I’m not Buddhist but I’m starting to believe that Karma really does exist. It either exists or I’m one of the unluckiest people on the planet. The latter is probably more true as I come from a long line of accident prone klutzes. My Dad and his Father have wrecked and probably totaled a combined dozen vehicles at least. When I was a tween my Dad backed out of the garage with the passenger door open in our green 1976 Toyota Corona, severely hyper-extending it and nearly removing it all together. He once backed that car into a ditch leaving the house as well. He’s the only person I’ve heard of who has been hit by a train in an AMC Gremlin and survived and he also totaled a Datsun pickup by hitting a stray pig. When I was 17 he turned into a rural driveway without looking for oncoming traffic. I was in the passenger seat. The Silverado we were driving was scrapped and the Neon that hit us carried the crash dummies in the 4th of July parade. I could go on and on.
Fortunately for me, the clumsy gene seems to have ebbed but the bad car Karma continues. I drove a 1993 Nissan Maxima 4DSC in high school. That car was good to me but I abused it. In my ignorant teen mind, I figured that as long as I maintained the car it would take care of me. Clearly 137 MPH runs through the dry farms and clearing all 4 wheels from the ground were not included in the recommended maintenance. Regular oil changes and tire rotations would ensure a long worry free relationship right? Not so much. My lack of self control caught up with me. An annoying ticking noise showed up one day from the timing cover after four years of hard use. I’d stretched the timing chains. Alas, even after new timing chains were installed my beloved “Red Rocket” would never be the same. No matter how much time it spent at the shop getting diagnosed and having warranty work done, it would never be quick again.
The Maxima soon found a new owner and with the money I bought a 1997 Honda Accord LX. It wasn’t overly sporty but it was a 5-speed so I was OK with it. My wife and I drove the Accord for two years or so without anything major. Overall it was a good car. Then, one winter I got stuck in the snow for the last time and sold the Accord in favor of a Dodge Durango. The Durango got such bad gas mileage that I thought I was getting gallons per mile. No matter how often i fixed a leak a new one would surface and it burned oil. I bought a second car to commute to work in. A 1989 Honda CRX with a B16 DOHC VTEC. I loved this car but it had issues right out of the gate. I flew to AZ to pick it up and though I’d had it inspected and had a bunch of stuff replaced including the brakes, they kept locking up on me. I had to spend two extra days in 120 degree weather for them to sort the problem out. Or so they thought. I got 600 miles into a 1000 mile trip and the brakes locked up again in the middle of nowhere Utah. With the help of my smart phone and a CRX forum I was able to MacGyver my brake booster’s vacuum hose to get home.
I took a job that moved us to Seattle and the CRX leaked when it rained so I reluctantly sold it and bought another mid 90′s Accord. This one took $1,000 from my pocket in repairs in the first month. We sold the Durango and bought a brand new Dodge Grand Caravan. We were done with paying for car repairs. A few months into my new job we realized we didn’t need a second car so I sold the Accord… the A/C needed a new compressor. I took a new job shortly after and moved back to Idaho.
With my new job I got cheap auto parts and so I decided that I’d try my hand at flipping cars. My first attempt flipped me the middle finger. It was a 2005 GMC Envoy and it had a misfire. Even though I had it inspected before I bought it they didn’t catch that it had low compression in one cylinder. My wife wrecked it two weeks after we bought it and then I had to put an engine in it. $5,000 later I was underwater in it bad. We sold our still new Caravan to my Cousin with only 8,000 miles on the odometer. We still have the Envoy and now that virtually everything is new on it we’re crossing our fingers and say a silent prayer every time we turn the key.
I bought a 1975 Dodge Power Wagon that was just like my Grandpas. He’d dropped trees on his but this one was cherry… or at least it looked that way. It didn’t run when I bought it but after hours of messing around with the cooling system, vacuum lines, and the carburetor I was finally able to drive it. Then the rear end went out on me… followed by the front.
Apparently I hadn’t nuked our bank account enough so I bought my unicorn car on Ebay. A one owner Series 1 Datsun 240Z. It had faded paint but it was a numbers matching survivor with low miles. I couldn’t resist. I flew to Sacramento and drove it home 600 miles. Soon after getting her home a loose cam bolt walked a pin loose and bent the valves. $2,000 later my original engine is sitting in my garage and I have a used L26 under the hood that burns more oil than my 2-stroke weed whip. It would only happen to me.
I sold the Power Wagon last week but the Envoy and Z remain. It’s been months since I’ve looked on Craigslist or Ebay with any serious curiosity and I often awake to cold sweats. If you run across anyone with the last name of Davis, don’t buy a vehicle form them. The karma could follow you.