Saying Goodbye to My Little Mule

Say goodbye to my little mule
This past weekend I said goodbye to my 1982 Toyota pickup. It’s just a beat up old truck, but I owned it for 13 years, significantly longer than any other vehicle. It was a good truck that served me well for many years.

In September when the registration was due, I took it to get the bi-annual smog certification. I had my doubts about whether or not it would pass because two years before it had barely passed. Sure enough, it failed. I applied for repair assistance and was granted up to $500 for emission related repairs from the California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR). I took it to a shop, which said it needed a lot more than $500 dollars and a lot of non-emissions related repairs. Essentially, the cost of repairs was a lot more than the truck was worth.

The BAR has a program that pays people to junk old cars that can’t pass smog. Because of pollution, the state is trying to get old cars off the road. The program encourages people to get polluting vehicles off the road by giving them more money than the car is worth (at least in my case). I rarely drove the truck and I had felt guilty about driving after it barely passed the smog test two years ago. It was a work truck that cost me more in insurance, smog, and registration in a year than the truck was worth and since the state was willing to give me money to junk it, I applied for the retirement program in November. Last Friday I drove it to the junk yard and they gave me my “vehicle retirement” check right there on the spot. It was a nice chunk of money for such an old vehicle, especially sense I don’t have to insure it anymore.

The markings on the truck are required by BAR. Junk yards are prohibited from selling the truck or any parts, so they mark all the body panels, and even the rear view mirrors. There wasn’t much usable on my truck. The passenger side of the cab had been partially caved in by a tree branch about 5 years ago. Some home body shop repair with a sledge hammer got the door open after that incident, but it still had to be slammed shut. The left front fender was a brown because I had to replace it after a small fender-bender. Every body panel had a dent of some kind. The truck is probably a smashed lump of plastic and metal by now.

I’ll miss my old truck, it was good to have around, but I also know it’s better that older cars be taken off the road.