can base your assessment on past experiences. Last time my car made the “screaming banshee” sound it was the alternator belt. You quickly learn to recognize the symptoms and soon will have the ability to make a diagnosis quicker than Dr. House. 

4 — A fender bender is synonymous with paycheck.

When people already assume you are headed home from a demolition derby, a non-injury accident is a stroke of good fortune.  After an insurance adjuster assesses the damage from the wreck and, unknowingly, damage from backing into a mailbox or two, you walk away with a check to cover the damages and the “trauma” you received that is easily worth double your car’s value. In fact, it may be in your best interest to consider taking a route to school that involves a lot of left- hand turns after blind corners.

3 — No need for spare keys.

We’ve all experienced that brief moment of inconsolable frustration upon realizing you’ve locked your keys in the car. All this immense aggravation and anger is avoided if you drive a vehicle that is easier to penetrate than a two-bit hooker, at least until she saw your car. 

You suddenly have a variety of options for getting into your car that may actually be faster and probably more exciting than using a spare key — for instance, a coat hanger, Sawzall or turkey baster.  

2 — Anti-theft. 

We have already established that breaking into your car is easier than opening a child-locked cabinet door. The fact that your car is like the granny panties of underwear is the most powerful anti-theft system available. It attacks the core of thievery by killing 99.9 percent of motivation. Stealing a car that looks like it wouldn’t move even with the keys is like mugging someone for their colostomy bag. It’s a matter of pure logic. 

1 — No stress.

Undisputedly the greatest thing about driving a turdloaf on wheels is the freedom you can enjoy when you can squeeze into that parking place next to the jerk that couldn’t make up his mind about which spot he wanted so he took a little of both. It’s the same freedom you feel when you park next to the docking station for the shopping carts at Wal-Mart or any other of the hundreds of precarious places that could potentially alter the freshly waxed finish of a new car. For us, a dent, ding or scratch can flutter effortless out of mind, assuming it was even noticed to begin with. Our parking options are limitless.